Studying insects can be a fascinating hobby for children and adults alike. Encouraging insects such as bees and ladybirds to take up residence in your garden is also beneficial for your plants and the environment generally. As well as being fun, making and installing your own bug box can be a great activity for you to enjoy with your children.
The DIY self assembly kit comes with pre-cut wooden panels that simply need to be nailed together with the nails provided. The instructions are easy to follow, and the bug box can be constructed quickly. There is a drainage slot in the base plate so that the box stays dry. The roof is attached by a screw rather than nails so that the upper compartment can be filled with twigs, pinecones or straw and checked from time to time. Because the panels are pre-cut to size there is no measuring to get wrong and no risk of cutting a piece to the wrong size. The kit includes sandpaper to ensure a smooth finish to the box and the instructions are illustrated with diagrams to make them easy to understand. Hammer not included.
The back panel of the bug box has 2 fixing holes so that it can be installed on a vertical surface such as a wall or a tree trunk.
The finished bug box weighs 0.9kg and is 23 cm high. It is 13cm wide and 15cm deep.
Once the bug box has been built, you can apply a finish such as paint or a non-toxic water based stain. Because it is manufactured from FSC Certified Exterior Grade European Birch Plywood, it will be very durable. It can be left natural, but if you want to decorate it or extend its life, you can simply apply a light coat of water based wood preservative or paint to it.
Because you can decorate the bug box yourself, you can make it completely unique, with any design you fancy. As long as the products you use to complete the box are non toxic, it will be fine.
The bug box will need to be filled with suitable materials before insects will want to move in, so you will need to find some hollow sticks to fill the lower part. This is so that solitary bees can lay their eggs here. Suitable materials include bamboo, hollow sticks from alder trees or hollow plant stems. Even drinking straws have been successfully used in the past. The sticks should be cut to the right length and placed in the lower compartment with the hollow ends pointing outwards. When solitary bees have laid their eggs in the hollow sticks, they collect mud to seal up the ends.
The upper compartment of the box will need to be filled with materials to keep lacewings and ladybirds dry and protected through their winter hibernation. Materials that provide lots of crevices for them to hide in include twigs, straw and pine cones.
Once you have made and installed your bug box, watch throughout the weeks as the insects move in and make their homes there.