Don’t worry it is a development to encourage more invertebrates on to the site. It was constructed by the Friends of Garthorne Road Nature Reserve with help from the Lewisham council conservation section Nature’s Gym, it was built from wood pallets donated by the London Wildlife Trust Great North Wood Project
We started by putting four bricks at each corners and a layer of hoggin at the base then using a upturned pallet resting on the bricks to leave a gap so the reptiles, amphibians and hedgehogs can hibernate under and them we put another pallet the right way up on top and filled the gaps using branches and twigs and using old tree guards filled with bamboo canes, you can also use old flowerpots and fill them with sticks to create niches for ladybirds and earwigs. nWe repeat this process until it is about 5 pallets high them you can either top it using old roofing tiles or branches to stop the water getting into the middle and creating a warm habitat you can build you own Bug Palace by downloading a fact sheet from the Royal Society for Protection for Birds (RSPB) Bug Hotel fact sheet
Many insect hotels are used as nest sites by insects including solitary bees and solitary wasps. These insects drag prey to the nest where an egg is deposited. Other insects hotels are specifically designed to allow the insects to hibernate, notable examples include ladybirds (ladybugs) and butterflies.
Insect hotels are popular amongst gardeners and fruit and vegetable growers due to their role encouraging insect pollination. Some elaborately designed insect hotels may also be attractions in their own right and, increasingly, can be found in pub gardens and various tourist locations.
Different hotels for different insects
Ladybird hotel :
Good materials to construct insect hotels with can include using dry stone walls or old tiles. Drilled holes in the hotel materials also encourage insects to leave larvae to gestate. Therefore, different materials, such as stones and woods are recommended for a wide range and diversity of insect life. Logs and bark, and bound reeds and bamboo are also often used. The various components or sizes of holes to use as entry of an insect hotel attract different species. Ready-made insect hotels are also found at garden centers, and particularly ecological and educational conservational centers and organisations.
Solitary bees and wasps
Solitary bees, some wasps and bumblebees do not live within a hive with a queen. There are males and females. A fertilized female makes a nest in wood or stone and bored into the wood in order to construct a nursery.
The most common bee hotel is created from a sawn wooden log or portion of a cut tree trunk in which holes are drilled of different sizes (e.g. 2, 4, 6 and 8 mm), about a few centimeters apart. They attract many bees. The holes have to be tilted slightly so that no rainwater can get in. Stone blocks are also used for this purpose. The holes are drilled quite lengthily into the material but not so far as to create a tunnel to the other side of the wood. Furthermore, the entrances to these access burrows must be smooth enough so that the delicate bodies of the insects are not damaged. Often, with wooden hotels, the exterior is sanded. The best location for a hotel is a warm and sheltered place, such as a southern-facing (in the northern hemisphere) wall or hedge. The first insects are already active towards the end of winter and would be actively seeking for such a place to settle. Other species like to furnish their nests with clay, stone and sand, or in between bricks.
Even a simple bundle of bamboo or reeds, tied or put in an old tin can and hung in a warm place, is very suitable for solitary bees. The bamboo must be cut in a specific way to allow entry for the insects. Often people may add stems of elderberry, rose or blackberry shoots whose marrow can serve as a food source as well.
Butterflies that hibernate like to find sheltered places such as crevices in houses and sheds, or enclosed spaces, such as within bundles of leaves. There are special butterfly enclosures available with vertical slits that take into account the sensitive wings of the animals when they enter them.
By using an insect hotel, parasitic insects are also attracted to make use of the facilities. Cuckoo bees and wasps will lay their eggs within the nests of others in order to provide them with readily available food upon hatching without the parent insect having to provide for them.
Hotels also attract predatory insects which help control unwanted bugs. For example, Earwigs are good to have present in and near fruit trees as they eat the plant lice that may settle on the tree and disturb fruit growth. A terracotta flower pot hung upside-down, filled with bundles of straw or wood wool is an ideal house for earwigs. Ladybirds are easy to cater for by placing many twigs within an open wooden box on its side to provide many small cavities. Ladybirds prefer to hibernate in larger groups so this will encourage many to settle in one specific place. Isopods have their usefulness as scavengers in the garden. These animals like large gaps between stacked bricks and roof tiles to shelter from rain and to hide from predators.