Beneficial Bug Houses




In this instructable im going to show you how to make a quick, cheap and easy Beneficial Bug Houses!

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

This is a short, and simple list:

Glue gun
Jr. Hacksaw
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

Step one: How Deep is your box?

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!

Mark up you bamboo in lengths equal to the depth of the box and start cutting it up!

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

For the best results you should use something like a nice oak that will weather well, but in this example I'm going to use some ply I have floating about.

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

Now your Bug box is built, you need to think about where to place it. for best results site in a warm, sunny, sheltered position, out of prevailing winds and close to vegetation.

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.



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    19 Discussions

    Attracting good bugs attracts certain birds, who then eat the spiders. No chemicals, minimal maintenance, and getting closer to a natural balance. what could be better? Thanks for sharing your useful information with us. Keep up the good work. Flower Delivery

    1 reply
    club penguin

    8 years ago on Introduction

    I wish I had a garden so I could put up bug houses like this one. I think putting beneficial bug houses sort of putting a balance to the environment. This is a "win-win" scenario for the bugs and the plants who have a symbiotic relationship and will be further enhanced once this is actually implemented. No doubt, giving back to the environment is always a cool thing. Club Penguin Secrets

    This is really nice, and quite simple (if a little time consuming). I've been looking for a way to keep the spiders under control without blindly killing them. They get rid of other pests, but they have a horrible habit of building webs across my porch and walkways! Attracting good bugs attracts certain birds, who then eat the spiders. No chemicals, minimal maintenance, and getting closer to a natural balance... what could be better? Perhaps a few, small bug-boxes around my yard (for an urban-dweller, I've a pretty good sized yard) would net me a veritable aviary?


    9 years ago on Step 4

    Slots also tend to encourage moths, many of which have destructive larvae, such as "cutworms", "hornworms", or worms in your apples!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    mm is kinda unusual someone take care about those lil friends who make our life better (imagine if spiders and lady bugs don't eat mosquitos and those leaf eaters) ; ) a hand after we've been focused to destroy all insects in planet just cause humans think they're useless or are afraid of them


    9 years ago on Introduction

    even easier! - take a honeycomb brick and stuff it with different materials... the red colour attracts insects and the stone keeps warm


    9 years ago on Introduction

    so.... could you please recap? Which is the "Beneficial Bug"? The herbivore or the one carnivore? And the point is to have an eco-friendly way to reduce the numbers of the bugs that annoy gardeners, or is there a deeper plan here? And regarding the house, 1)is there a separation between the side with the bamboo/side with the door? 2)What is the purpose of the side with the door? 3)what is it that they like about the house, specifically? I guess the tubular cells are good for nesting- is there more to it? 4) Can one use straws/piping/tubing instead?

    2 replies

    Ok......"Beneficial Bug" there is a good list here and as you say is a eco-friendly way to reduce the numbers of the bugs that annoy gardeners, but has a knock on effect of increasing everything in the food chain above the Beneficial Bug.

    1)is there a separation between the side with the bamboo/side with the door?
    No, there is no separation, this letterbox style of hole above the bamboo is a favorite of ladybirds.

    2)What is the purpose of the side with the door?
    The door has holes drilled in it to attract a range of flying insects. the point of the door is due to you having to fill the box above the bamboo with straw to make a nice warm dry habitat.

    3)what is it that they like about the house, specifically? I guess the tubular cells are good for nesting- is there more to it?
    The bamboo is very much for Solitary Bees, with over 250 species of bees over 90% of them are solitary bees, and most will nest in the dead hollow stems of plants.

    The rest of the bugs need a dry warm place to nest, this is where the top compartment come into effect.

    4) Can one use straws/piping/tubing instead?
    I've seen PVC, and card tube use successfully.

    Hope this helps....if not ask away! :)

    Hey, Icecream, I just wanted to say that this was an excellent response. If there was confusion before, you've done a fine job of clarifying.

    Also, lovely idea, and a lovely 'ible. You should be proud, this was well done.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I usually just take a 2x4 and drill a bunch of holes in it for wasps. This would look a lot better and I bet the wife would let me put it somewhere I can see it :)


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Are there problems with yellowjackets or other hornets? They are very prevalent here in Idaho. I have to knock down a nest every other week from our mailbox.

    2 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    You're going to get leaf cutter type wasps with this in Idaho I have one in Utah and I don't get those aggressive yellow jackets in it. They prefer the eaves of my house and shed.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Nope, they should not be a problem. Yellow-jackets and most "hornets" that we consider to be an annoyance swam, and build there own hives.......this bug house should only be attractive to some of the 3500+ species of solitary bees in North America.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I live in apartment.... I can't do that... how suck is an apartment....

    this should work. my dad usually have been having some pine boxes with eucaliptum leaves inside to attract bees... some smaller bees, here we call abelha(bee) mirim the honey(hmmm we call mel... I have used the google translator) of theses bees are amazing!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Very enlightening, I learned something new about garden bugs today. I sadly don't have a garden of my own, but I will save this for future reference.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    not only to help flowers bloom.. but make the fruit too! bugs are important to most plants