James River Explorers: Hotel for Bugs

James River Explorers: Hotel for Bugs

In this series, we will be sharing activities that help you get outside, learn about our environment, and work with your friends and family to create something awesome. If you haven’t already, read the previous James River Explorers posts and enjoy!

A “hotel” for bugs?! Even though they are often seen flying freely or buzzing in your ear, bugs need a safe shelter just like other wild animals. They can use the hotel for many different reasons:

  1. insects use the hotel hibernate in the colder months, like friendly ladybugs and butterflies
  2. some species of bees and wasps are solitary and don’t use a hive; they need a hotel
  3. just like a bird uses its nest, insects use the hotel for laying eggs
  4. hotels will also be used by super beneficial pollinators in our gardens

In addition, you can benefit from your hotel by observing insects and watching their life cycles. Once you build your hotel, try to identify how many species occupy the insect high-rise! Follow these directions and be sure to include your family and friends:

What you will need: (this list suggests a variety of materials, use what you can find!)

  • wooden pallets or leftover boards
  • bricks
  • plastic bottles from the recycling bin
  • bamboo canes or plastic straws
  • straw or hay
  • fallen leaves (don’t pluck from trees!)
  • leftover tiles
  • cardboard
  • stones or pebbles
  • twigs or loose bark

What to do:

  • Visit your favorite park or your backyard and collect the natural materials listed above
  • Ask for help for collecting bricks, tiles, plastic bottles, etc.
  • Place the wooden pallet (or boards) in your chosen location, place bricks at the corners and across the middle
  • Place your next pallet (or boards) and repeat the placement of the bricks
  • Layer the pallets/boards and bricks with as many materials as you have
  • Cut off the bottom of the bottles, and fill them with bamboo canes, plastic straws, or rolled up cardboard, then place them inside of the spaces in the hotel structure
  • Fill the remaining spaces with bricks, leaves, pebbles, stones, tiles, loose bark, and straw
  • Add any extra materials that you want to reuse in your hotel: old pipes, carpeting, tubes, pots
  • Get creative and add a sign, colors, potted plants, or give your hotel a name!

Share your completed James River Explorers projects by posting a photo with the hashtag #JamesRiverExplorers and tag the James River Association. Happy exploring!