Bug hotel

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I decided this year to build a large bug hotel for as many insects as possible as I have always liked them ever since reading about something as simple as drilling a few holes in a post can attract mason bees. So that first year I drilled a few holes and then watched the mason bees checking out each hole to see if it was suitable. I was not successful that year but hooked and the following year built the one below and it sat on my allotment for a few years and more recently sits outside one of my shared apiary sites and the oak block each year has four or five plugs of mud in it so I know it has attracted a few mason bees.

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I have sat and watched the mason bees and other bees checking out this hotel it’s just lovely watching them going through the selection process and the red mason bee is a particular beautiful bee. It’s also interesting to see different types of bee at different times of the year as some of the insects have very short seasons.

20150405_115927So last year I managed to salvage a reasonable amount of fence posts from a local park that was replacing their rather old and tired fence with the intention of using them for something but had no idea what at the time. They are a mix of oak and replaced softwood. The oak have been the original posts and the softwood replacements over time. I have more plans for the oak as despite it looking rather weathered just below the surface will be lovely nice oak timber but I will encounter nails ect if I want to use the timber.

20150405_145953So I decided to use six of the oak posts to construct a strong frame to infill with lots of different shapes nooks and crannies for a whole host of insects to hopefully make use of and plenty of holes for my favourite red mason bees. I decided not to use the softwood posts as I suspected they were pressure treated timber and a bit counterproductive to the aim of the exercise.

20150405_153614It was important at this stage to fit the frame in place as it was already heavy and difficult to move. So a couple of holes dug up against the wall and a simple levelling to the mortar course of the bricks (still looks out of level) and phase one is complete.

So phase two involved in me collecting and fitting inside the frame logs of various sizes from my log pile, some straw from one of my apiaries that just so happens to have a few bails, an old terracotta plant pot, the rotten ends of the oak posts, three roof tiles, some thick pieces of bark and a pile of rotting apple logs that someone gave me last year and destined for the wood burner but sprouted some lovely fungus so I left them in the garden as it looked so nice.  The rotting apple logs were partly burred into the ground as I understand is good for stag beetle larva. The whole thing topped off with a few cedar shingles left over from a job I did in the garden and a bit twisted but dont think the insects will mind.

The whole thing is approximately nine inches deep and most of the holes are about four and half inches deep of varying sizes from 3mm to 9mm diameter. I have left room for more holes if a specific size is needed.

I have to be honest and say apart from Red Mason bees and the obvious regular garden insect visitors I don’t know a great deal about what may be attracted to the hotel and perhaps I should invest in a reference book to see what I may notice over the year but simply just love watching the insects checking out the holes.

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5 Responses to Bug hotel

  1. The Apiarist says:

    A veritable Hilton of bug hotels … mine are at the opposite end of the spectrum. I use 6″ long pieces of plastic drainpipe crammed full of various diameter 5″ long pieces of hollow bamboo. I then use zip ties to attach these on drainpipes of south-facing walls. They’ve been very successful. The overhang was intended to stop too much rain entering. I’ve no idea whether it helps or not. They certainly don’t look a patch on yours.

    I’ve recently been sent some free wild flower seeds from an initiative being run from Kew Gardens. These included some very small bug hotels consisting of a folded-flat triangular tube (smaller and shorter than a Toblerone tube) together with some cardboard straws to fit inside. I’ve yet to try these.

    • The great thing about them is they can be very simple to do and I did go for something that would be a bit of a feature in the garden.
      I like the idea of the system with plastic tubes that fit into a box with a side door and when you open the door you can see into the tubes and look at what is inside. I may knock one up if I come across the right sized clear plastic tube and could be interesting.

  2. Emily Scott says:

    What a grand job you’ve done towards helping the local bee population, it’s gorgeous. Must see if I can get something together for the apple tree on our allotment.

    • Yes should be good to do something for the allotment. Just a pile of rotting wood in what looks like an old small pond would work well. Perhaps we should do a clean up and weeding session. Inspected my hives today and both hives doing well and fitted a super and moved the nuc into a hive it was bursting out of the box. It has a great brood pattern and looks like a good queen.

  3. Pingback: A beekeeper’s notes for April | Miss Apis Mellifera

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