How to make a DIY Insect (BUG) Hotel… and why would you want to?

There are so many activities to do, but building a bug hotel will make you an instant hero – because  autistic children love bugs!  Actually not just bugs – Autistic children have in most cases got an incredible bond with animals.  Maybe it is because our children are acutely sensitive, vibrating with a frequency that supersedes those who are neurotypical and maybe it is because animals communicate in the same way Autistic persons do. There are many theories.

In this article we are going to show you how to make a bug hotel because it is a great holiday activity for your child and because insect hotels are super cool!

What materials will you need to make an insect (BUG) hotel? (Note that you do not need all of these materials – you can select three or four and make it with those)

  • Gather a variety of wood pieces, logs or twigs – size will depend on how big a hotel you want to build?
  • If you can get your hands on pine cones it will be fantastic
  • Rotting wood (not to much – just enough to get the insects interested in their new home)
  • Dry leaves
  • You can collect pieces of bark from the park or your own garden
  • Cork if you have any lying around the house
  • Even straw, hay, dried grass or bamboo canes will work
  • An old birdhouse if you have one lying around or you can use bricks to build a structure that you will fill
  • Pieces of cardboard from old moving boxes can also be used
  • If you want to make a really big “bug hotel” then you can use old wooden pallets
  • Old pipes, toilet roll inners or cardboard boxes
  • Some wire mesh

How to make a bug hotelHow to make the actual hotel?

  1. Draw a picture of what you want your hotel to look like – because the initial structure is the import part. Your bug hotel can be a work of art or a basic small structure as long as it is an inviting space for beneficial insects you are good to go.
  2. Construct the main body of the hotel in your chosen location from a variety of recycles or found objects. It will be a bit like building a fort for insects.  Think of rooms and different spaces that you are going to fill with all kinds of bug friendly materials/  provide plenty of nooks and crannies where a wide variety of insects can shelter, hibernate and lay their eggs.
  3. Once you have your basic structure all put together you can start by filling the cavities with the materials above (see picture below for ideas)
  4. Depending on the size of your structure you can add fresh plants to it if you want.

Building a bug hotel is a wonderful project for the whole family, plus it can be an amazing learning tool for your child.  Not just that but the benefits of having a bug hotel for a vegetable garden is endless.

Ilse Kilian-Ross

Ilse Kilian-Ross is the owner of Amazing K, a registered ECD and Partial Care Facility in Johannesburg. Amazing K is a private adhd school, autism school and therapy centre for children from age 2 - 6 years where learners receive the best of both the schooling and therapy world. The autism school offers Individualized Education Programs, Speech- and Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) therapy as well as a full and adapted Academic Curriculum.