Since we fully re-opened and lockdown restrictions have eased over the last month, we have had a lot of positive feedback on a new grand structure in our Discovery Area. For those of you that have visited recently, you would have found it hard to miss!
Our ‘Discovery Area’ is an area with activities galore for children (and adults) to really interact with nature on a personal level and learn in the process. This area includes a den building area, a bug hotel, some bridges and some reptile basking spots. This area occasionally floods in winter, so a lot of the fun activities we offer were literally in the flood zone. This meant that much of the wood used for the den building and bug hotel had rotted away and wasn’t very appealing anymore.
We thought that since it has been so popular it would be a great opportunity to share with you how we have made ours, what materials you may need and that much needed inspiration to possibly create one in your own back garden. (maybe one a bit smaller than ours though as at eight pallets high PLUS a roof it is quite the beast!)
Here is a list of materials we used:
  • Pallets
  • Wood for the roof (optional)
  • Shed felting to weather proof the roof (optional)
  • Screws
  • Broken plant pots
  • Bricks with holes in and broken bits
  • Pine cones
  • Bamboo
  • Long grass
  • Logs and log slices
  • Twigs
  • Wooden blocks with holes drilled
Feel free to use any other natural materials you have lying about that looks like insects would find nice and cosy. Basically, anything with gaps, holes or crevices.
The only tools you will need to complete this is a drill and a hammer – Oh and a bit of creativity!
First things first, find an area in your garden where the ground is flat. It doesn’t matter how sunny or shaded the spot is as a different temperate will attract a different selection of minibeasts! Start by placing bricks in each corner before stacking those pallets on top of one another, this creates a nice sturdy base and prevents the wooden pallets from rotting away in the wet months. There is no need to drill them as the weight is enough to create a stable structure. Then, section by section add in those other materials to create your bug haven. If you are adding a roof, screw this down beforehand.
We topped ours off with some shingle in the hope that over the years it will create a living shingle roof that blends in to the surrounding habitat and adds to the biodiversity of the structure. Why not add some soil on yours and plant some wildflowers? Let your creativity run wild.
You can find a more in-depth step by step guide here: https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/nature-on-your-doorstep/garden-activities/build-a-bug-hotel/ on our website. But we hope this inspires you to create one of your own. And why not share them with us on social media?! We are @RSPBDungeness on Facebook and Twitter and would love to see your DIY bug hotel creations. We can’t wait to see them.
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