Those who practice natural agriculture know how important it is to maintain the biodiversity that characterizes the natural spaces of your garden. Diversity in this sense is synonymous with stability: the presence of many elements translates into multiple resources in the face of the unexpected.
Among these resources, insects play an important role, which can be useful for the balance of gardens and help crops as pollinators and predators of other pests. Therefore, the grower should take care of them and try to attract them to the garden. yes
I remember placing plants, especially flowers, between crops. To invite them to stay, we can also decide to build a Bug Hotel, or a small house to house them.
Biodiversity: defend against insects with insects
Beneficial insects are, as they say, a great resource to reintroduce into the garden. To tell this story I start from my experience in horticulture last year. In the mountainous region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, where I live, there was a huge insect infestation last summer. These insects have caused significant damage to all crops, including my small vegetable garden.
I noticed two main things. The first is that bugs focus on certain plant species, even very intensely, doing great damage, but less on others. In my case, the green bean and potato crops were almost completely lost, but the others were largely preserved (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, corn and radicchio). This shows once again how important it is to diversify the culture.
The other thing that shocked me was what the wasps were doing. In my garden there are a lot of them, in the morning after irrigating the garden, I found a lot of them flying. They were clearly there to drink, but I noticed they were greedy for little critters – sometimes they would run over a critter, grab it and fly away with it. Wasps were an unexpected ally in last year’s fight which I fought alone, with a bucket, going to remove the vermin manually in the morning.
This story to say that insects can be the cause of certain problems in the garden but also the solution. The important thing is that there are several types of insects, so none can prevail. Some people are repelled by insects and may find this method disgusting. I feel sorry for them, but this is a problem that those who want to do natural farming have to overcome.
How to build the Bug Hotel
Let’s see how to build a "Bug Hotel" for the natural garden, the home of beneficial insects. I believe that in a good natural agricultural system, there is no need to build it: the insects can take care of themselves and can live in hedges, bushes or in many other refuges already present in the environment. When the garden is in town or in any case in areas where man has greatly transformed (and unfortunately cemented) the landscape, insects may have more difficulty and decide to emigrate. In these cases, our little house could be an incentive to stay.
In any case, it is always interesting to experiment and I am interested in observing the effectiveness of this construction to restore the natural balances, in particular:
If and how quickly it will be inhabited.
Why species of insects.
The interaction of the species present with the garden (pollination and defense against phytophagous)
This by a strictly non-scientific method.
Normally these constructions are made to remember some “helpful” insects, often they are pollinators or predators of insects that attack plants. Some of them, such as wasps, solitary bees, spiders, ladybugs, scissors, scorpions, take refuge in ravines or in cracks between stones and wood. Hence the idea of imitating what happens in nature and creating a suitable environment for them.
How to build the Bug Hotel
On the web you can find many examples of insect houses, just type “bug hotel” or “insect hotel” in the search engines. The realization can be very simple or more complex and effective, there are no limits. You can let your creativity run wild with regard to the materials to be used, also creating artistic structures.
Therefore, those who have a garden in the garden can give aesthetic value to the small house. Finally it may be a possibility to recycle recycled materials, in my case pieces of wood that would otherwise be thrown into the stove.
For my small house, I first built an outdoor structure like a basket, using the pallet that contained the wood. With a drill and a hacksaw, I did my best, although I never tried other carpentry jobs. After that, I fitted the basket with a roof to keep the environment dry.
It is not important how this internal structure is made, nor its size. To build your bug hotel, you need to create a structure with at least two walls and a roof, where the different materials will be inserted.
My next step was precisely to prepare all the materials that will be the real home of our little allies. Here are some ideas:
- cable ties . I picked up some twigs, winter pruning and tied them with raffia.
- perforated wood chips with drill.
- bamboo ties . This particular material lends itself very well to this because it is already hollow and blind.
- Filled terracotta pots with dry plant material, in particular straw, sawdust, bark and leaves .
- Stones of different sizes.
It’s no coincidence that building beneficial insect shelters can be used for different things: crevices of different shapes and sizes and different materials can attract different types of insects. Thus, even the use of different types of materials could contribute to creating biodiversity.
Location of the country house
I placed the house in the garden, against a wall in a central position, and started stacking the materials on top of each other, placing the heavier ones at the base of the construction. As you can see in the photo, I didn’t completely fill the space: this is the momentary result. I will fill the casita to the roof with materials that will remain when I plan to use recycled materials.
Finally, when the summer season arrives, it will be necessary to cover the facade of the house so that the birds cannot feed on it thanks to our work. Also because bugs wouldn’t like coves facing south in full sun.
Now I’m waiting for the summer to see what happens. I happened to see in other gardens of the hotel Bug$0027 little frequented, but of recent construction.
I have the idea that it’s a type of installation that needs time to be inhabited, maybe it needs to age a bit and integrate with the environment, before it can attract our little friends.