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There’s bees in them houses

Back in August 2017 an email dropped into our mailbox inviting us to an open day at a local nature reserve. Ian Barrie, the chair of the Friends of Eardington Nature Reserve (FNER) had seen our stall at Bridgnorth Handmade Market and was suitably impressed enough with our handmade bee hotels and bug houses that he wanted to offer the invitation. We gladly accepted and added it to our growing list of events.

Ian was in the process of applying for funding to create a solitary bee village at the reserve and, as well as attending the open day, he asked us if we could build 12 bee hotels to add to the mix. We’d only starting building bug houses a couple of months earlier and were dead chuffed to be asked to be part of the creation of an actual bee village!

A few weeks later, the funding was in place and we got to work… under the watchful eye of our little friend.

The bee hotel frames were built from recycled hardwood off-cuts (supplied by Ian) and were filled with blocks of drilled hard wood and bamboo.

We delivered the bee hotels soon after and over the next couple of months, we got regular updates from Ian, and as springtime slowly started to appear we began looking forward to seeing our bee hotels in position.

On June 3, 2018 we turned up at ENR with our stall and travelling bug house building workshop and were absolutely in awe of the work that had taken place to create a vibrant bee village, full of many different species including the Plasterer bee, Ivy Bee, Red Mason bee and Ashley Mining bee

There were mounds created specifically for burrowing bees, bee posts, recycled washing machine drums, and our very own bee hotels – each one sitting, pride of place, on their own fence post.

It was brilliant to see that many of them were being used by the solitary bees at the reserve. You can tell when you have Red Mason bees nesting in your bee hotel when the holes are sealed with mud.

The female bee packs pollen (and a little nectar) into cells and lays an egg on top of this food pile. She then creates a mud wall to seal the chamber and moves on to the next one until the whole tube is full and, as you can see from the pictures, the bees at the reserve have been busy!

This was enough to make our day at ENR a brilliant one… but as the day went on, things just kept getting better.

Workshop

It was great to have conversations with people who were really interested (and very knowledgeable) about wildlife in general and specifically solitary bees. And it was particularly pleasing to see the amount of children who wanted to learn more.

This was the second workshop that we’d run (you can read about the first one here ) and it was brilliant to see everyone getting involved in building bug houses to take home, and some to leave to create ENR’s very own community bug hotel.

 

 

Everyone was having such a good time, we couldn’t help but add our own little creations too…

If you’d like us to come along and run a workshop at your event, please get in touch – we’d love to share our knowledge and encourage more people to learn about the wonderful world of bugs.

Summertime Gift Market

Following the success of our Springtime Gift Market we’re doing it all again.

Despite the best efforts of the Beast from the East and Storm Emma our event in March this year proved to be a big hit with shoppers and traders alike. So much so that many of the stall holders are coming back at the end of July – hopefully without the snow this time!

There’ll be a good selection stalls (indoors and outside) – offering a bit of something for everyone. And because we’re hosting the event at The Claregate Pub, you can also grab yourself a drink and bite to eat in-between browsing the stalls.

It’s not just about buying stuff though – we’ve got the fabulous Greyhound Trust coming along with some of the hounds. The RSPB will be there too with their interactive stand, consisting of giant bug hotels, hedgehog homes and wildlife magazines for children and their families.

Here’s a taste of who is coming:

If Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland are your thing, you’ve got to come and say hello to Tommy’s Treasures and have a look at their official Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland merchandise.

 

 

Misgraceful Jewels and Scarves will be us joining with her beautiful fashion jewellery and scarves…perfect for gifts or just to treat yourself.

 

If you’re looking for something a bit different for your children’s party, come and say hello to Peggy’s Party Boxes.

 

Come and grab some pick ‘n mix from Jadez Jems and see what other goodies they have on offer too.

All About Accessories will also be joining us with their fashion handbags.

 

The extremely talented Animal sketches and portraits will be here again. Available for personalsed commissions he’ll also have a a selection of prints for sale.

 

Scented Harmony – Gorgeous ‘smellies’ including bath bombs, handmade soaps, oil burners, melts and granules.

 

Come and find out more about the RSPB and get involved in some of the activities at their interactive stand, consisting of giant bug hotels, hedgehog homes and wildlife magazines for children and their families.

 

Say hello to the hounds and find out more about the fantastic work the Greyhound Trust does.

 

Dream Dayz will be outside showing off their chainsaw carved fairy houses, owls and toadstools.

…and we’ll be there too (obviously) with Homes for Bugs – Handmade bee, butterfly and ladybird houses and our fairy doors and accessories.
Handmade bug houses, garden signs and fairy garden accessories
Our handmade bug houses come in all shapes and sizes and offer solitary bees, ladybirds, lacewings and butterflies somewhere safe to rest, nest and shelter.
Our handmade fairy doors, tables and chairs are perfect for any fairy garden.
Our new range of butterfly houses are proving to be pretty popular.
Come and say hello, we’d love to see you.
As you can see, we’ve got a great selection of stalls lined up and we hope you’ll come along and enjoy a lovely afternoon with us.
Please like and share the event of Facebook by clicking here to help spread the word.
Looking forward to seeing you there hopefully.

 

Watch out, fairies about!

Our handmade insect houses are going from strength to strength as our reputation for building unique homes from reclaimed wood grows. But, as any growing business knows, you need to diversify and continue to add new ideas to appeal to different audiences.

A friend of ours has a huge talent when it comes to creating  gorgeous handmade fairy doors. We’ve added a few of these to our bug houses which have proved really popular with all ages.

The interest that our fairy door bug houses have generated sparked Tracy, my wife, to indulge her love of all things fairy by trying her hand at making essential accessories that no self-respecting fairy should be without.

As I was building Christmas bug house orders in the December sunshine, Tracy was perfecting the art of making tiny fairy bikes, stepping stones and the cutest table and toadstool themed chairs. She used to make her own jewellery and has always been really creative so it was no surprise that she perfected the art in no time… but that’s not to say that I wasn’t massively impressed by what she’d created.

It’s not just me that’s impressed either. We took the newly made fairy stepping stones, tables, chairs and bikes to a Christmas event at Northycote Farm in Wolverhampton on 3 December… and they went down a storm! And since sharing the pictures on social media, we’ve been inundated with orders from people wanting to treat their fairies to some handmade goodies.

Recycling wood to build handmade bug houses for beneficial insects will always be at the core of what we do, but now that we’re moving into the world of fairies who knows what will be next on the agenda. Watch this space to find out.

Our online shop will be coming soon, but in the meantime please get in touch if you’d like to have a chat about ordering your handmade fairy garden essentials, or one of our individually designed bug houses.

 

 

 

Bug houses come in all shapes and sizes

 

We’ve been working hard over the summer, rescuing wood and using it to build handmade bug houses that cater for all tastes.

Our ‘ugly’ range have proved really popular with gardeners and allotment owners who want practical bug houses where bees, ladybirds and lacewings will nest. Although some of the wood used in building these insect houses is rotting in parts, the frames are solid – and provide good, essential shelter for the nesting insects.

Not ugly, but certainly not for the faint-hearted, our scary range of bug houses have caused quite a stir over the last few weeks. The coffins are packed with pine cones, twigs and leaf litter and make the perfect place for ladybirds to spend the winter. Our haunted houses are strictly for bugs only – full of holes for solitary bees to nest in and loads of nooks and crannies that offer other beneficial insects plenty of safe places to rest, nest and shelter in.

One of our most popular ranges is the good old Tudor style bug house, with many people buying them as birthday and Father’s Day presents, house warming gifts and, more recently, the more organised have been buying them as Christmas presents.

Neck and neck with the Tudors is our Balamory style range of bee and ladybird houses. Especially popular with children, we’ve designed and built various different styles – all of which have gone down a storm with our customers (and the odd gnome or two).

And our latest addition of handmade bug houses are already proving to be really popular with all ages. Our fairy bug houses make the perfect home for beneficial insects such as solitary bees and ladybirds – not forgetting your garden fairies.

We’ve had loads of fun over the last few months and are looking forward to seeing our handmade bug houses find plenty more new homes very soon. We’ll be at a number of craft fairs and markets showing off our designs between now and Christmas and we’d love to see you. Take a look at our online calendar to find out where we’ll be, and come say hello.

We’ve also started taking orders for Christmas so if you’d like a custom-made bug house, please get in touch for a chat. We only use reclaimed wood to build our insect houses so it’s guaranteed that no two are ever the same – meaning that you (and your bugs) will be receiving a totally unique, one-of-a-kind home.

To have a chat, or to order your very own handmade bug house please email me at steve@homesforbugs.co.uk

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Before you go, come and have a look at our ‘About Us‘ page to find why Homes for Bugs was born.

 

You’ve inspired us

We love rescuing wood and making lovely new bug houses out of it. Over the last few months we’ve been making and selling loads of different designs at craft fairs and markets right across the Midlands and have just secured a regular spot at Bridgnorth Sunday Handmade market.

It’s really great that people like what we do, and the feedback we get about our handmade bug houses is always really positive. But we’re not just about making and selling.

A short while ago we were invited to get involved in a community day at a local allotment where we hosted a really successful bug house making workshop (you can read all about it here).

During the day we met loads of lovely people but one family in particular have kept in touch with us since the open day – sharing their brilliant bug house creations that were inspired by our workshop.

As you can see from the fab photos below, Tabitha and Harriet have been having a great time making some fantastic new homes for the bugs in their garden.

These brilliant photos were sent to us by Charley, Tabitha and Harriet’s mum and when we asked why they were so interested she said:

“The kids love making them and I can see that our garden is going to be full of them!

“We are building them because we love bugs and nature and we love and respect all animals. I think it’s really important for children to grow up respecting other people and animals.

“Hopefully the world will continue to be a diverse place full of different species if we show our children how to live respectfully. We need a future full of caring people who will look after the planet and then teach their children how to do the same.”

And it doesn’t end there. Dad, Pete (Mr Bodger to his students) ran a summer school bug house making workshop of his own and shared the results with us on Twitter. Watch the video below…

It’s brilliant knowing that we’re inspiring others to make homes for the insects in our gardens… long may it continue.

 

If you’ve been busy making your very own homes for bugs, we’d love see what you’ve been up to. Come and say hello on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and share your pictures with us.

We’ve got the workshop bug

 

When we made our first bug house back in March we never for a second imagined that we’d be running interactive workshops just a few months later. But that’s exactly what we were doing at the weekend… and what a fantastic day it was too.

I recently approached Creative Wolverhampton to let them know a little bit about Homes for Bugs and they kindly helped to promote us via their Facebook page. In the meantime we were contacted by Moya, one of the admins on the page who asked if we’d be interested in getting involved in an open day at Boundary Way Allotments and Community Garden in Warstones, Wolverhampton.

It wasn’t something we’d thought about…we’ve been happily making and selling our bug houses to friends, family and at craft fairs – and workshops just weren’t on the agenda. But once the invitation was there we couldn’t wait to give it a go. So we got to work on building some bug boxes out of scraps of wood we had lying around. The idea was to show that you can use any old bits of wood to create something that insects would love to call home.

We ended up with 24 empty boxes and all we needed then was the ‘filling’ to help the bugs feel really at home. We cut some wood to size and drilled holes to give solitary bees somewhere to nest. We then filled a box full of pine cones, twigs, leaves and bamboo…and we were ready to build.

We really weren’t sure how it would go but it didn’t take long for us to realise that the day would be a success. As the open day was in a community garden we thought it would be a great idea to use any individual ‘rooms’ created during the workshop to build a bug hotel. The idea being that this would encourage people to come back and check on it to see what insects have moved in…they could even add more rooms to the hotel over time.

Everyone really enjoyed thinking about what types of insects would use the holes, nooks and crannies and it was really interesting to see the different designs that people came up with. As we don’t use any glue in our bug houses, I explained that part of the challenge was to create an insect ‘room’ that was tightly packed enough so the filling didn’t fall out, but loose enough to allow insects to enjoy their new home. The challenge was gladly accepted as you can see from the pictures below.

 

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The designs were fantastic, and as you can see from their faces, everyone had a really good time creating some fabulous new homes for bugs.

 

 

It was brilliant to watch the bug hotel grow throughout the day and really lovely to see everyone who got involved being more than happy to add their ‘room’ to it.

 

 

The day was such a success that we’ve now been well and truly bitten by the workshop ‘bug’ and we’re looking forward to our next one already.

If you’re planning an event that you think we could add something to, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

We’ve gone ‘international’

Since making our first bug house back in March this year, it’s fair to say that things have gone a little bit crazy.

We started by using up any bits of scrap timber we could find but demand has grown so much that we’re now constantly on the look out for wood to rescue and turn into fab new homes for those all important garden insects.

Our latest finds include a load of garden decking and some old fencing that were destined for the tip.

 

Here are just a few of the bug houses we’ve made from the wood in the pictures above:

 

Most of our sales have been made at craft fairs and through friends and family but we’ve also had a fair number of orders come through our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts and as the word is spreading, demand is increasing.

Scotland

Just recently two of our bug houses were bought as gifts and we were asked to send them out by post – using MyHermes courier service they were sent off to their new home…in Scotland. Much to the delight of their new owners Alex and Summer.

We’ve got to be honest, we’re a little jealous of the location our bug houses have found themselves in – such a lovely setting.

We hope the bugs in Scotland realise how lucky they are to be the first to have one our individually designed Homes for Bugs outside of England!

Come take a look at some more of our customer photos in the gallery – maybe you’ll be inspired to get your very own bug house.

BugVille

What do you do if you rescue some wood from the garden of a terraced house?

Well, for us there was only one thing to do – build a little village of terraced bug houses.

The lengths of triangle timber that we’d picked up during a visit to my daughter’s new home were perfect for insect roofs. And with the help of the mitre saw, they were soon waiting to be fitted to their new homes (complete with chimneys made of twigs).

As well as the triangle lengths, we’d also rescued some old scaffolding planks that we cut down to various sizes to create the walls of the terraced bug houses.

We screwed these to the roofs and cut another plank to size to create the base for the houses to stand on.

Then it was just a case of adding the backs and a couple of small pieces of wood to separate the floors. We then filled the bug houses with bamboo, twigs and pine cones creating plenty of nooks and crannies for bees, ladybirds and any other bugs that would like to make these lovely little houses their home.

We loved the first design so much, we decided to create a little village of terraced bug houses – we’d love to hear what you think of them.

 

If you’d like to see our bug houses in the flesh why not come and say hello at one of the craft fairs we’ll be at over the next few months.

Click here to find out where we’ll be – we’d love to see you.

What do bugs do for my garden?

Insects play such an important part in keeping our gardens healthy.

Since we started making bug houses, one of the most common questions we get asked is: “Why do I want bugs in my garden?” Well, many bugs help our plants to grow by pollinating them, these beneficial insects keep the soil healthy and they naturally control garden pests that feed on our favourite plants.

Whether it’s bees and butterflies pollinating our flowers, fruit and vegetables or ladybirds and lacewings keeping the aphid population under control, beneficial bugs are crucial to keeping your garden healthy.

Beneficial insects help to pollinate your plants and control garden pests naturally
Beneficial insects like bees and ladybirds are really good for your garden.

But which insects are the good ones? you can see from the great infographic below that bees, ladybirds, spiders, lacewings. earwigs, ground beetles and ants are ‘helpful’ bugs and should be encouraged into our gardens.

Insects That Benefit The Garden
Source: Fix.com Blog

How can I attract more bugs into my garden?

Now you know how good bugs are for your garden you’re probably wondering how to attract more of them.

Many gardens now are so well kept that beneficial insects are finding harder to find natural spaces to rest, nest and shelter. A few simple changes can really help them.

Make a log pile to attract beetles and ladybirds and create pond to lure dragonflies, water beetles and pond skates. Piles of rocks or upside down flower pots make great homes for ground beetle, centipedes and spiders and if you grow a wide variety of flowers you’ll have a really good chance of attracting bees, butterflies, lacewings and hover flies.

If possible, leave an area of your garden to grow ‘wild’. This will encourage bugs (and other wildlife) to visit your garden.

Attract more beneficial bugs to your garden by creating a pond, making a log pile, growing flowers and letting an area grow wild to give year round shelter.
Attract insects by growing flowers, creating a pond or letting an area of your garden grow wild.

As you can see, it’s good to encourage beneficial insects to make your garden their home. If you’re still in two minds, take a look here to find out why you should have a bug house.