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 and lacewings.


If you want to make a nesting habitat for solitary bees, follow our guide to making a bee hotel

You Will Need

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

Total time: 2 hours

Step 1

Making a box
Making a box

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.

Step 2

Screwing the wood together
Screwing the wood together

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.

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Step 3

Adding the bamboo canes
Adding the bamboo canes

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.

Step 4


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.

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.
Kate Bradbury