How to make a bug hotel with natural materials in just 5 simple steps

19 May, 2023
Bug hotel made with natural materials

The Summer is nearly upon us! As always, cherishing time with our loved ones is at the top of our holiday bucket list, so why not get crafty in the garden? 

We can do good with our crafts, too. With the help of our treasured gardening expert, BBC Gardener’s World’s Mark Lane, we’ve been buzz-y learning about the importance of wildlife in our gardens. As well as pollinating the beautiful blooms we grow, the helpful insects in your garden are hard at work; butterflies allow plants to reproduce, while ladybugs prey on other insects that typically destroy plants. Even spiders play a part by feeding on rotting vegetation and fungi. 

It’s only fair that we reward these insects with a quiet corner and frost-free place to stay resembling their natural habitats – after all, they may be looking for their Forever Home too. Read on for Mark Lane’s tutorial to build a bug hotel with natural materials.

Mark says… 

“When it comes to our gardens, we want to attract as much wildlife as possible. A healthy garden should buzz with life, from beneficial pollinators in bumble bees to bugs, spiders, woodlice, frogs and even hedgehogs. The best way to attract all of these is to create a DIY bug hotel. Here’s how you can create the perfect hotel for the friendly bugs in your garden.” 

What you’ll need to make a bug hotel 

  •       Five pieces of wood (any you can find and any size will do, depending on how large you want your hotel to be – we used gravel board, but old wooden pallets or dead wood would suit)
  •       Wood glue
  •       Screws and a drill
  •       Two hooks
  •       String
  •       To fill your bug hotel and provide shelter, use different materials found around the house and garden – the best materials to use are twigs, dry leaves, old toilet paper tubes, dry grass or straw, paper straws, pine cones, bark, woodchip, shredded paper, broken terracotta pots or old roof tiles, bamboo canes and cardboard

How to build a cosy bug hotel in your garden 

1.     Cut your wood or gravel board into five equal pieces  Step One - Cut your wood or gravel board into five equal pieces


2.     Using wood glue and screws, assemble your pieces of wood into a house shape with one floor, two walls and two pieces of wood creating a roof 

Step Two - ssemble your pieces of wood into a house shape


3.     Fill your bug hotel with any materials you can find – we’ve used old branches, small tubes from toilet rolls, bamboo, twigs, loose bark and dead leaves, but you could even use hollow plant stems, gritty soil or corrugated cardboard 

Step Three - Fill your bug hotel with any materials you can find


4.     Attach hooks and string to the top of your hotel, ready to hang up (this is optional – bug hotels can otherwise be placed on the ground in the garden) 

Step Four - Attach hooks and string to the top of your hotel


5.     Hang your finished bug hotel in the garden to attract bugs to your garden. You'll be amazed by how many different bugs and creepy crawlies will come to stay - they will love all the small spaces! 

Step Five - Hang your finished bug hotel in the garden to attract bugs to your garden


Bonus tips for your bug hotel 

  • The beneficial insects finding solace at your hotel would appreciate greenery too - while it would be a challenge to grow nectar-producing plants within your insect hotel, sprinkling some wildflower seeds in the ground or plant pots nearby could attract bugs and bumble bees 
  • Think about the other wildlife you could attract - with larger bug hotels, a hedgehog box made from old bricks nearby or beneath could provide food and a safe spot for other animals to sleep in 
  • With the environment in mind, make use of recycled materials like a plastic bottle to provide water or cardboard food packaging to give your hotel some colour 

Has all this crafting got you feeling inspired? Why not try your hand at creating the perfect hanging basket or take some inspiration from Mark on the best ways to get your children and grandchildren gardening? 

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