Gardener Builds Strange, Hole-Filled Structure In Backyard To Keep Critters Warm All Winter

by Laura Caseley
Laura is a writer, illustrator, and artist living in New York City.

Winter is a tough season when you live outside. Most animals have ways of adapting to the cold climate.

Some grow an extra layer of fat and fur. Some hibernate.

But in oder to do any of those things, they need both food and shelter, and both of those things can be hard to come by thanks to the bitter cold, snow, lack of living vegetation, and, of course, over-development and habitat depletion.

And this isn’t just mammals we’re talking about. This extends to insects.

While many types of bugs only live for a season, plenty of others live through the winter, and have to survive it.

Wintering insects include bees, whose populations are threatened, which in turn threatens literally all the food we eat. So if you like food, you need bees!

But if the thought of the little critters being cold and hungry makes you sad, you can help! All by building a hotel right in your backyard.

You can build your bee and bug hotel in any shape you like — they don’t need it to be super fancy. They just need a place to snuggle up and keep from freezing.

Two Instructables users, icecreamterror and hboom, each created bug hotels that are not only useful and functional, but actually look pretty cool, too.

Check out how they each made their bug houses below for inspiration, and then try your hand at it. It’s a great activity to share with the family, and as a bonus, it gets kids interested in nature. Everybody wins!

[H/T: Garden Therapy; Instructables, 2]

First, both icecreamterror and hboom gathered their supplies. Icecreamterror was creating a square hotel with a door…

…while hboom opted for a less conventional triangle shape, using recycled pallet wood. They also added some shingles.

Different bugs like different kinds of spaces, so depending on who you’d like to attract, you can use different materials.

Use a combination for a mixed crowd, or stick to one to attract a certain type.

The first type was created by cutting bamboo stalks, which are hollow, to length. Any type of hollow wood will work.

The bamboo was then stacked and glued together.

The sizes of the holes will vary, but that’s fine.

Hboom also included a second type of habitat by drilling some holes into a block of wood.

Hboom then stacked everything together to create a pleasing triangle pattern.

They also added a back for extra stability and coziness.

And a fancy pink paint job finished things off.

Meanwhile, icecreamterror’s rectangular house got a hinged door for added warmth, complete with drilled holes so the “guests” could come and go as needed.

And bees really do love them!

With habitats shrinking and hives threatened, this is a great way to provide them with a place to live and grow. Plus you’ll get to watch their fascinating activities!

The best place to place a bee hotel is somewhere sunny but sheltered, and where there’s not a lot of traffic from humans or pets. Add some dry straw for extra comfort.

If you want to see a lot of different bugs, consider trying what Garden Therapy did and using all kinds of different materials like twigs, pinecones, dried grass, wood chips (untreated!), and lichen. Experiment and see what happens!

But if you’re unsure about who might move in, keep the hotel far from the house — just in case.

And the Durham Wildlife Trust went really nuts and created an entire shed for not only insects, but small mammals, too! Most people can’t practically go this far, but this is pretty swanky.

Would you build a bug hotel? Let us know, and even if you wouldn’t, SHARE this winter craft with someone who loves all things creepy and crawly!