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Make a 'Bug Hilton' (Beneficial Insect Habitat)

Beneficial insects, or as I call them the good guys, play a very important role in any organic garden, maintaining the natural balance. Beneficial insects include many wasps, ladybirds, lacewings, damselflies, hover flies and different types of bees. Unfortunately like many organisms beneficial insects are under threat from pesticides, spreading suburbia and agriculture. Providing a secure haven in your garden allows these good guys an excuse to make your garden their permanent home. These sorts of insects seem to prefer individual tunnels to either lay eggs or hibernate in during the winter months. Remember you also need to provide a food source of flowers, shrubs and pests.

A simple beneficial insect apartment can be made out of any recycled material, including bamboo, timber, straw, staked branches and tiles. An ideal apartment should be at least 15 cm in diameter and around 50cm high off the ground. I used some dry firewood and drilled random entrance holes around 8 cm deep. I drilled these holes with a slight incline to avoid them filling with rainwater. Bamboo cut into lengths also make good tunnels. Twigs or fibrous material can be lightly packed into any spaces. The most preferred tunnel sizes seem to be 4 mm or 9 mm in diameter and 8 to 10 mm deep.

Even if you don’t do much in the way of gardening, there should be room for at least one beneficial insect apartment in your garden. They take up hardly any space at all and are a great family project to enjoy making with the kids, not to mention a conversation starter with adult visitors.

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