How to make a bug box

Do it:

Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec

Takes just:

two hours

Make a bug box for insects and give nature a helping hand within your garden. Using easy-to-find scraps of timber, old bamboo canes and old branches, it will cost you very little and provide the perfect habitat for beneficial insects such as spiders, ladybirds, lacewings and solitary bees.

You will need

  • Untreated timber
  • Hollow canes such as bamboo
  • Pieces of branch or other wood
  • Wood saw
  • 2.5cm nails and hammer
  • Drill and wood drill bit, screws
  • Screwdriver and self-tapping screw
  • Roof slate (optional)
  • Roof flashing (optional)
  • Clout nails (optional)
  • Wooden post (optional)
  • Self-tapping screw

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Make a box using untreated timber approximately 2cm thick. You will need two pieces of wood of equal length for the sides and a smaller piece for the base. If you're making a pitched roof you will need a protractor to measure 45° angles. Otherwise make a flat roof the same size as the base. 

Screw the pieces of wood together, leaving the front open. Paint the outside of the box with a weather-proof paint. If making a pitched roof, cut to size pieces of slate or similar material, and screw three holes in each one, where you want to attach it to the wood. Use clout nails to gently fix the slate to the wood. Cover the join at the top with roof flashing.

Cut hollow canes such as bamboo into short lengths to fit in your bug box, sanding off any rough edges. You could also drill holes in pieces of wood or branch, making your holes different sizes to suit different insects. Fit the canes and wood into your box.

Drill a hole into the back or the base of your box and fix it on to a fence or wooden post, using a self-tapping screw.

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Kate Bradbury

Kate Bradbury says

Birds such as tits and woodpeckers readily prey on bug boxes in winter, as they have learned to rely on them for an easy source of food. To prevent such attacks, move your bug box undercover. Ideally it needs to be cold and dry, so an unheated shed or greenhouse is ideal. Don’t forget to pop it back outside in spring.

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