How to Build a Bug Hotel…
4th Apr 2017
Behind the Scenes: Building the Buglington
You may well ask; ‘What is the point of a bug hotel?’
Well, the answer is simple really. A bug hotel provided a place of shelter for insects in the cold winter months.
Ok. So we give shelter to the insects; but why do we want insects anyway? Let’s face it, they just creep and buzz around and annoy everyone to say nothing of the plants they eat.
That also is quite true; but the main reason we need insects is because they pollinate plants and if we didn’t have them then 80% of all the plants we use for food would disappear.
In fact, without pollinators the human race would disappear.
Earth without humans!………… what a thought. Who’d mind the horses?
The idea of Bug or insect hotels, started about 15 years ago when people were beginning to get seriously concerned about the natural environment and how us humans are really doing our best to destroy it.
So people began to realise the importance of insects and that it’s essential that we stop using poisonous sprays on our crops and instead encourage a balance of insects to do the work for us.
The main pollinating insects are: bees, butterflies, moths, flies, ants and beetles – not forgetting birds of course!
Bearing all of this in mind, we thought an insect hotel here at the Irish National Stud, would be a good idea … so that there would still be humans around to look after the horses!
An insect hotel is made up of sticks, bamboos, bits of bricks and timber. In fact you can use any old bits of things like pots or branches or cardboard rolled up and lots of other things to make a hotel in your own garden.
The simplest way to make it is to get a bit of a drainage pipe or an old flower pot with the bottom missing. You then stuff this with bamboos leaving the cut ends exposed, and I bet in no time your hotel will be full of the most amazing creatures.
The insects will naturally find their way into it as they like dark squashed places.
Just be a bit careful sticking your fingers in – remember some insects nip and sting!
If you don’t want to build a hotel yourself just go and look under a flower pot or brick at home, I bet you’ll find lots of woodlice, beetles and worms.
Our particular bug hotel started from a piece of wind fallen oak from a local farm. The large piece of wood lent itself to the shape of the bug hotel. The bug hotel was designed in keeping with the monastic cells in St Fiachra’s garden and their tribute to the Irish landscape. Only native woods were used to fill the bug hotel along with a range of recycled materials. Key to creating any bug hotel is ensuring that there are holes, cracks, decomposing materials, nooks and crannies for a range of different types of insects.
To encourage even more of the pollinators it’s a good idea to plant wildflowers nearby. We’ll be sowing wildflower seeds around the ‘Buglington’ in the next couple of weeks so hopefully we’ll have lots of butterflies and bees all summer.
IMPORTANT. One thing you must remember. If you’re sowing wildflower seeds you must make sure that they come from Ireland and not from another country.