Wednesday 8 June 2011

If you build it, they will come ... ...

Yes if you build it they will come ... ...

But build what exactly ? (don't worry this is going somewhere) I'm talking bugs, or more specifically ways you can attract bugs into your garden, and not just bugs all manner of wildlife.

Why would I want to attract bugs into my garden ? I hear you ask, quite frankly why wouldn't you ? see attracting bugs leads to other wildlife coming to your garden, for example if you grow things that attract slugs and snails (like we do) then you may find that after time you get things that eat them, like frogs and toads, and if your really lucky you'll get a hedgehog.

Not a great picture, we were stunned by Oh my god it's a hedgehog !
When we first moved into this house we saw a hedgehog in the garden, and set about trying to make sure it was okay, we didn't put food out, but we adapted the pond so they couldn't get stuck in the water, and if they did manage to get into the pond we made it so they could get out, but we only saw one hedgehog,and to the best of our knowledge we haven't had any since, that was four years ago, so needless to say we were a little surprised when we saw this little hedgehog snuffling about the other night.

You see the place you call a garden where you like to sit and chill out is much much more than that, even small gardens are little eco-systems, you'd be surprised at how many living things are right outside your door, and even if you don't have a garden I bet you could find loads of different things living around your house, inside and out.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, kids (and adults) are losing touch with nature, and it's a shame, especially when we can do something about it, and it's simple stuff that doesn't cost loads of money, and it will also benefit us as well.

So here's how to build a bug house, they are really easy to make yourself, but you can also buy them, but this will cost a little more, and to be honest it makes more sense to build one yourself because you can get the kids involved and they will learn about bugs and wildlife in general.

All you need for this is 4 bits of wood, about 4 inches wide and a load of garden canes (obviously you'll need some nails or screws as well)

What you're going to make is something like this -

It's not the best bit of wood work I've ever done, but it doesn't need to be.

It's basically a box stuffed with bits of garden cane, but it creates little nooks and crannies that bugs love, this is the second one we've made, and it's easy enough for the kids to help as well.

So to make this you will need 4 bit of wood, the size isn't that important, but the wood needs to be about 4 inches wide, you can make it as big or as small as you want.

Measure out your wood, the pictures are just for reference really as the size of the bug box is up to you -

Measuring out, ours is made from old bits of floor board.
Once you have your 4 bits of wood you then need to fix them together to make a box, like so - 

You can use nails or screws to fix it together.
You may or may not have noticed that the bug box I made is rectangular, but the one in the picture is square, this is because I didn't have enough garden cane to fill it, so had to shorten the sides a little, so top tip, make sure you have enough stuff to complete this project before starting it :-)

Once you have your box all you need to do is stuff it full of short lengths of garden cane, which you need to cut at roughly the same width as the box, you can leave some a little shorter or longer as this will create extra holes and gaps for bugs, the thicker the garden cane the better, about 1cm or more is good.

When that's done you can fix it in a warm spot some where in your garden, or on a wall somewhere (if you don't have a garden) a nice warm spot is good for bugs, you might even get some bees staying for a while.
Like I said this is the second one we've made, the first was built for ladybirds, we even painted it red and gave it black spots (feel free to decorate your bug box) however we didn't get many ladybirds, mainly because these guys moved in.

Meet Nuctenea umbratica The Walnut Orb Weaver.
Yes our ladybird house got taken over by big black spiders, but we don't mind as spiders go these are quite interesting, they only come out at night and they make really great webs. Here's some information about this spider - Walnut Orb Weaver (opens in new window) So even if you don't get the bugs you intended you will get something equally as interesting.

Here's something else you can do, this time for bees, and no you don't need a bee hive, in fact all you need is some tube and a couple of plant pots.
Some bees don't make hives, they make much smaller nests of sometimes a few and sometimes just one or two, you might have seen them going into holes in the ground, or into holes in trees and such like, well you can build them a hotel, which will give them a warm dry place to rest up when the weather gets cooler.

Here's ours -

Confession time, I actually made this last year :-)
Yes I made it last year, and I finally got round to putting it in the garden this year (bad I know) but better late than never right ? ;-)

Here it is in the garden -

You can just see the tubes poking out from under the rocks.
I used some old hoover hose pipe I had lying about this works well, but you can get bits of tubing from diy type shops quite cheaply, and most people have a couple of plant pots lying about.

Here's the how to (if you click it you can get a bigger view, then just right click and save the picture to your system)

Bee hotel -

Easy to follow instructions :-)
Of course you can also grow plants in your garden that will attract bugs and such like, and bees love a nice flower, and even if you don't have a garden it's not the end of the world, get a small window box and plant some flowers in it, you may not get anything straight away, but they will come, and you can sit at your window and watch them come and go with the kids.

And if for some reason you can't do any of the things I've mentioned, you can always go looking for bugs in and around where you live, you'll be surprised where bugs end up, take a camera and a magnifying glass, and a book to help identify the bugs you find, trust me kids love looking for bugs, and please if you find any bugs under rocks and such like always put the rocks back in the same place when you are finished looking, you wouldn't like it if some one moved your house and didn't put it back again ;-)

Thanks for reading.



  1. Fantastic post! Would you mind if I link to you on my post? I think my readers would be interested in your Bug house...Its fab!

    Thankyou for visiting the Syders, I'm glad you enjoyed my post...Its much appreciated.

  2. Feel free to link to whatever takes your eye, I have plans to change this blog about to include links to blogs I follow, just haven't found the time, but I will get round to it eventually :-) So if you don't mind would it be okay to include your blog in that list ?

    Thanks for reading.

  3. I'd be thrilled to be added to your list, Thank you :-)

  4. I love your bug house and your bee hotel! Definitely want to try this in our garden this summer. Thank you so much for sharing with the All Year Round Carnival. :) I've featured your post in a round up of summer nature projects here: