Friday, 13 June 2014

Bug book hotel

I have spent an inspiring couple of days in Scotswood Natural Community Garden. It's a stunnning place on so many levels; just two to three acres in very urban part of Newcastle, thriving with trees, flowers, birds, insects, foxes, ponds and people.

The garden is a real treat for the senses, with lots to discover. I was taken with these book bug hotels that Hive Arts made with the Garden for their Pollination Street project.  

So much so that as soon as I got home I started hunting through the bookcases and garden for suitable materials. 
The first step was to drill a few holes into a log from the firewood pile. 

I chose a few different hole sizes. This sort of habitat will be appealing to a range of small creatures like ladybirds, their larvae, lacewings and solitary bees. 

Then I chose a book with a hard back cover. This was a really tricky thing for me. I'm a real book worm and was always told that you should never do bad things to books (or paintbrushes). But I overcame my conditioning, found a book on Ecology that was very out of date and I think the author would approve of it becoming a habitat!

The last ingredient was a bundle of hollow stems from plants that had died over the winter. When I tidy up all the dead stuff in spring I keep this for fire lighting so I still had a ready supply. You could use bamboo canes instead of hollow stems. 

Using a drill I made holes in the spine of the book. Then got a stick with two pieces of long wire wrapped round it that would hold everything together. 

Materials assembled! I used quite a lot of trial and error as well as some pliers to get the wire tight enough and to make sure everything was securely held together. I started by threading two wires through a hole drilled up through the log, then took both wires round the bundle and then through the book. Pushing extra stems through the bundle helped make everything tight and I could use the left over wire wound together to make a strong hanging hook. 

With everything assembled it was ready to hang. I chose a sheltered spot in a tree out of the sun and weather. Hive Arts were inspired by Alec Finlay's 'Bee Library' at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. 

 I hope they like their new home.


  1. An interesting twist on bug homes/hotels. Will give it a try too. thanks Lily

  2. Brilliant! As soon as I saw your first shot I thought of Alec's work. He's got some nice bits and pieces of poetry and word play that works well with children too. And interesting bird boxes.

    PS I just popped on by chance - delighted to see a few blog posts again.

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