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Build a bug hotel


An insect hotel or bug house is something manmade, it encourages insects of all kinds to nest and hibernate over the winter periods. You can build different types of bug hotels to attract various insects. Many insect hotels are used as nest sites by insects including solitary bees and solitary wasps. These insects drag prey to the nest where an egg is deposited. Other insects hotels are specifically designed to allow the insects to hibernate, notable examples include ladybirds and butterflies.

Today… I am going to explain how to build one designed especially for butterflies. 75% of British butterfly species are in decline due to habitat loss, increasing levels of pollution and changing weather patterns. A butterfly house is an enclosed wooden structure with narrow slits on the front, designed to mimic the splits in the bark of a tree. Butterflies will use the house to shelter from bad weather and predators as well as for feeding and mating.

Materials & Equipment Needed

  • Untreated wood e.g. pine
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Electric jigsaw or handsaw
  • Protective gloves and goggles
  • Hammer and nails
  • Hand drill
  • Small tree branch /bark
  • Galvanised screws and screwdriver
  • Sandpaper1. Using a tape measure, carefully draw out the pieces of the butterfly house onto the wood using the following dimensions:

How To Build

  • Back – 670mm x 120mm
  • Front – 510mm x 120mm
  • Sides with slanted top edge – 555mm x 120mm (rear edge) 510mm x 120mm (front edge)
  • Roof – 160mm x 120mm
  • Base – 120mm x 110mm
  1. Cut out the various pieces using an electric jigsaw or handsaw
  2. Use the hammer and nails to pin the back of the house to the roof
  3. Use the same tools to pin the roof onto the top edge of the sides of the house
  4. Repeat for the bottom of the house
  5. Draw six narrow slots onto the front piece of the house, approximately 10mm x 100mm
  6. Drill holes at each end of the slits drawn in step six and cut out with a jigsaw or handsaw
  7. Find a suitable branch/bark to fix inside the butterfly house for the butterflies to land on. Fix with some screws
  8. Drill and countersink holes in the front piece of the house in order to attach it to the sides using galvanised screws. Sand any rough edges and your house is now complete and ready to go in the garden.

To attract as many butterflies as possible there are a few simple steps to take… add a sugar solution, plant the right flowers or colour it brightly. A sugar solution will attract butterflies because they like sweet sticky nectar. Add 1 part sugar and 3 parts water… bring to boil (this helps the sugar dissolve) place sugar water inside the butterfly house. Also planting nectar rich plants and flowers will surely bring butterflies to your garden. Finally, you can paint the outside of the house with bright colours to as this will attract them, make sure you use non-toxic paint.

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