With its living succulent roof, this attractive insect house has lots of different rooms to encourage helpful, beneficial insects likes bees, ladybugs, and lacewings to seek shelter in your garden.
TIME IT RIGHT Make your insect house from spring to early fall, when the plants for the green roof will be actively growing so they can root in, and before insects start looking for places to hibernate.
FOR THE INSECT ROOMS bamboo poles & pruning shears small logs & electric drill & drill bits bark & sticks pinecones
corrugated cardboard terra-cotta pots woodland moss
Jovibarba hirta Sedum album Sedum dasyphyllum Sedum hirsutum Sedum sexangulare Sedum spurium ‘Variegatum’ Sempervivum arachnoideum ‘Hookeri’
The insect house is made out of a single-bottle wooden wine box. Remove the lid and then paint the box; you could also apply marine varnish to protect it further.
Take the lid and measure 2 roof pieces 8in (20cm) long. Divide the rest in half diagonally to form 2 triangular pieces for the sides. Cut out with a handsaw.
4 Glue the main roof pieces in a pitched shape using a strong outdoor adhesive. Glue on the triangular side pieces flush with the roof edge. Glue the beading around the edges. Paint the roof and leave to dry. Apply a layer of marine varnish, if using.
3To provide waterproofing for the green roof, line it with some pond liner (you could also use a heavy-duty black garbage bag). Using a sharp utility knife, cut it so that it lines the exposed roof and also comes up the sides of the beading, then trim off any excess and glue in place.
6 Now add a piece of capillary matting on top. This provides wicking for the plants, holding moisture so that the water doesn’t all run off. Cut the matting to size with scissors; it doesn’t need to cover the beading.
8 Collect items for the insect rooms. Cut pieces of bamboo pole to the depth of the box with pruning shears and drill holes into the end of a log to create homes for solitary bees. Bark, pinecones, and sticks provide habitats for beetles, centipedes, ladybugs, spiders, and pill bugs. Rolled up corrugated cardboard or stacked terra-cotta pots are ideal homes for pill bugs.
Little crevices are perfect places for insects to hibernate
General care The
doesn’t need watering, apart from occasionally at the start while plants are establishing, and doesn’t need feeding; it will grow quite well without too much attention. Just cut off spent flower stalks and dead leaves every now and then. You can leave your insect house outside all year round, but if the winter is very wet, move it somewhere more sheltered from downpours. Leave the insect rooms to settle and be inhabited by your beneficial friends, adding more materials occasionally as needed.
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