Close up of a homemade bug hotel

How to build a bug hotel

The summer holidays are a great time to get kids outside and excited about nature. Making a bug hotel out of natural supplies from your garden or local green space is a great way to encourage different insects into your garden and have fun as a family. 


The importance of bug hotels

Far from being damaging, creepy-crawlies can actually help us to create gardens full of thriving plants and wildlife! Did you know that an average garden is home to more than 2,000 different species of insect? 

Bug hotels are a fantastic way to encourage lots of different types of bugs like snails, worms, ladybirds, ants, and spiders into your garden. They can provide these minibeasts with shelter from predators and safe space to raise their young. They can even entice bigger animals such as hedgehogs or birds to pay you a visit. 

Use lots of different types of natural materials including dry leaves and twigs to make a safe and interesting hideaway for lots of different kinds of bugs to enjoy. 


Making your bug hotel

Download your step-by-step instructions here. 

How to build a bug hotel

What you will need:

Collect as many of these natural supplies as you can from the Forest or your other local green spaces. Look for things like:

  • Dry grass
  • Dry leaves
  • Pinecones
  • Bird feathers
  • Dry sticks and twigs
  • The cardboard core of a used toilet or kitchen roll OR old cans
  • Duct tape



1. If you are using an old can, make sure to wear gloves and put duct tape around the edge of it so you don’t cut your fingers or the insects that will come and visit your hotel. 

2. Gently stuff the materials you have found into your recycled can or toilet/kitchen roll core. Use a mixture of everything you have found to provide all sorts of different nooks and crannies, tunnels and cosy beds for your insect visitors to enjoy. 

3. Leave your hotel anywhere around your garden. The best place would be somewhere that is sheltered from the sun because most bugs don’t like the heat. Try playing around with where you leave your bug hotels because you’ll get different visitors depending on where you put it! 

Summer nature activities for kids

Our Tree Nursery Manager Géza and our supported intern Matt had a go at making a bug hotel for themselves, why not watch along with the video as you make yours at home? Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up to date with the other videos we will be posting during the school holidays.

Check out our other suggestions for fun nature activities for kids, from making seed bombs for your garden to going wildflower spotting on your Forest walks.