Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:56 pm
An insect hotel attracts many flying beneficial insects to the garden. Wild bees, ladybugs and co. are very grateful for a warm place to live. However, there are a few things to consider when setting up your insect hotel. The location is crucial.
To the point
- Insect hotel is a helpful measure in nature conservation
- Location decides on the accommodation of, for example, earwig, wild bee and ladybug
- Orientation of the insect hotel to the south is important
- set up/hang up the insect hotel at a height of at least 50 cm
- also necessary is good food supply in the immediate vicinity
An insect hotel not only makes an active contribution to nature conservation, but useful insects are also attracted to the garden. These can be helpful in pollination of plants and likewise in pest control. The offered accommodation is used by the industrious helpers not only for overwintering, but primarily as a nesting place. Properly set up, lacewings can then
- wild bees
- are attracted. However, when installing an insect hotel, you need to pay attention to a few things, otherwise guests may not show up.
Note: When setting up an insect hotel, only natural materials such as straw, wood wool, pine cones, bamboo tubes, plant stems and drilled logs should be used. Different filling materials also attract different insects.
Choose a sunny location
Not only does the location of real estate determine its value, it is also important for an insect hotel. Insects love warmth. They are more active then and besides, warmth is also necessary for the brood and later the development of the larvae. Therefore, the choice for the location of the insect hotel should also be made very carefully. It should
offer protection from wind, cold and moisture
be fully sunny
sun all day if possible
always be oriented to the south
A sunny location has many advantages, which are crucial for the colonization of the insect hotel and for the well-being of the insects:
Heating of the natural materials in the hotel
- sun prevents fungal decay and rotting of the natural materials
- quick drying after rain is guaranteed
- no too fast cooling in winter
Insect hotels should never be oriented to the north-west. This is the weather side in the local latitudes. Wind and rain usually come from here. There is the possibility that during prolonged rain filler materials such as wood wool, straw or pine cones and also the eggs of wild bees begin to mold. Furthermore, the flight path for the insects is made more difficult here. This should normally always lead along the side of the insect hotel facing away from the weather. This way, the insects can fly to their quarters without any problems.
Note: Insect hotels should always be placed in a clearly visible position, so that insects can be easily attracted.
Insect hotels should not be placed directly on the ground, but slightly higher. In addition, you should also pay attention to weight and size. A distance to the ground of 50 to 100 cm should be maintained. Direct contact with the ground has several disadvantages:
- decomposition of the hotel due to soil wetness
- Plants such as creepers can block access points
- Pets and children have contact with insects
- Damage on both sides possible
Furthermore, when setting up the hotel, you should tilt it slightly forward. This allows any water that occurs to drain away quickly and the nesting areas remain dry.
Creating a food base
Not only the location, but also the food supply must be considered when setting up insect hotels. There should always be sufficient food plants for the insects near the shelters. The paths to these should be quite short, no longer than 300 meters. Most insects are engaged in extensive brood care and the short distances are just right. Good food plants include:
- Fruit trees
- Wild mallow
- Summer flowers
Meadow sage and other herbs
In addition, a mobile raised bed with a suitable planting can also serve well. In addition to food, a wide variety of insects also need water to lay their eggs and, finally, sand and clay to seal the hiding places. If possible, these materials should also be located near the hotels. Alternatively, the following can help
- placing bowls with moist sand and clay
- rain barrels
- use corks as floating aids
No more change of location
Once you have placed the hotel for insects, you should not change the location after that. Otherwise the following problems can occur:
- Insects can no longer find their dwelling
- familiar food sources are no longer accessible
- Insects are driven out of their normal habitat
Note: You can set up insect hotels all year round. A favorable time is March, when the first guests are already moving in.
Frequently asked questions
Can an insect hotel be placed near people?
Yes, there are no problems. As a rule, the insects do not pose any danger to people. Only wild bee stings can be dangerous for allergy sufferers. However, the bees must be provoked to do so. Therefore, an appropriate distance from the house and terrace should be maintained. The proximity to people is helpful to ward off natural predators such as birds.
Can I put an insect hotel on a balcony or terrace?
Yes, of course. However, care should always be taken here to ensure that the hotel is given a fully sunny spot. Optimal would be all-day sun. Furthermore, appropriate food sources must then be created. This can be done by planting pots, tubs and balcony boxes with summer flowers. Alternatively, a raised bed can be set up, if possible, with flowering plants.
Does the insect hotel need to be brought indoors during the winter?
No, normally no additional protective measures such as covers are necessary in winter. Under no circumstances should the hotel be brought indoors. Doing so can quickly disrupt the insects’ biorhythms. The rise in temperature will cause them to wake up prematurely from hibernation. Since no food would be available, they would quickly starve. The prematurely hatching bee larvae would also be doomed.