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Scitech / Earth Matters: Rethink the Future / Earth Matters At Home

Build an insect hotel

Help maintain a healthy ecosystem in your own backyard, by building an insect hotel for our littlest critters.

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No matter the size, backyard gardens involve an intricate ecosystem. And like in every other natural ecosystem, insects play a fundamental role in keeping your garden healthy.

Some insects like ants will scavenge and recycle dead organisms back into nature.  Others, like bees, are vital for pollinating some flowering plants.

However, many native insects are struggling to survive in the urban environment. This is because native vegetation they use for food and shelter is being cleared.

We can help them by building an insect hotel and giving them a safe and comfortable place to stay!

Activity 1: Design

What you’ll need

  • some bricks
  • scrap materials found in your backyard or around your house – look for twigs, scrap wood, grass clippings, old pots, cardboard
  • pre-made square or rectangular frame to fill with materials
  • pencil/pen

What you’ll do

Step 1

Research the native insects available in your area to find out what their preferred nesting area looks like and decide which insects you want to attract to your garden.

Step 2

Using our insect hotel template, draw your hotel layout. Think about the following:

  • How many separate sections will your hotel have?
  • Do you want to attract one or many different species? (Note: bees prefer not to share their homes with other insects)
  • What kind of materials do you need to attract your desired insect?
  • How should you arrange your materials?

Step 3

Choose a spot in your backyard where the insect hotel will be located. Think about the following:

  • What kind of insects do you want to attract to your hotel?
  • Do they need lots of sun or little sun?
  • Is the hotel protected from water and strong winds?

Activity 2: Build your insect hotel

Stay safe: ensure you ask an adult to help you with this stage.

Step 1

Collect the material you’re going to use to fill your hotel.

Step 2

Build a base for your insect hotel using the spare bricks. This will help protect your insect hotel from an ant invasion!

If necessary, use cardboard to make separate rooms in your insect hotel.

Step 3

Now place your insect hotel frame on the bricks.

Start filling each room of the insect hotel according to your design, using the materials you’ve collected. Make sure you pack everything tightly so they don’t move around.

Now you just wait and see what kind of insects come to stay at your backyard hotel!

Bonus!

See an unexpected critter in visiting your hotel? Identify the specimen using Critterpedia.