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Julian Nelson
Julian Nelson

Insect Hotels To Buy


Investing in an insect house is a fantastic way to support the local wildlife, and having more bugs in our gardens has its benefits for us humans too. Not only are they often fascinating to watch, but they also pollinate our plants and feed on pests like aphids.




insect hotels to buy



Luckily, encouraging insects into our gardens is fairly simple - even in urban areas. By introducing pollinator-friendly plants and installing a bug hotel or two, you can make sure your outdoor space is a welcoming environment for local wildlife.


In time, bees, butterflies and other insects should take up residence, thanks to the varied selection of wood blocks, bamboo and pine cones. One of the added benefits of this bug house is the extra space in the middle for butterflies.


If you are a gardener by hobby and a nature enthusiast by heart, chances are that you are already familiar with the concept of insect hotels (also known as bee hotels). Offering a sanctuary to beneficial insects, especially pollinators, insect hotels are considered to be the urban solution to declining population of beneficial insects in human environments due to habitat loss, pollution and abuse of pesticides. Insects provide many benefits to the ecosystem through pollination, nutrient cycle, and also as food source for birds.


Countless gardening stores and home furnishing stores sell insect hotels. Numerous blogs and websites have step-by-step manuals on how to build one yourself. All units are aesthetically pleasing which motivates well-intentioned buyers into adopting the concept. However, these insect hotels are often badly designed and they offer unsuitable home to the target insects. The warning sign of such designs is the unnecessary use of pine cones, glued snail shells, wood shavings and clear plastic tubes. Too many off-shelf insect hotels or build-your-own websites do not come with clear guide on maintenance, which is very important in ensuring the survival of the insects we intend to host.


Large insect hotels (aptly called insect condominiums) using wooden pallets are becoming very popular as individual or community gardening projects, sometimes to include non-insects such as frogs, toads and hedgehogs. In contrast, natural insect habitats occur as small separate nests, and large insect hotels pose risk of disease and parasitism to the insects inhabiting in high density inside. In fact, Rosita Moenen [1] observed that increasing number of badly-designed artificial nesting sites contributed to higher loss of (solitary) bees by parasitism.


Parasitism happens when kleptoparasites lay their eggs in tubes or cells occupied by bee larvae. Their larvae will hatch, consume the stored pollen and kill the bee larvae inside. Examples are parasitic wasps Melittobia acasta and Coelopencyrtus sp., and parasitic fly (Cacoxenus indigator) that attack red mason bees [1]. Insect hotels (especially large ones) make it very susceptible to parasitism. [1][2]. When not managed, the parasites will end up spreading to the rest of the insect hotels and will continue on for following seasons. In similar note, mould brings diseases to insects. It grows when moisture condenses and gets trapped in plastic materials [3] used in insect hotels as tubes and blocks. Lack of good roof/shelter on insect hotels, risking constant exposure to rain also contributes to mould growth.


While it seems on the surface that the insect hotels are more of a disadvantage and less of a sanctuary to the inhabitants, the concept is not a write-off. Everyone, from retailers to gardeners, is responsible to practise due diligence to ensure that these structures are designed and managed to minimise negative effects [2]. The key solutions are correct designs, maintenance and nurturing environment.


Creating space for insects can be a very rewarding experience and it will teach you, your family and your community about natural diversity and sustainability. Make sure your next project becomes a refuge and not a fad. Your little friends and Mother Nature will thank you for it.


Nature does a lot to help our fruits and vegetables along, not least by providing a legion of beneficial insects to pollinate our crops and prey on pests. It's impossible to quantify just how valuable these creepy crawlies are in keeping things ticking over on the productive plot but suffice to say we're hugely indebted to them!


It wasn't so long ago that the majority of gardening books recommended spraying a crop to within an inch of its life whenever the tiniest pest dared to rear its head. Thankfully these are more enlightened times and rather than wipe out both pest and predator gardeners are nowadays encouraged to strike a balance in the kitchen garden, nurturing the beneficial creatures so that they in turn take care of the undesirables. Making an insect hotel is a great way of achieving this. By breaking ground on your own bug des res you'll be setting yourself up for a significantly less troublesome growing season.


Decorating the rooms of your insect hotel is the creative part. Think like a bug and pander to their every need! Different types of insect will prefer different room furnishings. If your hotel is big enough you can mix and match, using different materials within each layer or section. Try one or more of the following materials.


Rotting logs: Perfect for wood-boring beetles whose larvae will feast on the decaying wood. Place at the base of your hotel so the logs stay nice and damp and mix with other decaying plant matter to attract centipedes (which devour slugs) and other woodland litter insects such as millipedes and woodlice (which will provide a welcome source of food for birds). This is also a great spot for garden spiders.


Straw, dried grass or rolled up cardboard: Just the material for a cosy lacewing hangout. While lacewings may be beautifully intricate to look at, they are truly the gardener's best friend, devouring aphids and other pests such as scale insects, many types of caterpillar and mites. Place your straw or cardboard inside an old open-ended plastic bottle to prevent it turning soggy.


It's all very well building a handsomely equipped insect hotel but for it to become the destination of choice it has to be in prime position. Set your hotel up in a sheltered area of the garden or allotment away from the prevailing wind. Most insects prefer slightly damp conditions but solitary bees demand the sunniest aspect possible to help them get out and about on a cold day. Your hotel will become fully occupied quicker if it is located close to an existing insect hotspot: a hedge, bank of nectar-rich flowers or a pond, for example.


Don't limit your insect-attracting ambitions to just one hotel. Remember that as well as helping the gardener out, insects support animals higher up the food chain, which will in turn go on to help us out. Log piles left in out-of-the-way corners, wildflowers sown around the perimeter of your productive plot, or a small pond are just a few of the other ways you can help. By doing so you'll be enriching the local ecosystem and ensuring your garden is as productive as it can be.


Creating a wildlife garden and Wild Flowers can be a great way of attracting beneficial bees, butterflies and insects into your garden and helping them to survive. Providing a Bug Box or Insect Hotel along side food and water will also encourage them to stay in your garden.


With our decorative insect hotels, bring a busy hum to your garden and make a valuable contribution to maintaining a functioning ecosystem. Bees, bumblebees and other insects are indispensable for the pollination of numerous plants - it's therefore all the more important to offer these unfortunately endangered insects a safe shelter. And with our insect hotel kits, children learn why bees and the like are so important.


From the smallest springtail, perhaps living its entire life in one clump of moss, to large, dashing dragonflies or painted lady butterflies that migrate over hundreds of miles, insects underpin ecosystems. They pollinate plants, recycle waste materials and act as food for other creatures, including birds and mammals.


One of the best ways to encourage the more obvious species is to appeal to the pollinators: the bright, active bees, butterflies, moths and hoverflies, among others, that add so much life to a hot summer day. Providing a range of plants to supply nectar and pollen throughout the year will add some interest to the garden whatever the season, and the presence of these insects will in turn attract predators that further add to the biodiversity of the garden. As an added bonus, the larvae of many hoverfly species are predators of aphids.


By adding insect houses to your garden you provide a variety of microhabitats that can further increase the number and variety of species present and, in turn, the creatures that will prey or parasitise some of them. Ladybirds and lacewings, both voracious consumers of aphids, will use these products as hibernation sites while other species may simply use them as a day time refuge.


Some insects, including butterflies such as brimstone, small tortoiseshell, peacock and comma, will spend the winter as adults, emerging in the spring to renew the population, and depend on finding safe overwintering sites. Walls or tree stumps covered in ivy are a favoured choice for many species, including some butterflies and ladybirds, and once mature the ivy will also produce a valuable late source of pollen and nectar, and an equally important supply of berries that will last into late winter. 041b061a72


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