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Insect hotels

 
steward
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Source: inspirationgreen.com

Paul sent me a link to this page earlier this week and I thought it was a really cool way to create habitat for beneficial insects in the garden. Yet another brick to solve pest control and help with pollination.

Anybody has pictures from their garden?
 
steward
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looks very nice. might just be the resolution, but I can't actually see any insects in the picture.
 
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I like the potted plants near the top. This way the square footage can still be used for growing.
 
pollinator
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Wow something for everyone. Hope there is a shallow puddle of water with mud, nearby also.
 
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One thing I don't understand about this hotel, or even a beetle bank, is what guarantees you get good bugs?

Thanks.
 
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You have to go to the link that Adrian put in with the picture...

http://inspirationgreen.com/insect-habitats.html
http://inspirationgreen.com/insect-habitats.html
http://inspirationgreen.com/insect-habitats.html
http://inspirationgreen.com/insect-habitats.html

Hope this helps make it more understandable.

Oh, and there are SO MANY MORE COOL PICTURES THERE with explanations too!

Cheers All!
 
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That's not for bugs, it's art!



'Stack', 1975

http://meaghanclaricesartspot.blogspot.com.au/2011/05/tony-cragg.html

The only problem I have with this, other than harbouring cockroaches, rats or snakes, is that I read something somewhere that if you don't change out the hollow bamboo bits every year then mites and parasites build up and can ultimately kill off the bugs you are trying to encourage.

I will check the website though as I am now planting flowering insect attractors so I may as well give them somewhere to stay after they have eaten.
 
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Mark Livett wrote:The only problem I have with this, other than harbouring cockroaches, rats or snakes, is that I read something somewhere that if you don't change out the hollow bamboo bits every year then mites and parasites build up and can ultimately kill off the bugs you are trying to encourage.



I've read that too. Is there any evidence to back it up? If it's true then how often and what time of year do you change the bamboo?
 
Nicholas Green
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That link brought up some great pictures. Thanks.
I always enjoy seeing what people are up to around the world.

I would love to put one if these in a chicken paddock. Hotel for bugs, buffet for chickens. But not so close to the fence that it becomes a launching point to the other side.
 
pollinator
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Lewis Brown wrote:One thing I don't understand about this hotel, or even a beetle bank, is what guarantees you get good bugs?

Thanks.



You are right, there is nothing, no ID...
I have never found those informations.
When I find eggs beneath a leaf, I do not know if they are from a moth that will eat all, or from ladybugs, they are both long and yellow...

Something needs to be done for insect ID at all their life stages!!
 
Miles Flansburg
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I think Paul and Dave Hunter did a podcast or two that talked about the straws.
 
Adrien Lapointe
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That would be podcast 021.
 
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I had a stack of bricks in my yard, about 2' wide by 5' long by 3' high. They were stacked relatively tightly, and had been there about 8 months.

Yesterday I had to move them across my yard to get access to the space they occupied.

As I unstacked them and carried the bricks across the yard, I found that the interior of the stack had been supercolonized by all kinds of life- spiders, slugs, earwigs, worms, even a little family of salamanders right at the bottom. Some of the creatures I hadn't seen at my property before.

So I don't have space at my permaculture-lite tiny townhouse to keep a big stack of bricks around, but when I have a larger spread, I'm thinking that a cubic yard of bricks, loosely stacked; or a wall of rubble; or something of the sort will be a high priority.

All this activity with bricks also brought to mind "The Bricklayer's Lament".
 
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(Sorry if my english is a bit sloppy, I'm Dutch)

I've had some experience with insecthotels through the years and they are great! Anything (organic!) that's stacked in large piles and slightly protected against rain will do and will host thousands and thousands of different creatures from the whole range of the animal kingdom. I'm personally not afraid of the 'wrong bugs and parasites'. As long as you make a lot of them, make them big enough or create a lot of small ones, there will be an ecological balance. The more you have of them and by using many techniques, the more biomass you attract/create and the more ecological complexity there will be. Many birds, lizzards, hedgehogs and so on, will be attracted to this richeness and they all poo in your garden for free!

I encourage you not to make insecthotels but insectcCITIES!



This one I created on my piece of land in the northern of France and is about 6 yards long, 2 yards high and 1 yard deep, so more of a "Insect Metropole. All in all have about 30 cubic yards of "piles" on the property. Even snakes are wellcome because they are rare and harmlous. And I don't have any problems with rats either because they are pretty harmlous too.



Some recent beds with extra animal accomodation:



My 'gate' also attracts insect because the wood is full of holes from larvae and caterpillars:

 
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Location: Eastern Shore, Maryland
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I have been looking into insect hotels lately and this mini-city is amazing! I want this one day, but it will take up half my yard! Keep up the good work.
 
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hey all,

those are some great photos and ideas. I'm thinking of turning my 50 ft of city fence into one big pollinator hotel.

here are some more photos from my time at the kramaterhoff last year. they didn't worry about 'bad' bugs in a complex thriving ecosystem. they made them really big. enjoy

pollinator-condos-(4-of-4).jpg
at the kramaterhoff last year
at the kramaterhoff last year
pollinator-condos-(2-of-4).jpg
stones for warmth, dryness, snake and lizard habitat
stones for warmth, dryness, snake and lizard habitat
pollinator-condos-(3-of-4).jpg
Sepp earth shelter with pollinator habitat
Sepp earth shelter with pollinator habitat
 
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I have lots of standing dead wood and slash piles near the garden. I'm assuming that insects live there and in the wilderness beyond.

I have only done one thing to control pests in the garden. I have created reptile habitat by piling rocks and wood waste. Garter snakes and skinks have taken up residence.

This took care of all pest problems except for the deer. 
 
steward
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Dale Hodgins wrote:

This took care of all pest problems except for the deer. 



Gotta make a space big enough for some bears and you'll be all set.



 
gardener
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Or breed some super-giant skinks?
 
Dale Hodgins
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A cordless electric drill, combined with a few bits and some dead trees, can lead to the creation of an insect habitat. Mason bees and many other creatures will occupy holes drilled into wood.

I had a maple stump that became home to several varieties of birds when larger holes were cut with the tip of a chainsaw.
 
Craig Dobbson
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A good way to teach kids about tools and habitat is to let them practice using drills, saws and hammers to build insect homes. I often let my kids practice on pieces of firewood while I'm working on something else. Once they have had their fun, we find a place to locate the new critter home. Many of them end up in various garden beds. Worms, beetles, pill bugs, slugs and centipedes will make homes under the wood, in contact with the ground. Bees, wasps, flies and all sorts of unidentified critters take up the other little nooks further up the log. The space between the bark and the wood is also an important place for many larva. I often try to make little nooks with rocks for things like frogs, snakes and toads while I'm at it. I can't tell you how many snake skins I find in my firewood piles though. It's a really nice place for them to shed apparently. Though I wish the mice didn't also find it so appealing.
 
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love that - and you could do a green roof on it too in fact, I feel another project coming on.....

I have a long narrow brush pile on my allotment, mostly willow stems, tucked behind the row of willows that I have to cut down every other year.

I also have several smallish stacks of bricks that are always teeming with bugs if i have to move them The plan is that I won't need to once I've finished organising the plot!
 
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All these bug hotels are really cool.  Very artistic and picturesque in their own way.  But I don't see any bees flying about, or anything crawling on, over, in or under them.  Shouldn't they look a little bit "lived in"?  Someone went through a lot of trouble to make each of these, so I'd expect they would want to see them get used not just sitting there looking cool.  I made a small bug house a couple years ago and hung it up under the shed overhang for protection.  Maybe it faces the wrong way (north) but it is protected from the wind and snow which usually blows in from the west or north-west. I have yet to see anything around it.  Thinking I need to relocate it and see if that works to generate tenants.
 
master steward
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Denise, the bees that use the bee hotels are different from the honey bees. honey bees are busy going back and forth to the shines to deliver pollen.

The bees that use the bee hotels are cavity-nesting bees. The bee hotels are artificial nesting structures that mason bees, and other solitary bees, can use to lay their eggs.

These bees are important and they pollinate flowers of fruits and vegetables.

Here are some threads that might help you understand:

https://permies.com/t/30403/Kinds-Mason-Bees-effects-management

https://permies.com/t/34520/mason-bees

https://permies.com/t/136888/Mason-Bees-worth-investment
 
gardener
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There are many different mason bees / solitary bees (in Central Europe over 500 species), and most of them are closely linked to a specific habitat (for their nectar, for example) and they require different habitats for their hatching as well. A lot of them nest in the ground (loose earth or sand, some in loam), others in decaying wood or hollow stems.
The classic "insect hotels" cater to species that like hollow stems but if you do not have those species around and if their preferred flowers are not around (mason bees fly only a short radius) you will not see visitors.

It also depends if you have birds that are very clever when it comes to easy protein, they might pick out the larvae.

I have observed about a dozen different mason bees in my garden which provides quite some natural habitat but recently have built some of these "stems in a can" hotels. It might already be a bit late in the year to see them in use but with nature you will need patience.
Good luck!
 
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