Small bug homes

Activity

Create a cosy home for friendly ladybirds and bugs to place on your balcony or in your garden.

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors & Indoors
  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Science, Art&DT

Learning objectives

  • Learn about native wildlife and insects and their habitats
  • Care for the environment and help boost biodiversity
  • Learn about recycling in the garden

Preparation

Think about which insect you are looking to attract with your bug home. Try to find out more about them and where they usually hibernate.

Wash your chosen container in warm soapy water and dry thoroughly before making your bug home.

Equipment

  • 2 litre plastic milk bottle or 750ml plastic drinks bottle
  • Permanent markers
  • A newspaper or several sheets of corrugated cardboard 
  • Scissors 
  • Optional: string
  • Optional: waterproof tape 

Step by step

  1. Using a permanent marker, draw a line around the circumference (width) of the bottle, equidistant from the top and bottom.
  2. Carefully cut along the line (an adult may need to help with this) so that the bottle is now in two evenly sized pieces, perfect to make two bug homes.
  3. Take the newspaper or cardboard and cut long strips that are about 5mm shorter than the pieces of your bottle. Tightly roll the strips into tubes, ensuring there is a hole in the centre of them, around 4mm in diameter. 
  4. Pack the tubes into each half of the bottle, as tightly as possible so that they won’t fall out. You might find it easier to keep the lid on the top half. Ensure the hollow ends are facing outwards and will be protected from rain.
  5. Decorate the outside of the bug homes using permanent markers.
  6. If you are choosing to hang your bug home, add string either by making holes in the home and threading it through or by attaching with waterproof tape.
  7. Place/hang the bug home in a warm spot. Bug homes should sit almost horizontally but with the open end slightly lower to prevent water from getting inside. 
  8. Now wait to see how comes to visit!

Hints & tips

  • Insects need somewhere to hibernate during the winter so it is best to place bug homes outside in the early autumn.
  • Bug homes are best placed no higher than 1m above the ground where possible. The best places to put them are in a tree, bush, at the base of a tree and most importantly in a quiet place. They can also go on a balcony, if you're not too high up, but try and have them tucked away so they're cosier for the bugs.
  • Alternative recycled vessels for a bug home could be a small, plastic plant pot, a piece of plastic pipe, or a used takeaway coffee cup.
  • If you have a surplus of garden bamboo canes, these can be used inside the homes too. Just ensure the whole length is hollow so the bugs can get in.

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Winner of the Drum Marketing Awards 2017
Winner of the ERA 2017 awards
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