An insect hotel is a man made structure created with natural materials. This is one of the first “permaculture” project I want to consider building when finding a place to start.
Keeping a Insect hotel near your garden ensures that your herbs, veggies, and flowers will never be lacking in pollinators, and you’ll help to contribute to the health of your local ecosystem. Hotels also attract predatory insects which help control unwanted bugs.
The insect hotels can be built in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the specific purpose or specific insect it is catered to. Most consist of several different sections that provide insects with nesting facilities – particularly during winter, offering shelter or refuge for many types of insects.
Image: Bee sucking the nectar form the flower
With an insect hotel it is not necessary to have a bee hive. With the current threat of the death of honey bee colonies you can use an insect hotel as a backup for pollination, which native bees can undertake a large portion of. Some species of native bees pollinate certain plants. The disappearance of native bees is mainly because certain plants disappear.
Besides insect hotels you can also plant additional flowers. Some specific examples of native bee foods are anise, stonecrop, monarda, catnip, queens and loosestrife herb.
Why an insect hotel or a bee hotel?
In cold climates, an insect hotel is a hibernation place for insects. In the summer it is a nesting place. An advantage of a hibernation place is that all the insects are in your garden as spring starts. In warm climates the function of the hotel is for nesting and so that insects can find a dry place in the wet season. An optimal habitat for insects in the garden, orchard or food forest stimulates the diversity of insects. The result of diversity is an improvement of the ecological balance in the garden.
Image: Insect hotel is similar to a skyscraper but for all the insects in the garden