5th April 2020
The idea of hotel for bugs is now not very new, nevertheless, I still find it quite an odd concept. I imagine them checking in and out or booking a room on the bug equivalent of the internet, if such a thing exists!
Actually, a bug hotel can be any old pile of vegetation. It will attract a whole range of creatures who are looking for shelter and something to eat.
Slightly more complicated, but still fun, is creating a home for solitary bees. As the name suggests they do not live in colonies but have a simple nest either in the ground or a hole in some wood or a wall. There are around 270 species of bee in this country and about 250 are solitary bees, with bumble bees and honey bees making up the rest.
A few years ago I was bought a fancy bee home for a birthday and every year in the spring the bees move in. As you can see from the photo I already have some residents; they have laid their eggs and sealed off the chambers. However, this year I am going to expand my bee estate!
You may remember that my olive tree suffered in the recent storms. I have coppiced it by cutting it down to the base and happily it is already starting to regrow.
This has left me with a few olive wood logs so I have drilled some holes in them a few centimetres deep and left them in a couple of warm, sheltered spaces. Hopefully, the bees will move in so I will keep you up to date on what happens.
Any old piece of timber will do for the bees so long as it is left in a warm, sheltered spot. It is also important not to be too tidy with old vegetation and logs as these are loved by a huge variety of bugs and beetles which in turn attract the birds that feed on them.
For more information about bees in general go to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust web site.
The RSPB has a great website which provides all sorts of advice on what you can do in your garden for the wildlife). Building a bug hotel is just one idea and you can even let them know you have built one!
Stay safe in this difficult time and only go out if you really have to.