Some (mini)beastly things have been going on at Alsford Timber recently, as we introduced our teams’ children to the Alsford Timber Minibeast hotel.
Made, of course, from our very own timber by Den at our production mill in Dartford, Erith, this bug-tastic B&B was sent to the children of our teams who are members of the Alsford Offspring Club; our very own free kids activity club, where we send fun packed things to do on a monthly basis.
Making your own Minibeast Hotel is fun and easy and brings great benefits for your garden, read on for our how to guide.
What is a minibeast hotel?
A minibeast hotel is a structure made for our tiniest of friends. Providing shelter for creepy crawlies of all types such as spiders, snails, millipedes, and toads.
Creating a bug hotel provides a safe shelter for a range of critters for all seasons and weathers.
Why have a minibeast hotel?
Building a bug hotel can improve biodiversity, attracting insects that will benefit your garden. Think of it as opening your very own hotel with fine dining to attract the best customers in town. And luckily these patrons are pretty unfussy, so you can create a structure as small or large as you like. Just like us humans, some bugs will love a boutique build while others like a little more space.
It’s also a great way to make use of standard garden “leftovers” letting our little friends munch your waste away.
What type of guests can you expect?
Bug hotels can be a safe shelter for a range of minibeasts such as bees, toads, woodlice, ladybirds, beetles, spiders and even hedgehogs if the space is comfortable enough.
Certain types of material are particularly attractive to specific creepy crawlies. For example, dead wood and old bark are favoured by beetles and centipedes, while ladybirds love straw and dry leaves.
What benefits do bugs bring to the garden?
Different insects can bring different benefits to your garden.
Most of us are aware that bees will help to pollinate flowers, but many others will eat aphids (garden baddies who can ruin your rosebush). Lacewings will help you to eliminate greenflies, while ladybirds are partial to eating many garden pests.
How to make your own minibeast hotel
The best bug hotels are made from materials you may already have, such as wooden pallets, leftover bricks from previous projects or an old wooden box.
Of course, if you do not have any of these to hand, you could purchase timber for your project and follow the project specifications here to make your very own Alsford minibeast hotel and bug house.
Once you have your structure, divide the space into sections and stuff each part with your natural materials. Be sure to make it nice and cosy for your guests. The more diverse the materials used, the more types of minibeast you are likely to attract.
Where to put your hotel
Like any hotel – location is key. So, consider where you would like to create your insect guesthouse.
Shady, damp and quiet spots work best, as our critter patrons like to be undisturbed during their stay.
And while skyscrapers may be the order of the day in human hotel design, ground level is usually best for your bug B&B so that it remains stable.
What to put in your minibeast hotel?
The great thing about bugs is that they are not the most discerning of guests, so no need for chocolates under pillows or a daily turn down service here.
In fact, you can fill your bug B&B with materials that can be found in the average garden. A key to attracting your minibeast friends is to have a range of natural textures and materials that they can explore.
Think pinecones, grass, bark, stones, leaves, soil sand and even cardboard. While it may not be to our taste, a little rotting bark provides the equivalent of a Michelin dining experience for our insect friends.
By making your garden a home to more than humans you can help to protect wildlife while also ensuring the health of your garden greenery. And it’s a great project for all of the family, so get outside and get building your own minibeast hotel.
Show us your DIY bug hotel!
We'd love to see pictures of your DIY bug hotel, share them with us on our Facebook or Instagram channels.