How to Make a 5* Bug Hotel




About: Durham Wildlife Trust aims to protect wildlife and natural features and to promote nature conservation within its geographical area – County Durham, Sunderland, Gateshead, South Tyneside, Darlington and adja...

This Instructable will show you how to make a five star bug hotel, providing shelter for a wide variety of invertebrates as well as small mammals and maybe even a hedgehog! A superb way to encourage wildlife into your garden.

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Step 1: You Will Need....

Five wooden pallets

Cordless screwdriver and screws

Hand saw

Two timber posts for the base

Two old fenceposts

Concrete tiles

Hammer and nails suitable for attaching tiles

Dry leaves/grass, bark, moss, fir cones and other recycled materials to fill the hotel

Step 2: Assembling the Frame

Take three of the five wooden pallets and join them together at the corners. Secure the joints with screws using the electric screwdriver. Make sure the pallets are well secured as they will need to be capable of supporting some weight.

Step 3: Making the Roof

The remaining two pallets are used to make the roof. The ends of one pallet should be cut off at an angle, using a hand saw, with all the struts cut at the same angle. The second pallet should then be cut in the same way.

Step 4: Finishing the Roof

The other edge of the pallets should be cut with an overhanging lip, which will hang over the side of the pallet. The angle of the roof should then be tested to make sure it fits securely, a slight adjustment may be necessary to get a perfect join. Don't secure the roof to the frame yet, though.

Step 5: Positioning the Bug Hotel

The three pallets that form the frame of the hotel should be raised with two old timber posts, and the ground levelled before the old posts are cut to length.

Step 6: Securing the Bug Hotel

The pallets are secured to the ground using old round fence posts, which slip between the struts. Once the posts are far enough into the ground they should be cut level with the pallets. Once the frame is secure, the roof can then be repositioned and attached using screws.

Step 7: Providing Habitat for Mammals

The off cuts from the base timber posts can be used to enclose the base, providing habitat for small mammals. The larger gap at the back can be filled with dry straw and leaves to create an area suitable for hedgehogs.

Step 8: Waterproofing the Roof

The roof is made waterproof with terracotta coloured concrete tiles and two recycled ridge tiles. These are nailed to the roof, but ensure the correct nails are used so the tiles don't split.

Step 9: Filling the Bug Hotel

The bug hotel, once secured and with the roof complete can now be filled. A wide variety of materials can be used for this including bark, moss, fir cones, old tree shelters, canes and off cuts of wood with holes drilled along the length. These materials will all provide shelter for a number of invertebrate species.

Step 10: The Finished Article!

After all the hard work your bug hotel should now be complete and ready for the first occupants to move in!



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    9 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Make sure you use clean pallet wood - pallet wood which is shipped is most often fumigated or sprayed with pesticide - this will kill your house guests - FYI - there is usually plenty of lumber scraps at your home improvement center, clean wood which is great and inexpensive to use.


    3 years ago

    Awesome design, I just love the way you guys took the concept far out of its 'classic' box! Just one question: pallets are heavily soaked into everything you don't want, isn't there a risk for those insects you just want to give a favor? Just wondering...


    3 years ago

    This is great! What a nice job you did! Thanks for caring so much!

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks Audrey :) bug hotels like this one certainly do make a great garden feature! Let us know if you build one!

    Uncle Kudzu

    3 years ago

    Nice! Bet you'll be seeing some reptilian visitors too. Lizards are gonna like those bricks and tiles!

    1 reply

    Thanks Kudzu, yes - the reptilian guests will enjoy warming themselves on the tiles and bricks (weather permitting!)