The insect hotel finds its place in all gardens, in the vegetable garden, in the orchard and in the 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 reproduce there. By installing an insect nest box, we fight without any chemical treatment against undesirables, harmful species that devastate plantations, but we also promote pollination. It remains to know where to install an insect hotel and how to install it so that the useful little animals take up residence there. That’s what we’re going to see.
Where to install an insect hotel?
If you 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 that inevitably results from the various activities of family members and pets. Reserving the insect hotel in a remote corner is therefore a good idea. But we must also take care to direct it well since it must be:
- Sheltered from prevailing winds,
- sheltered from the cold,
- Oriented South/South-East to be bathed in light and warmed by the sun’s rays.
Find the perfect place for insect nest box, it’s good. But it must also be kept ready at the right time to encourage the installation of small animals in their nest box. 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 is also a good season to install an insect hotel because it is already hot there and these little beasts are in full swing.
Finally, the gardener must always think about the comfort of its guests in all seasons. They must feel good in their nest box even in winter. In order for them to resist 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 access.
It is equally fundamental to plant all around the structure of the bee plants whose flowers will not fail to attract pollinating insects like a flower meadow for example.
Note also that any insect hotel must be installed off the ground. To keep it up, you can simply make legs with wooden cleats or iron stakes. It is important to place the different rooms of this shelter for garden allies at different heights.
How to install an insect hotel in the garden?
The insect hotel can be set up in different ways. Each gardener has the possibility to select his tenants according to the desired purpose. It all depends on what he grows. First of all, he must ask himself about the specific parasites that he wishes to keep away from his garden and encourage the installation of useful little animals which, by playing their role of predatorswill allow him to naturally fight against undesirables.
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 distinctive guests in order to attract them. It is the best solution for carrying out targeted and effective biological control depending on the vegetables, fruits and decorative plants that are grown. Here is an example of a basic refuge for friendly insects.
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 eats a hundred aphids.
A ladybug shelter that one wishes to install in an insect hotel must be made up 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 good weather comes, they can rid the crops of Colorado beetles, aphids, scale insects or even whiteflies, young caterpillars and mites. The lacewing larvae feed on them in the spring.
A cardboard box filled with crumpled kraft paper helps protect adult lacewings during the winter. We make a few holes in the box which we keep closed with raffia.
A hotel for mason bees
Ces wild bees are called the osmies. We attract them by reserving a room in the insect hotel just for them with hollow bricks. Care is taken to seal the cells beforehand with a mixture 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, the osmia will ensure pollination by transporting the pollen under their feet.
A shelter for the micro-wasp
This lone wasp feeds its larvae with many pests that it hunts, such as mole crickets, grubs and caterpillars. All you have to do is set up a refuge for it between 60 and 200 cm from the ground, with a bassoon consisting of sections 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 former are to be placed vertically and the latter horizontally.
Once all the rooms in the hotel have been fitted out, we obviously think of put up a roof to protect the structure from the weather. Slate or a few tiles will do.
It is easy to build an insect hotel with the means at hand. Admittedly, there are ready-to-use structures on the market or even kits allowing the birdhouse to be assembled 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 in the garden.
You can thus give free rein to your imagination in terms of design. It is also an opportunity to organize a few walks in the countryside or in the woods in order to glean the different components which 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. In this way, we teach the youngest to observe the insectsto understand their role and to promote biodiversity by recreating an environment that responds in all respects to the needs of the allies of the gardener whom we wish to invite and maintain.
It is mainly in the urban gardens that the insect hotel finds its full meaning because this type of environment does not have as many plant varieties as the countryside. Installing insect shelters is not really essential in a more “wild” place where plants of all kinds grow in profusion because the garden’s allies find food and shelter there throughout the season. ‘year. Moss, tree trunks, quickset hedges, evergreen shrubs, ivy, bark, heaps 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.