The Benefits of Having an Insect Hotel

March 13, 2024

Thinking about adding an insect hotel to your garden this spring? There are numerous benefits to keeping an insect hotel and helping your native pollinators.

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Insect hotel featuring sections for bees, butterflies, and ladybugs on metal pole.

I never thought I’d be the type of girl who gets excited to see bugs – no matter how beneficial – in our yard.   But one of my favorite things to do during the warmer months is observe how the bees and other insects work in the garden.

I love to watch the bees and butterflies fly from flower to flower collecting and transferring pollen.  I get happy when I see an abundance of earthworms in our soil.  And whenever I spot a ladybug, she promptly gets escorted to our vegetable patch.

Bee on purple salvia stem.

So when we decided to extend our garden late last summer, one of the first things I did was plant pollinator flowers.  Once I saw the bees enjoying the new plants, I knew we needed to get a bee house.

Once we started planning our garden for this season, I decided to add an insect hotel to the other side of the garden.  Now, we have a bee house on one side of the garden and an insect hotel on the other side.

Wooden bee hotel on metal stand in backyard garden.

Difference Between a Bee House and Insect Hotel

Are you wondering what the difference is between a bee house and an insect hotel?  It’s quite simple.  Bee houses are wooden structures made with hollow nesting structures.  Native bees will use the house to lay eggs and seal the holes with mud.  They’ll also use the house for shelter.

The insect hotel is basically the same concept, but usually provides shelter for multiple types of insects.  The structure includes different sections for bees, butterflies, ladybugs, and more.

Bee houses and insect hotels should be placed on a solid structure, in a spot that gets some sun throughout the day.  A garden space is best since this is where your pollinators will usually hang out.  These houses are kept in the shed during the winter and set out in early spring.

Black swallowtail butterfly on purple salvia stem.

The Benefits of Having an Insect Hotel

There are many benefits to adding an insect hotel to your backyard.  They’re a win-win for gardeners and the insects that use them for nesting and shelter.

  • Obviously, the first benefit of having an insect hotel is that they attract pollinators.  Not only do pollinators help our plants thrive, but many beneficial insects provide natural pest control (ladybugs will devour aphids).
  • Bug hotels and bee houses are a great way to teach kids about beneficial insects and conservation.  It gives us a better understanding about insects and how they work, live, and reproduce.  You might even end up like me – happy to see many of our winged friends buzzing around the yard!
  • We often hear about the decline of bees.  A bee house can help the bee population by providing a space where they can live and lay eggs.  Make sure to provide native plants for them to feed on close to the bee house.
  • Some species of butterflies hibernate throughout the winter.  An insect hotel can provide adequate shelter for butterflies during hibernation.
  • These houses are low maintenance.  Once installed, they only really need to be checked for any rotting or moldy pieces that need to be replaced.  Once the bees have hatched, you can clean out the hollow tubes by brushing them clean with a pipe cleaner.

You can find many different insect hotels at garden centers and on Amazon.  Keep your choice simple and as natural as possible, place the hotel in a sunny spot close to food sources, and you should have success attracting pollinators to your insect hotel.

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