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How to Build an Insect Hotel and 35 Bug Hotels to Inspire

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An insect hotel can have many benefits in your garden or on your homestead. Not only do they attract and sustain beneficial insects such as pollinating bees, spiders, ladybugs and more – they can help keep away the types of bugs that would destroy your plants.

If you’ve been interested in building an insect hotel, today we are going to share how you can get started in making one AND we have a number of bug hotel ideas to inspire you!

Best of all, most can be made with used and repurposed building materials – making this an affordable and easy project in any garden!

air bee n be bug hotel

Above, the “Air Bee n Be” Insect Hotel is clearly aimed in attracting beneficial bees to the garden!

If you are interested in organic gardening, you know that it can be difficult to ward off insects such as mites and aphids. The good news is many bugs are predators to these pests. By introducing the “good bugs” you can eliminate the pesky ones!


How to Build an Insect Hotel

Building an insect hotel is not that difficult. Think about first what types of bugs you might like to attract, and then all you need to do is give it the right conditions to be comfortable and to live in it!

While there are many large and elaborate beautiful bug hotel designs, you can of course choose to keep things simple. Your bug hotel does not even need to be that large – even if it is only a few feet tall it can provide plenty of space as the ideal bug hotel environment.

Step 1: Choose the Location for the Insect Hotel

Most gardeners like to have the bug hotel near the plants they wish to protect and pollinate. Most gardeners also agree they don’t like the bugs to be in too close of a proximity of their own house. Depending on the space you have available, it’s typically best to place the bug hotel in a place that doesn’t get too much human traffic, but is still as close to your garden and plants as possible.

Many insects prefer shady, dry and cool spots – although some insects, such as bees, prefer the sun. If possible, situate your bug hotel so that it has a mix of both sunny and shady areas.

Another thing to keep in mind is if you are building a very large hotel, the materials will likely be difficult to move easily due to weight. If you need something that is portable, or may need moved later on, be sure to choose a location and size that will accommodate this need.

Step 2: Gather Natural Materials to Use in Building the Bug Hotel

Almost any type of natural materials can be used in your insect hotel. It is recommended to build the frame out of wood, stone or brick.

For this, you could even choose to use reclaimed materials, such as old pallets or a set of book shelves. Then you can create different layers of materials to make your bug hotel and create the “rooms” for your guests.

Some of the materials you can use:

  • Logs
  • Twigs & Sticks
  • Leaves
  • Tree Bark
  • Wood chips
  • Pine Cones
  • Broken Bits of Terra Cotta Pots
  • Stones
  • Bricks
  • Straw
  • Plant Stems
  • Rolled Up Pieces of Cardboard

In order to increase the likelihood of beneficial insects, you may wish to also plant some enticing plants nearby. For example, bee balm, Echinacea {Purple Coneflower} and others will help attract bees and butterflies.

Step 3: Wait & Enjoy!

insect hotel

Your hotel may not have immediately visible guests – but give it time! You will be sure to notice within a week that there are some insects coming to the newly built habitat.

Like a good landlord, you will want to make sure that each fall you take some time to do some regular maintenance. Clear out any areas that would potentially attract negative inhabitants, and of course restock any areas that may need new leaves or twigs.


beautiful insect hotel ideas

35 Bug Hotel Design Ideas to Inspire

Now that you know the basics, let’s look at some inspiration – because there are so many great options to consider and a LOT of great bug hotel design ideas!

We’ve put together a collection of 35 different bug hotel design ideas – so you are sure to find some inspiration here for creating your very own insect hotel from natural and repurposed materials.

These can be found all around the world, in parks, at nature conservation centers, zoos, and yes – especially in people’s backyards. After you see these examples of insect hotels, you are definitely going to be excited to start making your own!

bug hotel

This large bug hotel makes use of pallets and is stuffed with broken pieces of potted plants, pine cones, sticks, straw and more. Definitely looks like an inviting place to live as a bug!


Many of these bug hotels can be quite elaborate!

organic woods garden

Many of these can be placed in a number of different spaces and environments – you do not need to have hundreds of acres to learn how to build a bug hotel or enjoy the benefits of insects in your garden!

For example, this picture below shows one that rests against a large brick wall – and how beautiful it is!

brick wall construction garden ideas

ideas to attract beneficial insects

bug hotel ideas

There are many different materials you can use for building a bug hotel!

Many of these spaces resemble real buildings and hotels – complete with shingles on the roof!

ladybug hostel

The idea of making it a hotel is quite popular, and many times you can tell the creators have a very good sense of humor. We love this “No Vacancies” sign shown below.

no vacancies

insect nesting house

painted colorful habitat

Some of these can even be quite creative and colorful! Painting the edges of the wood can not only attract bees due to the bright colors, but it can also add a nice decorative touch in the garden.

creative habitat for bees

We love those colorful roofing tiles on this bug hotel shown above. It really adds a lot of character and charm.

biodiversity dome

In some ways, these can definitely be considered a beautiful and functional work of art in the garden!

Many parks such as in the image below now have started building these mini environments to help with nature and science programs. They can be found all around the world!

german park

This is another great example of the usage of bricks, stone, and concrete in building the different bug hotels and insect habitats to attract beneficial insects into the landscape environment.

Here is another international example of creativity – what a fun idea for nature conservation!

creative sculpture nature conservation

This image shown below is a picture of the insect hotel at the Krakow Zoo in Poland. Our insect friends have a lot of different travel and lodging options all over the world.

kracow zoo poland

 

stone wall home for insects

This stone wall design is also quite useful and beneficial to different insects!

bug hotel design ideas

aframe bug hotel

This beautiful A-frame design above is definitely a welcoming habitat for all sorts of beneficial bees, ladybugs, spiders, lacewings, ground beetles and more!

There are a lot of different ways you can reuse different natural materials to express your creativity – and give these helpful creatures a safe space to live!

examples of bug hotels

logs for bugs

insect nesting boxes


Portable / Smaller Bug Hotel Design Ideas

These next few insect hotel designs are small and portable – many almost resemble a birdhouse!

insect habitat

 

This small and compact insect habitat shown above would be very easy to put on a post in any garden! We also love the insect homes built on posts shown in this garden example below!

garden insect boxes

These definitely are a great thing to see in almost any garden. Not only are they very beneficial, but beautiful as well.

You can also make use of trees as posts – especially if the trees are near your flowering garden beds!

tree hotel for insects

You may have noticed some of these bug houses take advantage of using materials such as chicken wire. While chicken wire won’t attract bugs, it does help keep everything in place.

Chicken wire helps ensure the materials such as leaves and sticks inside stays intact. It still allows for plenty of space for bugs to find their way inside in this creative bug hotel hanging along a tree.

hanging home insects nesting box

A simple hook is all you need in order to find space to put up a habitable place for beneficial bugs to come into your garden.

The smallest of small can have a home, as shown in this small habitat below.

mini bug hotel

This photo of a simple wooden bug hotel is proof that size is not an issue! Even the smallest of spaces can be useful for insects to call home!

hanging bug house

This clever design to attract solitary bees is a perfect idea for a small and easy portable home to use for attracting beneficial pollinating insects to the garden.

birdhouse into bug hotel

Do you have old birdhouses to reuse? This is a simple and easy to create design to help attract bees to the garden.

bug hotel box

insect hotel ideas

nesting boxes to attract solitary bees

This small design can easily be attached to a side wall or garden fence!

Here is another example of a fence mounted insect hotel.

fence mounted insect hotel examples

You can mount an insect hotel to almost any type of surface!

wall mounted

This was made with a frame covered with wire to hold the straw and pine cones safely inside.

And just because something is small in size, doesn’t mean you can’t be very creative! Take a look at this adorable bee box hanging below! Definitely very creative!

bee box

 


Which Insect Hotel Is Your Favorite?

There are so many great designs and creations here to be inspired by! Whether you are building a bug hotel yourself or tackling it as a community project with friends, family, and neighbors, there are all sorts of options. Just like houses for people – they come in many different shapes and sizes!

I hope you find this inspiring to make your own bug hotel! Have any questions on how to get started? Have you made one? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments section below!

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2 thoughts on “How to Build an Insect Hotel and 35 Bug Hotels to Inspire”

  1. Imlooking for ideasfor a new large bug hotel and wanted to say this post wasjust awesome,got all I needed for inspiration and great ideas. Thanks for making it available!

    Reply

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