If you want to attract bees or particular bugs, you need to know the right material to attract specific insects! Bee or insect hotels are in fact man-made replicas of these insects natural habitats in the wild. They even have their own tiny eco-system. Knowing the right material to attract specific insects is important because you want bugs to come and live in it! The individual compartments of an insect hotel can be flexibly designed so that many insect species can move in.
Protecting ´Good´ from ´Bad´
And once your guests have moved in, you need to protect the ´good´ from the ´bad´ insects! This means protecting insects that are beneficial to your garden from those who eat them destroy their home! Carpenter bees chew their way through wood to make a nesting cavity. Spiders eat insects, birds search for straw or twigs to build their nests, and aggressive wasps eat the brood of other insects.
In their natural habitat, solitary insect species, like solitary bees and wood-boring beetles lay their eggs in wooden cavities. The cycle begins with these insects creating cavities in the wood, and laying their eggs. As the adult leaves or the young ones hatch, they either leave the nesting site, or they are eaten by predators. The cavities then become ´ready-made homes´ where other insects breed.
This article advises you which material is right to attract specific insects, and how to use it:
Materials and their Potential Guests
Potential guests include solitary bees, like mason bees and leaf-cutter bees but also wasps, such as thread-waist wasps.The reed must be smooth with no splinters, so that the delicate wings of the bees do not get damaged.
Log slices or wooden blocks with pre-drilled holes
These can be an alternative to reeds for solitary bees and wasps, however, they can crack which can be harmful to the brood. The slices or blocks are generally made from seasoned hard fruit wood and should have 4-8 mm cavities drilled into the wood from the bark side with 2 cm spacing.
Sticks are among the preferred habitats of ladybugs or ladybirds (Coccinellidae). These little beetles are considered ´good insects´ because they control pests by feeding on the many bugs, including aphids, that eat plants and destroy crops. Ladybirds have yellow blood that has an intense smell, which acts as a repellent to predators.
Their other defense mechanism is their bright red color and black spots. They signal they are dangerous. Predators instinctively avoid special colors and certain markings because they signify poisonous or bad tasting animals.
Bark and Bark Chippings
Beetles, woodlice, centipedes, millipedes, and spiders like bark or bark chippings to raise their brood.
The difference between all other winged bugs and beetles is that their first pair of wings is hardened and thickened. Beetles (Fam. Coleoptera) are excellent decomposers, especially in forests. They prey on populations of ´bad insects´, especially caterpillars that eat plants and destroy crops.
Woodlice (Malacostracaare) are considered ´good bugs´. Their specialized digestive system allows them to eat things that would poison other species. They play a major role in helping to decompose cellulose in wood and paper. They also help break down animal feces, molds and decomposing food scraps and turn it into useful manure.
Centipedes (Lithobius forficatus), another bug that belongs into the ´good bug´catergory, feeds on roaches, moths, flies, silverfish, and termites. Although not exactly one of the prettiest insects, it´s one you certainly want around your house and garden!
Millipedes (Diplopoda) are similar to centipedes but have an extra pair of legs on most of their body segments. Like their centipede cousins from the Myriapoda family, they belong to the ´good bug´ crew and decompose vegetation, putting nutrients back into the soil.
Spiders (Fam. Araneae) eat insects but mostly the unwanted pests you don’t want in your garden, like aphids, roaches, moths, wasps, beetles, mosquitoes, earwigs, and flies. They control the population of these pests and thereby help to alleviate the spread of diseases and destruction of plants and crops.
Centipedes, beetles, and daddy longlegs (Opiliones), a spider also known as harvestmen equally like to put up home in dry leaves.