The average garden can be home to over 2000 species of insect – many that are beneficial for pollination and the provision of natural pest control, reducing the reliance on pesticides. So imagine how many species are buzzing and wriggling around a 65 acre garden like Rosemoor?
I thought I would utilise a space in the wildlife garden adjacent to build an insect hotel, to not only promote but contribute to essential invertebrate conservation. The site has perfect conditions for insects: cool and damp, and under a large tree to reduce direct sunlight.
With the help of Education Officer John Hickson, we collected materials, using old wooden pallets as the skeleton of the main structure. The pallets are laid on top of each other (usually about five is enough) and filled from the sides and the top.
Between us we managed to build our whole hotel from recycled materials! This keeps costs down and allows you to use up old materials you may have laying around. Now time to fill it!
Ensuring we had a diversity of different front panels for an interesting visual effect, we used leaf litter, twigs and old terracotta pots, which I filled with mud mixed with water - a really useful adhesive and great for filling the pots with for burrowing insects. I also found some giant fir cones and created a panel across the front of the structure. We filled some slots with bamboo canes and small slate piles, left over air bricks and straw, used in the basal pallet to fill a hedgehog hole.
We also decided to use two smaller pallets to create a ‘roof’ for our hotel – which we nailed together, filled with interesting dead wood from the trees nearby, and used some old slate to give it an architectural finish! It's now ready for the first guests!