Mother Earth Gardener

5-Star Bug Hotel

A bug hotel is part garden art and part winter habitat for beneficial insects. These decorative displays of plant material are intended to provide shelter to overwintering insects, allowing them safety and comfort in your garden. Setting up different protected areas in your bug hotel will let the bugs find a room that suits them best.

Some of the beneficial insects that you can expect to take up residence in your new bug hotel include bees, ladybugs, beetles, spiders, and lacewings, among others.


  • 1-by-6 cedar board, 4 feet long and cut as follows:

            Top: 5-1/2 inches square

            Bottom: 5-1/2 inches square

            Back: 5-1/2 inches by 12 inches

            Left panel: 4-3/4 inches by 12 inches

            Right panel: 4-3/4 inches by 12 inches

  • Saw (optional)
  • 16 wood screws, 1-1/2-inch
  • Drill
  • Bamboo pieces, stems, twigs, seed heads, pinecones, wood shavings, lichens
  • Hanging hardware


Step 1 — Using a saw, cut the cedar board to the dimensions listed above, or have the pieces cut at your local hardware store.

Step 2 — Dry fit the wood pieces together to form the body of the hotel. Drill pilot holes at the corners, and screw the panels together.

Step 3 — Arrange the plant materials within the wooden hotel. Group similar materials together and add some of the firmer items — such as twigs or bamboo — first. Fill in the empty spaces with different shapes and sizes of material, as if you were completing a puzzle. Nestle the materials into the spaces until they’re all firmly positioned, held in place by the pressure of packing the box full. There will still be plenty of room for bugs to move into the cracks, crevices, and holes.

Step 4 — Affix hanging hardware to the back of the bug hotel.

Step 5 — Hang it in an area of your garden that’s near where you’d like to see beneficial insects next season.

From Garden Made by Stephanie Rose and reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books.

  • Published on Feb 22, 2019
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