Bugs are not only extremely interesting, they’re also essential to our survival. It’s natural for us to teach our children about the importance of bugs by lending them a helping hand.
Building a bug hotel is a great place to start.
The good news is it costs almost nothing to make a bug hotel with your kids, only a little bit of time and effort. Plus, the kids will love using a drill!
Why build a bug hotel with your kids?
Kids love bugs.
They’re mesmerised by small six-legged creatures that crawl, scurry and hide.
Kids also love helping bugs and they fully invest in a bugs well-being when they see that it’s put itself in danger (swimming pool) or it’s hurt. Miss J recently found a fly on the ground that wasn’t well, her father may have hit it with some spray, and she cared for it on a handmade tissue bed for days until it passed away.
Rather than waiting to find sick bugs, why not provide them a home. Tap into your child’s connection with insects and teach them all about the many creatures that help our local gardens and greater ecosystems.
What you’ll need:
- a block of wood
- a drill with several sized drill bits
- a pencil
This activity should be fully supervised and supported by an adult.
How to make this bug hotel?
Watch the video below.
- Make sure your block of wood has a clean, flat surface.
- Encourage your child to draw on the flat side of the wood with a pencil. Be sure to draw something simple to get the best result. Start with a simple shape like a star or heart.
- Draw dots along the lines of your picture. Draw the dots at least a couple of centimeters apart as this is where you’ll drill the holes. If your picture is a simple shape, you could also fill the shape with dots too.
- Together with your child, use the drill to add holes in your wood. Try drilling different sized holes to get different effects. Different sized holes will support different bugs too!
- Finally, use some sandpaper to remove any potential splinters and sharp edges before handling your new bug hotel.
Where should you place the bug hotel?
Set your hotel up in a sheltered area of the garden, away from strong winds. Placing it near an already known insect hot spot will help your hotel become occupied faster.
Why not make more than one bug hotel?!
Help more insects, and different varieties of insects, by making more than one. Most insects like slightly damp locations, so place one in the garden around a pond or wet area. Place one in a location that gets the morning sun too because some bees like it a little warmer.
Your kids will love checking all of your bug hotels to see which one is the most popular.
Who will live in your bug hotel?
We’re still learning who lives in our bug hotels. They tend to keep to themselves and are happy to hide in their hole until they’re ready. You’re likely to see ants, solitary bees, and little spiders.
Other ways you can help bugs
Want to help more bugs? Here are some other wonderful ways you can help them:
- Plant native ground covers, shrubs, and trees in your backyard. The more variety the better.
- Don’t use pesticides
- If you have a water-body in your backyard, support its banks with plenty of flora and keep your creek or dam healthy. A lot of bugs require healthy waterways to complete their life cycle.