The insect hotel, the gardener’s ally: where and how to install it?

The insect hotel finds its place in all gardens, vegetable patch, orchard and pleasure garden. It is a shelter made up of huts, real rooms intended to attract and protect a number of auxiliaries, friends of the gardener. They can shelter there in any season and breed there. By installing an insect nest, we fight without any chemical treatment against unwanted, harmful species that devastate plantations, but we also promote pollination. It remains to be seen where to set up an insect hotel and how to set it up so that useful little animals can take up residence there. This is what we will see.

Where to install an insect hotel?

If we want to attract beneficial insects and make them want to settle there, it is essential that this structure be installed in a quiet place, far from the comings and goings because this fauna needs serenity. Insects should not be exposed to the turbulence inevitably caused by the various activities of family members and pets. It is therefore a good idea to reserve a remote corner at the insect hotel. But we must also ensure orient it well since it must be:

  • Sheltered from the prevailing winds,
  • Sheltered from the cold,
  • Oriented South / South-East to be bathed in light and warmed by the rays of the sun.

Find the perfect place for the insect nest, it’s good. But it must also be kept ready at the right time in order to encourage the installation of the little animals in their nesting boxes. The ideal is to choose thesummer because in this season the temperatures are particularly mild to the attraction of insects. In the southern regions, the spring It is also a good season to set up an insect hotel because it is already hot there and these little animals are in full swing.

Finally, the gardener must always think of the comfort of its guests in all seasons. They should feel good in their nest box even in winter. In order for them to withstand freezing temperatures, it is recommended to install a natural windbreak by installing, for example, a few evergreen shrubs in the immediate vicinity of the structure but taking care that the leaves do not obstruct the accesses.

It is just as fundamental to plant all around the structure of the honey plants whose flowers are sure to attract pollinating insects like a flowery meadow for example.

Note also that any insect hotel must be installed away from the ground. To keep it at height, you can simply make legs with wooden cleats or iron stakes. It is important to place the different rooms of this garden ally refuge at different heights.

How to install an insect hotel in the garden?

The insect hotel can be made up in different ways. Each gardener has the possibility of selecting his tenants according to the desired goal. It all depends on what he cultivates. Above all, he must ask himself about the specific parasites that he wishes to move away from his garden and encourage the installation of useful little animals which, by playing their role of predators, will allow him to fight naturally against the unwanted.

Thus, after careful consideration, he can for example set up his insect hotel with different rooms so that each of them perfectly meets the needs of the distinctive guests in order to attract them. It is the best solution to carry out a targeted and effective biological control according to the vegetables, fruits and decorative plants that are cultivated. Here is an example of a basic refuge for friendly insects.

Attract ladybugs

These insects of the order Coleoptera are by far the most coveted allies because they are aphid predators extremely effective. In the space of a day, a single ladybug devours a hundred aphids.

Ladybug shelter that one wishes to install in an insect hotel must consist of dead leaves, gravel, a few pine cones and small stacked thin wooden slabs, but care must be taken to leave a small space between the slabs.

A refuge for lacewings

It is essential to allow them to protect themselves throughout the winter so that when the beautiful season arrives, they can rid crops of Colorado beetles, aphids, scale insects or even whiteflies, young caterpillars and mites. The lacewing larvae feed on it in the spring.

A cardboard box filled with crumpled kraft paper helps protect adult lacewings over winter. We make a few holes in the box and keep it closed with raffia.

A hotel for mason bees

These wild bees are called osmias. We attract them by booking a room in the insect hotel just for them with hollow bricks. Care is taken to seal the cells beforehand with a mixture consisting of 40% fine sand and 60% clay soil. A pierced log of a few holes is also an ideal shelter for these bees. Well established in the garden, osmias will ensure pollination by carrying the pollen under their legs.

A shelter for the micro-wasp

This lonely wasp feeds its larvae with many pests it hunts, such as mole crickets, grubs and caterpillars. It suffices to install a refuge between 60 and 200 cm from the ground, with a fagot made up of dry stems of marrow plants such as buddleia, bramble, raspberry, hydrangea, elderberry, and another bundle of hollow twigs of forsythia, bamboo, wild carrot, perennial celery, hogweed, fennel… The first should be placed vertically and the second horizontally.

Once all the hotel rooms have been fitted out, we obviously think of put up a roof to protect the structure from the elements. Slate or a few tiles will do.

It is easy to make an insect hotel with the means at hand. Of course, there are ready-to-use structures on the market or even kits to assemble the nest box in the blink of an eye. But we take even more pleasure in creating one ourselves, why not with the children who will be very proud to have participated in the construction of this natural shelter for auxiliary insects of the garden.

We can thus give free rein to our imagination in terms of design. It is also the opportunity to organize a few walks in the countryside or in the woods in order to glean the different components that will then be used to make this house for small animals whose function is essential to us. An activity as fun as it is useful. We teach the youngest to observe insects, to understand their role and to promote biodiversity by recreating an environment that fully meets the needs of the gardener’s allies whom we wish to invite and keep permanently.

It is mainly in the urban gardens that the insect hotel finds all its meaning because this type of environment does not have as many plant varieties as the countryside. Installing insect shelters is indeed not really essential in a more “wild” place where plants of all kinds thrive in profusion because allies of the garden will find food and shelter there throughout the day. ‘year. Moss, tree trunks, hedges, evergreen shrubs, ivy, bark, piles of stones, old walls are allpotential habitats for insects. But that does not prevent you from installing a specific hotel even if you live in the middle of nature.