Create a special place for Creepy Crawlies!
We are always very quick to get rid of the “pests” in our garden and most of us are rather weary of the creepy crawlies in it. However, most of these creatures are actually very beneficial and nature’s way of providing us with healthy, good fresh food. Not only do they pollinate the garden but they also prey on the real pests and predators and get rid of them for us. At the Kidchen Concepts School in Bryanston, we have an insect habitat in our garden where all of these creatures are welcome to stay for free for as long as they need to – with the understanding that, when the time comes, they will go out there to prey and pollinate and help us build a beautiful garden.
We use our Bug Hotel, together with our vegetable garden and composting area, as tools to teach the kids about responsible, organic food gardening.
SO, HOW DO I BUILD ONE?
Building an insect hotel is easy and cheap, especially if you are using natural and recycled materials that are available in your house and garden.
- Find a sheltered spot in the garden – if possible a spot which will provide sun and shade as some insects like warm and dry conditions while others prefer a cooler environment.
- Different insects also like different types of material to shelter in, so use as many different types of material as possible.
- We used a pallet as the base of our bug hotel and created different levels by laying wooden planks, which we salvaged from an old garden fence, onto bricks.
- We then created different little “apartments” for the different species by filling the areas with an assortment of dry twigs, bark chips, pine cones, rolled up carton, dry leaves, pieces of wood with holes drilled into them.
- Finally, you want to make sure that the construction is solid enough to withstand wind and that it has a roof against rain. Nobody likes a leaking roof and your insect guests won’t either!