As National Insect Week (22nd-26th June) comes to an end, I thought I would share another lovely gardening activity to ensure that even the smallest of creatures can flourish in your outdoor space or gardening project. After all, as they say on the National Insect Week website, “insects are the little things that run the world”. And as gardeners, many of them can be hugely beneficial for your plants and crops.
Building a mini-beast hotel can be a great, fun activity, and it doesn’t need to be done in one go. After all, what house is built in a day? Even collecting the materials can be a group task over many weeks! And there are lots of extension activities you can do on insects – from art and photography projects to imagining the route an ant might take and seeing it from their perspective. The National Insect Week website is full of ideas.
When building your mini-beast hotel, it’s good to get ideas but really you just need to think like an insect! – what would make you feel safe from the elements and predators? Here’s some top tips:
Think about the space you want to set aside for this project
A variety of materials are good: bricks, hollow cane, plant matter, stones, broken terracota, coconut shells, logs, bark, pine cones, straw – the list is endless!
Think re-use, repurpose, recycle!
Consider having a few dotted around your space in different conditions – even a simple log pile is a great haven for insects
Probably best to keep it away from your veg patch!
This photo was taken 7 years ago when a shoe rack we no longer needed got us thinking about how it could be reused – and this seemed the perfect project. It kept us occupied for ages plotting our mini-beast layout and finding the contents and each year we restock it to keep our mini-beasts happy. The RSPB website has a great resource that takes you through the process step by step.
Happy National Insect Week and Happy Gardening! Jo