Because of humans, insects are facing devastating declines. Industrial farming, use of pesticides, habitat loss due to urbanization and pollution are all taking a serious toll on insects.
Besides learning more about insects, your child can play a role in helping local insects thrive by making your backyard a sanctuary for them. There are many ways to attract insects to your backyard from planting colorful flowers, adding moveable logs or rocks to look under, installing a birdbath or other water supply such as a wildlife-friendly pond, and never using chemicals.
One fun project to help offer a sanctuary to beneficial insects, especially pollinators, are insect hotels. These easy to make structures can help provide shelter for insects year-round but are particularly important in the winter. As many bee, wasp, ladybug, butterfly, and moth species hibernate over the winter, insect hotels can keep these species safe.
Insect hotels are easy to make. They can be made from recycled, up-cycled materials or other found materials. You can find many examples online on sites such as Pinterest or Instagram. Check out these ideas!
Feel free to design your bug hotel in the style that suits your family and your yard. Get as creative and elaborate as you and your child would like. If you'd like to keep it simple, these instructions should help:
STEP 1: Gather together your materials
- Buy or make a wood box in any size you prefer. Make sure it has compartments or add in wood compartments of your own.
- Gather together nesting materials such as newspaper scraps, toilet paper rolls, sticks, bark, bamboo, wood chips, pebbles/rocks, leaves, dried flowers, straw, yarn, burlap, wool.
- Hot glue gun
- White glue
STEP 2: Assemble it together!
- Add your materials such as toilet paper rolls, sticks, bamboo to the different compartments.
- Make sure your materials fit tightly in a compartment before gluing them in.
- Use white glue for lighter objects and hot glue for heavy objects like rocks.
Now that you have a suitable shelter for insects, you and your child can watch and see who takes up residence in your hotel. Help your child learn more about your backyard neighbors with this backyard bug hunt activity and other ideas for helping your child appreciate the big world of bugs.