So why and what is a Beneficial Bug?
Did you know, your garden is an important refuge for wildlife and can be an amazing place to watch it?
Your garden will be packed full of mini beasts, not as big maybe as animals you see in the Serengeti but, the raw action will be just the same!
Imagine the scene. Herbivores, quietly grazing, some cunningly camouflaged to avoid detection. Hungry predators prowling, waiting for the chance to pounce. Then, the carnivore rushes in to seize its prey! What Drama!
The only difference is& it's scaled down a bit!
Through the summer this scene is played out every day. Ladybirds, lacewings and ground beetles are voracious hunters and tend to eat the more harmful creatures that blight our gardens.
If we can encourage these animals to our garden, we can benefit and so will our environment. We can encourage pollinators too. Bees and butterflies will help our flowers bloom and their presence in the garden adds other dimensions of sound, colour and movement!
Step 1: What We Need
Old wooden box
(For very best results you will want to use a wood like oak that will weather well, and avoid any wood that has been treated as this could kill the very bugs you want to encourage....The bugs like rotting wood much more for a home then something that has been recently covered in chemicals)
Step 2: Putting It Together
Take a look at your box, measure the depth of the box, this will tell you just how long you will need to mark and saw your bamboo.
I would start with a relativity small box as the sheer volume of bamboo can be a bit of a task, In this one I use a box that held two bottles of wine......for the record, the wine was very nice, Maison Louis Jadot Burgundy!
Step 3: Saw, Saw and Saw Then Glue!
This is a far from fun job if you are doing it by hand, but the end result is well worth it.
once you have a good supply of cut bamboo, start glueing in you bamboo, and build up the layers.
Step 4: Adding a Door to the Bug House
measure mark, measure again to check, then cut your wood for the front of the bug house.
the size of the door panel will depend on how large you box is, and what fraction of the box you want to be bamboo (especially good for bees)....for this box im using 1/3 bamboo as i find this an effective split.
Once your door is cut to the right size, attach a hinge and hook.....or system that suits you, as long as you can open the door to fill the box with dry straw and sticks once a year your good to go.
One the door is fitted your ready for the last part of the build......drilling some holes.
I find marking out a grid with a pencil, then using a few different size drill bits works well, (some shapes of hole will encourage different bugs, holes like these ones are your standard hole and will encourage most bugs you want, But if you wanted to build a house more inclined to ladybirds, thin horizontal slots will work best, and for butterfly (not that beneficial on an allotment!) vertical slots about 4 inches with a inch of dow rod sticking out as a perch at the bottom of each is your best bet.
Step 5: Where to Put the Bug House
They can be hung from trees, arches or pergolas. The wall bug houses can be hung on a fence or wall. If aphids are a problem on a particular plant, such as roses, cherry trees or runner beans, then site your bug house nearby.
for best results fill the house packed full of nice dry straw and deadwood sticks.
Below is a Leaf-cutting bees (Megachile species) nesting in bamboo.