Following a couple of months of discussion, and a couple of weeks of planning we chose Saturday June 1st as the perfect day to begin construction of the lastest addition the Berrylands Nature Reserve – our very first Bug Hotel!
Having got a bit wet Balsam Bashing during the week, it was an absolutely glorious day, with blazing sunshine, meaning we all got a bit warm even just bringing the previously procured items to site.
In advance of the session some of the volunteers had gathered pallets, bricks, scrap wood, pine cones and loads of corregated cardboard, with the rest of the materials to be gathered from around the nature reserve.
After a quick introduction we all had a chat about where we wanted to site the bug hotel, what sort of materials we wanted to use to fill it, and with our location chosen, a mix of sun and shade, and giving any future inhabitents of the penthouse a lovely view of the stream, we set to work.
The first task was to clear and level the chosen area, while some of the volunteers fixed up the slightly less sturdy pallets, and started searching for materials like branches, twigs, dry leaves, cut grass, and bark, from around the nature reserve.
Once we had the base of the structure nice and sturdy we started filling it with all the collected materials, and digging out a few strategically placed entrances at the bottom to allow hedgehogs into the lower levels.
The cardboard was rolled to provide the perfect habitat for insects like lacewings, and larger branches drilled with holes for a variety of solitary bees.
We repeated the process of adding layers, gathering and filling with more material from around the nature reserve as we went, and taking frequent breaks to get a bit of respite from the sun, and to rehydrate.
Even before we had finished we had a few eager new inhabitents, with a pair of ladybirds and shield bug keen to take up residence.
Working in one spot gave us lots of chances to chat with people out for a walk in the nature reserve, and curious about what we were doing.
It was really lovely to hear so many grateful and supportive comments about all the work we have been doing.
Over the coming weeks we will be adding a roof structure, with the intention of seeding it with native wildflowers to help attract bees and butterflies, so watch this space, and come down to the nature reserve to see what you can spot.
Thanks to all the volunteers for a really fun session!