In this guide we’ll take a look at the best insect hotels for the UK market.
I’ve compared design, material, build quality and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What Is The Best Insect Hotel?
More Detailed Insect Hotel Reviews
This large wooden insect hotel is the best one around because it includes a habitat for every insect going. It’s large enough to create a focal point in a wildlife garden and sturdy enough to last for years.
This top-class bug hotel is made from untreated wood, which is important as insects need natural materials to feel at home, and it’s split into seven sections that each contain a different nesting material.
There are pine cones for ladybirds, wood slits for butterflies and moths, bamboo canes for solitary bees, and loose pieces of wood for any beetles that fancy a new abode.
Overall this insect hotel measures 100cms tall by 62cms wide by 16cms deep and it weighs 14kgs. It’s the best size to size against a wall as it doesn’t protrude too much and you can easily fix it to prevent it toppling over.
A great feature are the feet which keep the main body off the damp ground. You could push bricks against them to keep the bug hotel upright, which would also encourage woodlice and even frogs that enjoy cool stone conditions.
This is the best bug hotel to give as a gift as it’s so smart and ticks all the right boxes when it comes to varied habitats. It comes fully assembled too so there are no worries about fixing it together.
The Woodhouse insect hotel is a well-made and beautifully proportioned bug hotel that looks like a sculpture on your fence.
It measures 37cms by 26cms by 11cms and is so lightweight it will simply fix to a post or fence line with the included fittings. If you prefer, it can free-stand on the grass or a wall.
Four different habitats are included. There’s bamboo and drilled holes in logs for nesting bees, slits in wood for butterflies, pine cones for ladybirds, and assorted loose wood for everything else. The loose pieces are safely behind stapled wire to stop birds and squirrels pulling out your squatters.
It’s a well thought-out and neat insect hotel that can house plenty of insects in a smart compact design.
If you like a neat bit of garden design check out the Heritage insect hotel. This one is so smart and understated it would suit the most modern of gardens.
This bug hotel measures 33cms tall by 27cms wide and 10cms deep. It’s the perfect size to fit on a fence or a tree with the included fittings. In fact, if you’re DIY phobic this is a great buy as it comes ready assembled.
There are four different habitats included in the structure. Bamboo and drilled wood for bees, slits in wood for butterflies, pine cones for ladybirds and lacewings, then loose wood for beetles and anyone else that needs a room for the winter.
The hotel is made from good quality wood and the loose nesting material is safely behind wire with gaps large enough for insects to safely clamber through.
This bug hotel will attract lots of different insects to your garden. If you have fruiting trees this can really boost pollination as bees only have to step outside to get covered in pollen.
This Nature’s Market bee hotel is cheap as chips and has the right nesting materials to attract bees to your garden. Its Scandinavian design looks like a small country cottage.
Overall this bee hotel measures 16cms by 15cms by 15cms so it’s small enough to tuck anywhere you have a gap.
The bamboo stem nesting materials are all different widths to attract various types of solitary bee, and the drilled wood pieces offer another nesting area for our endangered stripy friends.
It’s delivered ready to hang, but I’d recommend you place it with the back against a wall to avoid any wind tunnels. Bees don’t like a chilly home!
Overall this makes a great present for children and wildlife lovers.
This wooden castle bug hotel is a fun way to introduce kids to the wonderful world of insects and bugs.
It’s shaped like an old-time fort complete with turrets, a grand entrance and arrow slits.
There are three cleverly designed habitats incorporated into the build. The bamboo sticks and drilled wood attracts bees, the arrow firing slits are perfect for butterflies, and loose material stashed in the portcullis is heaven for beetles like woodlice and earwigs.
This fun insect hotel can sit on the ground or easily fix to a fence. Its lightweight and sturdy measuring just 32cms tall by 27cms wide and 8cms deep.
Who says you can’t help the natural world and have fun at the same time? What a great way to entertain your kids and instil a love of the environment.
Insect Hotel Buying Guide
Insect hotels are one of the best ways to attract diverse pollinating bugs to your garden.
Here are some tips to help you buy one that will actually attract bugs and keep them happy.
A good solid bug hotel that keeps out drafts and the damp will attract bees and butterflies, ladybirds and lacewings. A damper environment will attract wood-eating insects such as woodlice and earwigs.
Encouraging a range of insects is beneficial for the environment, but make sure they can all access the bug hotel!
Woodlice and earwigs can’t fly to the top but they can creep into lower sections. Bees and butterflies will happily make their way to the dry and warmer top sections without assistance.
You should ensure no preservatives or stains have been used as bugs don’t like them. Also, make sure the nesting materials are not glued into place as these should be refreshed each year.
Multiple Nesting Sections
Reeds, bamboo, and drilled wood in different sizes are good spaces for solitary bees to take shelter and lay their pupae, whereas loose material like dry leaves and straw provide shelter for beetles and spiders.
Slits in wood blocks are a good way to attract butterflies. They might look too small, but butterflies and moths can pull in their wings to slip inside safe from the birds that eat them.
Although multiple sections attract different species of insect, they also make it easy for disease and parasites to spread.
You could consider several smaller houses around your garden to prevent a biological apocalypse, but if that’s too much like hard work you can work on hygiene.
If you prefer to keep all the insects in one large home, hygiene is important. Clean out all the old materials each year and replace them with fresh new supplies.
Leave the old material on the ground for a few days to allow any resident bugs to escape. They’ll probably head straight back into the freshly decorated hotel.
If your bug hotel remains uncleaned for a number of years the insects will move out.
Taking Care of Your Bug Hotel
Keeping hotel nesting materials clean and fresh is important as we’ve already discussed. It stops mites, mould, and disease from dead insects spreading. Always clean out your bug hotel once a year.
Some insect specialists suggest moving your bug hotel into a shed over winter so the inhabitants keep dry and experience steadier temperatures.
This is a good idea because the best bug hotels are not treated with preservatives and will naturally degrade over a few years.
It’s up to you, but if you’ve bought a pricier insect hotel you may want to get a few more years of life from it, just remember to put it back outside in very early spring.
You can also extend a bug hotel’s life by keeping it in a sheltered place away from rain and the prevailing wind. Next to a fence, hedge, or under a tree are all good spots.
Bee hotels benefit from a slate roof with some overhang, but you should avoid covering any insect hotel with plastic sheeting or tarpaulins.
Plastic, whilst dry, increases the temperature and encourages damp. Mould spores can kill insects as they hibernate and it increases the rate of hotel decomposition.
Where to put a bug hotel
If your bug hotel is in the wrong spot you’ve wasted your money and time.
Insects are fussy creatures and so they should be. We wouldn’t think about living in a home that was flooded, baked, or filled with disease and insects feel the same.
Think about the type of bug house you have. If it’s a bee hotel it needs to ‘bee’ on a fence line that’s at least a metre high and in the warming morning sunshine. There should be no vegetation blocking the entrance, and no way for rain to drip or blow inside.
Most other insects prefer a damper environment so choose a sheltered area of your garden – preferably one near an insect-busy area like a hedge or compost heap, fruit tree or wildflower garden.
Near a pond is one of the top spots for an insect house so long as it’s out of the baking sun and strong gusting winds. Siting a large insect house near a pond means you’ll attract amphibians looking for a meal and they may move into a hideaway beneath the structure.
If nothing moves into the insect hotel despite your best efforts try moving it to a more sheltered and damper spot. Plant some wildflowers nearby, leave some old wood to rot down, and allow the grass to grow long. If you’re using pesticides, stop!
You’ll have tenants in no time.
What Bugs Live In A Bug Hotel?
Bugs sit at the bottom of the food chain so attracting them to your hotel sets off a chain reaction of biodiversity.
Insects attract birds, hedgehogs, frogs, grass snakes, and encourages better pollination of your veggies. Bugs are the basis for a healthy garden even if some of them tend to eat our crops!
A bee hotel will attract solitary bees like the mason bee and the leaf cutter, and a butterfly hotel will attract overwintering species such as brimstone, comma and red admirals.
Loose dry leaves, pine cones, wood, straw, damp wood, and stones attract a different kind of insect.
These include ladybirds, lacewings, hoverflies, moths, spiders, woodlice, beetles, earwigs, centipedes, millipedes, shield bugs, and all their larvae.
You can encourage all types of insect with plants like buddleia, lavender, campanula, dandelion, hellebore, sedum, jasmine, honeysuckle, erica, and mahonia. Dead wood piles and long grass are other sure-fire ways to bring in the beetles.
When Should I Buy A Bug House?
Insects tend to think about hibernation during the autumn months but any time of year is a good time to make a bug hotel.
Insects always need shelter and protection from the elements and predators. If they aren’t moving in right away some time outside will allow the insect hotel to weather down a little.
It’s A Bug’s Life
Buying or building an insect hotel is the first step to creating an environmentally friendly garden.
Insect hotels are good for the environment and they provide hours of pleasure. If you have children or grandchildren the opportunity to watch nature going about its business is a valuable life lesson.
Not only does interacting with bugs prevent children (and adults!) becoming afraid of creepy crawlies, it also shows them how nature works and why bugs are so important.
That’s certainly something all children need to safeguard a healthy future environment.