Insect House: Purpose, Benefits, Importance, DIY kit

insect-house-benefits-DIY

Some may feel like a garden filled with insects is a nightmare. For others, it may be a sign of health and prosperity. But it is safe to say that the presence of an abundance of insects is not necessarily a reason to worry about.

Moreover, it is a positive sign of an ecologically balanced environment. We may think that insects may cause serious harm to us. But in fact, it is said that only 1-3% percent of insects harm our produce.

Insects are responsible for the pollination of our flowers and food crops. Some of these insects are part of our food chain, helping to provide nutrition for bats and birds. Others decompose organic matter which is essential to maintain soil fertility.

Gardeners really appreciate the presence of insects that feed on garden pests, helping to reduce their numbers.

By going on to promote their presence in gardens, we can successfully decrease the number of dangerous pests without the use of harmful chemical pesticides that may contaminate the environment and cause self-inflicted harm to other species.

You can then encourage the presence of these insects in your garden by giving them a home to live. It is fairly easy. You can do this by planting perennial shrubs and trees that serve as shelter throughout the year, or maybe even leave a pile of twigs and leaves at the corner of your garden.

These shrubs in the corner of your garden also help recycle organic matter back into the soil.

But if you want to keep your garden neat and clean along with making sure there are friendly insects around your garden, you can build them a house, AN INSECT HOUSE.

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What is an Insect House?

Benefits of Insect House in your garden

  1. Increasing biodiversity
  2. Safe place for pollinators
  3. Biological control of pests
  4. Improvement of soil fertility
  5. Link of nature and ecology
  6. Pretty Gardens

DIY guide to build an Insect House

Best Insect Hotels on Amazon

Where to Place your insect house?


What is an Insect House?

Insect house is also referred to as insect hotel. It is a diverse structure made of natural or recycled materials that imitate natural nesting habitat from these insects. Insect houses come in different shapes and sizes, featuring different types of elements to suit the needs of specific insect of species.

They combine diverse materials and place them accordingly, you can go onto achieve a balanced colony for beneficial insects. Once these insects discover an insect house, they will nest and reproduce inside.

Additionally they are also known to hibernate during winter season, only to come out as strong when spring season starts. In this manner, the health of the garden will be kept at check by these small helpers since the initial warm days.

Benefits of Insect House in your garden

In normal circumstances, insects build their nests in a well-protected crevice or crack. Sadly, most of us do not realize that finding a suitable habitat in an urban residential area is very difficult for these creatures. 

With modern development, many insect habitats have suffered. Increasing trends of using clean surfaces and flattening grounds lack the diversity of natural material insects need to build their homes.

This isn’t good for us either. The lack of possibility to find a safe place to live and reproduce can drive many insects that are beneficial to us away from our gardens.

We must choose to revert the trend and aim to invite insects back. Their activities inside a garden play a major role in maintaining a successful garden.

Look at some of the reasons why you should invite these insects back into a garden.

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1. Increasing biodiversity

You should see when looking at a garden in a small piece of the local ecosystem with an intricate web of life. Every species consisting of ecosystems has a vital function.

Removal of these species often goes onto deliver negative consequences such as pest infestations, disease of plants, and loss of garden productivity.

For example, lacewing, garden deprived of ladybug and hoverfly presence, lice and mite populations are free to boom.

Insects are considered the foundation of any ecological balance. An insect house in a garden can go onto provide a nesting opportunity and hibernation place for beneficial insects.

Hence, increasing insects of diversity in the area and helps to naturally restart important ecosystems like soil formation, recycling nutrients, and pollination.

2. Safe place for pollinators

The main causes of bee declines are interference with natural habitats. We go onto destroy natural rainforests to expand cities and claim hectares of land for pesticide-fed monoculture farming.

This can be particularly harmful to solitary bee species that often have small foraging and make short trips from their nest.

In areas that have limited nesting opportunities and long distances between sources of food, most of these solitary bees cannot find suitable habitat to prosper. This is where your garden becomes important!

Offer them a safe environment inside your garden. You go onto create a little haven for these tiny pollinators in the vast space of urbanized world.

One great advantage, solitary bees are very different from honeybees. They don’t usually sting and pollinate plants at similar rates! They also eat up larvae (young) of insects, keeping your garden clean.

butterfly larvae
These are butterfly larvae. If you find these in your garden, best not to disturb them. These are the best indicators of good garden health.

These bees are not the only pollinators that would make use of your insect’s house. Soon enough, there will be a diversity of other pollinators, such as butterflies, moths, beetles, and many other insects making themselves at home in the newly built structure.

3. Biological control of pests

The control of common pests with use of natural pest control is more effective, cheaper, and healthier in the long term than spraying your garden with chemicals.

After all, the most important principles found in nature are the balance between species and their populations. Even the balance is momentarily disrupted with one species dominating others, gradually resets over time.

The same principle has gone onto being applied in the biological pest control. Gardeners and farmers take advantage of predators of these pests to decrease their harm.

For example, larvae feed on mites, mealybugs, thrips, insect eggs, and caterpillars. Ladybugs are a well-known remedy for aphid infestations. Different species of parasitic wasps eliminate whitefly, worm colonies, and leafminers.

The show of integrity in nature comes from the cooperation between pest predators and plants. Scientists found out that plants call for help when being attacked by parasites. They can do this by releasing attractive odor that then draws in pest predators and saves them from highly damaging pests.

Well, the insect house accommodates most of these pest predators directly in your garden. So, it is easy to host these and get benefits from their services for free. This will probably promote the resilience of your garden.

4. Improvement of soil fertility

The increase in insect biodiversity improves health of these plants and soils in your garden. It also maintains their nutrient content and fertility. This is because herbivorous and omnivorous insects affect the amount and distribution of organic matter entering soils.

The insects are considered to be important decomposers, helping to breakdown plant residues and turning these important nutrients back into the soil.

These are a vital component of nutrient recycling in nature. Without insects chewing, tearing apart, and digesting larger pieces of organic materials like leaves, stems, or even carcasses of other insects; soils would lack many nutrients.

Soon you will discover that your insect house hosts various kinds of beetles. If that’s the case, get excited!

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Beetles are known as hard-working composters that can feed on decaying vegetables, fruits, plants and even prey on snails and predatory insects. All the while pollinating these plants and enriching nutrients within the soil.

In fact, without proper decomposition and cleaning work of beetles, our lands would start suffocating in slow-rotting debris. Beetles are the most perfect helpers for every gardener.

5. Link of nature and ecology

Long ago, a familiarity with nature was a part of everyday decision making.

Without understanding ecological processes and possessing necessary knowledge of being able to utilize natural resources, our ancestors would have not survived.

Sadly enough, urbanization and technological advances have gone onto widen the gap in our understanding of nature and other living organisms.

These tend to create problems. Once we go onto lose connection, we may lose respect and appreciation for the environment and its inhabitants of different size and shapes.

Insects are not usually the most admired of creatures and their appearance doesn’t help them either. Learning about them and watching their behavior, you can choose to learn about the ecology and reconnect once more with their neglected world.

Having beautiful insects in your garden, filled with life and activity, is also great therapy for a troubled and overwhelmed mind.

6. Garden looks pretty and buzzing with life

Insect houses are personalized art that can bring an aesthetic quality of life in a garden. Insect houses look are very unique in different settings and gardens. The variety of insects inhabit them is also very diverse. 

It is up to you to decide the type of design or size you want to incorporate, and where you should place the insect house. 

You can cover barren spots. Install between blossoming flowers to catch the eye of a passerby. Insect houses perfectly mix functionality and aesthetics in your garden.

DIY guide to building your own insect house

Requirements

  • A wooden box or open birdhouse
  • An assortment of twigs rolled up paper, leaves, wood chips, or hollow reeds, thin cardboard tubing, and blocks of wood with holes drilled into them
  • Hot glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Twine or wire to hang the finished hotel. Use any long stick which can balance the insect house.

Steps to build an Insect House

  1. Pre-roll your paper or leaves and glue them up.
  2. Cut those tubes according to the thickness of your box.
  3. Get the first tube and glue it inside the corner of the box.
  4. Hold the tube until glue hardens (for all tubes)
  5. Holding the box at an angle, start fitting in more tubes over the first one in all directions.
  6. Let it try.
  7. Paint as you would!
  8. Balance it on a stick or hang it with a wire.

Here’s a more detailed note on how to make an insect house;

If you choose to use rolled up leaves or bits of paper, it is preferred to pre-roll them tightly and set them aside for when you might need them.

Similarly for hollow reeds or bamboo; cut all the sections before you can begin, so you don’t have to stop and start-up a dozen times.

Choose a tube and glue it into the bottom left or right-hand corner of your open box/birdhouse. This can become the cornerstone for the rest of these tubes.

Holding the box at an angulation, arrange these other tubes over the first one you glued in there. Hold them in place (until the glue hardens) as you continue adding more tubes.

When you feel it’s necessary, add one or two drops of hot glue to the bottom of the tube to secure it before settling it in, or between the tubes if you may find that they’re not locking in together tightly.

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The tubes should onto the place in a firm manner. However, don’t pack in too tightly as they can crush one another or cause problems in air circulation.

It is nice to have a variety of tube sizes available so you can choose different thicknesses to fill large or small gaps, as they are being created. Variation of sizes also helps different insect species to find homes among the niches.

If you’re not into hard work; here are some insect houses on Amazon you should try out!’

Best Insect Hotels on Amazon

NatureZ Edge Eco Friendly Bee Hive, Mason Bee House

Click on the image to find this product on Amazon.

These specifications will tell you if it’s right for your garden.

  • Size: 11″ L x 7.75″ W x 3.75″ D
  • Item Weight: 2.27 Pounds

Provision of shelter for beneficial insects like lacewings and ladybugs, this beehive will be a natural way of removing unwanted pests like aphids.

If left unattended, aphids can go onto destroying months of hard work in a matter of days.

These may physically last a long time. However, problems with any garden bee house arise 2 years later. Bee houses are susceptible to many parasites. These can be harmful to bees if you leave your bee house unattended for greater than two years.

You should definitely change or freshen your bee house after 2 years.

NiteangeL Natural Insect Hotel Bee Bug House

Click on the image to find this product on Amazon.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions:  7.5 x 2.8 x 8.7 inches (W x D x H)
  • Weight: 1.46 pounds

This type of insect house is small and compact. Hence, it is the best for a small garden. It’s perfect for a patio if you like a subtle accessory. It is made entirely from untreated pine wood.

NiteangeL split into small sections to provide habitat for a variety of common insects that serve to provide benefits.

Gardirect Natural Insect Hotel, Bee and Butterfly House

Click on the image to find this product on Amazon.

  • Dimensions: 11.75 x 11 x 3 inches
  • Weight: 2.69 pounds

Gardirect Insect hotel is the largest of insect houses on our list. The product is handmade from pine wood with a cute pine wood design for the roof. It is can be divided into five sections, providing shelter for butterflies, bees, earwigs, lacewings, and ladybugs.

You may also choose to find a taller version of the house from these same manufacturers with a slightly different design setup and split into 4 major different habitats.

PINVNBY Insect House Natural Wooden Bee Hotel

Click on the image to find this product on Amazon.

  • Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.6 x 2.3 inches
  • Weight: 1.2 Pounds

This will attract a variety of insects such as bees, lacewings, ladybugs, butterflies, and other benefits. The natural-looking houses will bring life to your flower garden. Children can learn more about insects and nature knowledge, love nature!

Mason Bee House

Click on the image to find this product on Amazon.

  • Dimensions: 9.5 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Weight: 2.95 pounds

This last insect house is special to bees. It provides a safe place for bee larvae. It can be made from natural bamboo that last outdoors for as long as two years.

This house can be filled with different sized bamboo holes. The manufacturer recommends you to hang the house 3-6 ft. above the ground in a sunny spot.

Where to Place your insect house?

Insect house should ideally be placed in the corner of your garden.

Just make sure it’s as far as it can be from your house entrance. This way, they don’t disturb you and you don’t disturb them.

Insect house can doesn’t necessarily need to be held on a pole or wooden pillars. Bolting it to any surface (preferably a tree) should do the trick.

You can even hang it on a thick branch.

That’s all about insect houses, got any ideas? Share them in the comments below!

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