By The Twig - Well Seasoned, Feb 1 2017 11:00AM
By making sure your garden is home to plenty of insects you'll also get plenty of visiting birds and larger animals who feed on them.
February a good time of year to make a bug house; although many insects aren't active over the winter, making and installing a house for them now means they will quickly colonise it in when they emerge during the spring and summer. The key to a good bug house is plenty of nooks and crannies for insects to lay their eggs in and to hibernate. Different species have different preferences, so providing a range of habitats will ensure you get a variety of lodgers. If you have space, placing more than one bug house in your garden at varying levels and on different surfaces will also help attract a diverse selection of creepy crawlies.
You will need:
• A section of clay pipe about 6 inches in diameter (available from most garden centres). Clay pipes are particularly attractive but if you can't get hold of one you could also use:
- a section of plastic drain pipe
- a plastic bottle with one end cut off
- a tall flower pot
- a large instant coffee tin
• A bundle of bamboo canes
• A selection of long twigs
Cut the canes and twigs so they are slightly shorter than the pipe. Place as many of them as you can lengthways into the pipe to ensure a snug fit. Place your house on its side in a dry spot in the garden before the spring so that hibernating insects will find it when they emerge. Be patient - it will take insects a little time to find and colonise your bug house, but the longer you leave it, the more will make it home.
Top tips for the best bugs:
• Block off one end of your house by placing it against a fence or other surface to stop the wind blowing through. You could also mould some flattened modelling clay to seal the end.
• Make sure water can't collect in your bug house. Raising the back end by placing it on a stone or twig so that it slopes slightly downwards will help.
• Leave any natural vegetation (twigs, fallen leaves etc.) that falls on or around your bug house.