Create a wonderful insect habitat

Sunflower Suzie
Did you know that there are insects that can not only help keep unwanted pests from your plants and garden, but can help you avoid using pesticides, too? You can recruit these insects to “patrol” your plants and create a delightful habitat for your new workers…

Provide a home for beneficial insects that can pollinate your herbs, veggies, and flowers and create something useful and attractive at the same time! Insect homes/habitats/hotels are easy to make from all kinds of recycled materials and things you can find in the garage (scraps of wood) or garden (bark, seed pods, sticks, pine cones, and moss). Your “bug barn” will provide shelter year ‘round and give you an excellent observation station to watch these “beneficial bugs” up close.

Different insects have unique types of home requirement, so be sure to incorporate a variety of natural materials. Common guests include wasps, dragonflies, lacewings, ladybugs, moths, spiders and a variety of bees… and maybe even some frogs. Your home building project can be as simple or as elaborate as you have time and materials to create. Be creative! Let your imagination loose! Find a good location so that your new “residents” will easily find their home, where you and your family can easily observe the critters that move in. If you attract a group of bees, however, be sure to move slowly around the habitat so you can avoid getting stung by guests defending their new home!

After you create your own insect home, you’ll probably have some materials left over. Make some for gifts for other gardeners…they will appreciate this great way to reduce, reuse, recycle! This is also a GREAT project for scouting groups or family gatherings!

To help you get creative, see “Can Kids” Help Save Water?”, an activity book provided by SaveWaterTexas.org that has some great “how to” tips for a variety of different home “styles”.