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.

 

.

 

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.

 

 

 

Why should I have a bug house?

Now that you’ve read little about what ‘good’ bugs do for your garden you could be thinking about getting outside and helping them to thrive…maybe you’re even thinking about getting yourself a bug house.

But why have an insect house?

Well, for a start your garden will love you for it. By giving insects like solitary bees, ladybirds, lacewings and butterflies somewhere to rest, nest and shelter you’ll be getting natural pest management and pollinators galore.

Aphids are the gardeners enemy and love to munch on your beloved plants. Encouraging beneficial bugs like ladybirds and lacewings into your garden will help to keep them under control – naturally.

Wildlife friendly garden

Bugs are key to creating a wildlife-friendly garden. The more bugs you have, the more insect loving wildlife you’ll attract too. You could see and increase in hedgehogs, bats and birds like blackbirds, robins, blue tits and wrens  – and add a little water and you could soon see frogs and toads hopping around too.

 

Bug houses give beneficial insects like bees and ladybirds somewhere to rest, nest and shelter.
Insect houses give beneficial bugs somewhere to rest and lay their eggs.

But where do I put my bug box?

Warm and sheltered spots are generally thought to be the best places to hang your insect house. Attach it to a tree or fence post that faces the morning the sun and make sure that rain can’t pour into the bug house.

There’s no exact science (and no guarantee that your bug house will be full of inhabitants within hours of  putting it up) so the best thing to do is to check it after a couple of weeks. If there’s no sign of any beneficial bugs, take a look around and find another warm and sheltered spot to try.

Hang you insect house in a warm and sheltered spot to give beneficial bugs like ladybirds and lacewings somewhere to rest, nest and shelter.
A south facing, sheltered spot is thought to be the best spot for your bug house.

 

If you’ve decided that now is the time to give the beneficial bugs in your garden a brand new home, why not come and see us at one of the craft fairs we’ll be at over the next few months.

We’ve been busy

People keep asking: ” Why bug houses?”

After I built the bug ‘hotel’ I started noticing bee and bug houses in DIY stores and garden centres. The problem I found with them is that they are really quite small, obviously mass produced, pretty sterile looking with very little character (no self-respecting insect would want to be seen in them) …and pretty expensive too!  So I decided to make my own.

I’ve always liked the idea of working with wood so with my t’rusty hand saw, a 10 year old drill, a small electric sander, a few screws and a lot of imagination I set to work to see if I could make something better.

 

I was pretty happy with my first attempt…created from a pallet, with the edge of an old dining table making the perfect roof.

 

 

Next I had a go at transforming an old pub bench that I’d ‘rescued’ from a skip (with permission from the pub)…that went pretty well too. So I made a small insect house out of a scrap piece of wood I found behind the trees, then I filled a couple of small metal watering cans that had been in the shed for ages with bamboo and a pine cone. There’s something really satisfying about making stuff out of materials that you’ve ‘rescued’ from the scrap heap.

 

 

We started sharing our creations on social media and the reaction was brilliant. Everyone who we spoke to loved them…and people even wanted to buy them. So we started making more.

As our bug houses have become more popular we’ve been sourcing wood from anywhere we can get our hands on it. It’s surprising how much scrap wood there is out there when you start looking – and most of it is really good quality too.

 

 

And with the increase in demand we’ve even upgraded the saw…

 

 

We went to our first craft market over Easter and the reaction was really positive…so we’ve signed up for another two.

 

We’re planning to be selling our handmade bug houses at a few craft fairs over the summer – find out where we’ll be by clicking here.

See you soon hopefully.