Build your own garden friendly insect and animal house from a few simple bits and pieces and even recycled household items.
Insects and animals will readily use man made structures to hibernate over winter or lay eggs and rear young during the spring and summer.
One of the best insect and animal houses we have seen was at the Logan Botanic gardens in Scotland.
Made from a few used pallets, packed with straw, slate, twigs and stems, these houses can be home to a wide variety of insects and animals which like to feed on garden pests and help pollinate your fruit and flowers and vegetables.
Beneficial insects and animals
Insects such as Ladybirds and Lacewings are not just beautiful to look at, they can quite easily munch their way through tens of thousands of pesky, sap sucking aphids in their lifetime.
Hedgehogs, toads and frogs, will feast upon slugs whilst butterflies and bees will pollinate our food crops.
Recycle and reuse
As you can see, you can use almost anything and your structure can be as big or small as you want.
Tuck it away in a quiet corner of the garden, especially if you want hedgehogs or amphibians to live in them, or make smaller versions to dot around your garden.
If you are making structures as big as these, make sure they are sturdy and cannot topple over.
We think these insect and animal houses are by far the biggest and most varied we have come across so far, but if you know different, then why not tell us.
To make your insect house
- 3 or 4 used wooden pallets, old fencing panels or planks.
- Bricks, pieces of log or similar to build the supports.
- Dry Branches and twigs
- Log piles and dry leaf litter make ideal hibernating and breeding sites for ladybirds.
- Hollow canes and plant stems such as Bamboo, Hogweed, Corn, Dill, Elder, Buddleia and ornamental grasses make perfect egg laying chambers.
- Dry straw
- Slates, bricks with holes, Pieces of broken terracotta pot, drainpipe or even stones.
- Plastic bottles – Cut off the ends and fill with rolled up corrugated cardboard, straw or hollow stems. These make great Lacewing houses.
Keep the larger upturned logs, drain pipe etc. for the underneath, this is where the hedgehogs, toads and frogs etc. will live.
Higher up you can infill the spaces with anything you have to hand.
Remember to make sure that twigs, grasses and leaves are dry or they will just rot.
Place something on the top to form a roof and keep out the rainwater, frost and snow and you will have a host of insects and garden friendly wildlife to help you in the garden.
If you have made a bug house or garden animal shelter, then send us your ideas and images.
Perhaps you have a school garden and have made an insect home as a project.
Let us know what sort of insects or creatures are using them.
Logan Botanic Gardens – The country’s most exotic garden lies in the southern tip of Scotland at Stranrear.