Activities and Getting Involved
Ideas for kids - little, not so little and those who still want to be!
Check out these ideas from the Team and sources far and wide about how to make our village great for wildlife and a greener, safer place to be.
Help Create A Home for our smallest residents...
Bug Houses can be as simple as a tin can filled with bamboo canes (see our Bug House Event in August for example!) or a Hotel made from old pallets, or logs. Read more below on how you can create a safe haven to help our littlest residents flourish.
Bug Hotel Building
What is a bug hotel?
A bug hotel is somewhere for insects (bugs!) to live.
Why should I help insects?
Insects are very helpful for gardeners, and an important part of the food chain. They help create healthy soil, decompose waste products, pollinate flowers, and control pests. Also a healthy population of insects will provide food for larger animals like birds and hedgehogs.
When is the best time to make a bug hotel?
The best time is early autumn, so that the insects have somewhere to hibernate over winter.
What insects will live in this bug hotel?
Bamboo canes are really good for solitary bees, but they may also benefit spiders and beetles.
What else should I know about solitary bees?
There are around 270 species of bee in the UK, and 90% of these are solitary bees. Despite this, most of them are declining in number. Most solitary bees collect pollen and so are excellent pollinators. They gather pollen from plants which they store in the canes in a ball stuck together with nectar, before laying an egg inside and sealing the entrance. They repeat this process up the length of the cane. The eggs hatch and the larvae feed on the pollen and nectar then hibernate for up to 11 months before they emerge in spring as adult bees. Once outside they may only live for 4-6 weeks. Only the females make a nest and collect pollen. The males emerge before the females in order to find a mate, but then they leave the females to do the rest of the work. Despite the name ‘solitary’ they can actually live happily alongside one another, but each bee has it’s own nest instead of a shared nest like bumblebees or honey bees, which have a queen bee. Some solitary bees do not collect their own pollen supply, but lay their eggs in the nest of another bee that has done, so that their eggs can feed on the pollen when they hatch. These bees are called ‘cuckoo’ bees, because this behaviour is very similar to the cuckoo bird, which lays it’s eggs in other birds’ nests. Solitary bees rarely sting, and when they do its not harmful to people.
Where should I hang my bug hotel?
The bees like to face a sunny direction, so choose a south facing spot between three and six feet off the ground, so its not too windy and you’ll be able to see if any bees are using it! Ideally it should be fixed in place, perhaps to the side of a shed or fence. Don’t let vegetation obscure the entrance, and if possible make sure it is sheltered enough to prevent any rain from getting in.
What else would help the bees?
As they collect pollen from plants to feed, they need to have a source of pollen available all through the summer, which means a range of plants that flower at different times. To help the bees, plant native species that provide high quantities of pollen and flower from early spring right through to autumn, so that there is always some pollen available in your garden. Don’t forget to clean out or replace your bug hotel next autumn. Look for mould, parasites or dead larvae and clear these away to ensure the hotel is ready for another batch of guests!
How can I encourage other insects to a bug hotel?
All kinds of insects can be encouraged to use a bug hotel, by using a wide variety of materials that may well be lying around the house and garden. There are many designs and ideas to look at online, but why not create your own from whatever you can find? Insects like cool, moist conditions so choose a spot under a tree or near a hedge in the shade. Wooden pallets and bricks are an easy way to create layers to your hotel, into which you can place other materials. Dead or rotting wood is great for beetles, spiders and fungi, and centipedes and woodlice will burrow under the bark. Stones and tiles are great for frogs and newts, but are best placed low down. Hay, straw and dead leaves can be useful for a range of insects, including ladybirds.
Further information is available at the following sites: