Wild Family – Building Insect Hotels

The Easter Holidays most definitely came as a welcome relief from home-learning and the many hours spent in front of screens over the past few months. We were more than ready to get outdoors, to let loose for a while and make the most of the dry days outdoors together.

A project we’ve been thinking about for a wee while now is building insect hotels, both for our garden and for the allotment, and over the past months while out and about on our mini local adventures we’ve been gathering a few odds and ends that we thought would make great little hidey-holes for a variety of insects – namely we gathered fallen pine cones, leaf litter, bark that had been shed by trees and a collection of twigs and bamboo that was lying around.

We had a whole selection of scrap wood leftover from building a fence at home as well as some pieces from old bunkbeds and some that has been taking up space in the garage for years which we’ve no idea where it came from!


In order to give the boys opportunity to think about their planned bug hotels I first gave them pencil and paper to sketch it out and to really think about the practicalities of construction – What shape would it be? What size? What tools would they need and so on… amazingly each design was completely unique, just like their personalities!

And so, we set about gathering together all of our materials and tools, setting them out on the decking so we could see exactly what we had before anyone took to sawing or drilling… I could sense their eagerness to get on with the job!

Next it was measuring, sawing, sanding, drilling, screwing, hammering… besides a brief safety talk I tried not to hover too much at this point and let them get on with using the tools by themselves… I know from my own personal experiences in life that one of the best ways to learn about anything is by giving it a go, playing around and seeing what works for you… but I was close-by if they needed any advice or assistance.

This project took us two whole days and we were all genuinely delighted with the resulting insect hotels which we hope will ‘Let Nature In‘ attract lots of visitors to our garden and provide some safe refuge for insects to tuck themselves up for a rest or a nap!

It was super to watch the boys set about their tasks, to really put thought and effort into their designs and to see their confidence grow as they worked with the tools and the materials. Sometimes, you just need someone to say ‘give it a go and see what happens’ and to put their belief in you. Foundational life lessons are definitely learned when working together on projects such as this don’t you know! My middle child has consequently decided he might like to study joinery and that he definitely wants to live on a houseboat that he can renovate himself – I am all for this kind of dreaming and ambition and will support him all the way if this is what he wants to do with his life. Who knew that building a scrap material bug hotel in your back garden could open a doorway to new possibilities and interests!

We are over the moon with our insect hotels and really enjoyed this wild, creative time together and we hope it inspires you to go see what odds and ends you have lying around that might be appreciated by nature. Tag me in your pictures on Facebook and Instagram if you decide to build your own insect hotel.

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