This year’s cobbled together insect boxes!
#1 & #2 are repurposed bird boxes, with bamboo stems cut to size. Lick of paint and I think they look OK :D
#3 is hopefully an improved design on a similar box from last year. To allow this to be re-used next year, and to allow proper cleaning to stop mites and parasites, I’ve drilled the holes all the way through, used rolled paper tubes as liners, and then sealed the back of the tubes with a plywood back. That should hopefully give more weather protection for the tubes, and also let the tubes be removed easily next year.
#4 is less pretty but is designed to try and get a glimpse of mason bees (likely osmia rufa/bicornis with this size tubes) building their nest cells. I have another of a similar design using glass tubes, partially to test different materials, but also should allow me to get some photos, fingers crossed! These boxes were made using two bottle wine boxes, which also gave me a built in sliding door for me to sneak a peak at any bees kind enough to use them.
#5 is probably my most satisfying, but also least likely to get used. A butterfly roosting box, made completely from scrap wood from old pallets. I’m quite proud of this, genuinely surprised it turned out this well! Picture’s a bit off, but I’ll try and get a better one with it in situ.
#6 is a real experimental and improvised design, and will hopefully serve a couple of different purposes. The ‘box’ contains potential nesting sites for the smaller mason bees (like osmia caerulescens) including some paper drinking straws held together in a coffee tin. The roof of the box is the fronts of the bird boxes used for the #1 & #2, holding a couple of plastic bottle tops to use as butterfly feeders (sugar solution possibly). I’d read that butterflies tended to be attracted less to individual flowers, and more to large stands of the same flower, the large blocks of colour bringing them in. We had some yellow paint, so gave the box a brighter paint job than the other more sedate boxes. Placed near the roosting box it may even attract some users for that too!
#7 is inspired by ww.twitter.com/WildlifeGadgets and is a bug ball. Using the two old hanging baskets tucked away in the darkest corners of the shed, it’s a pretty thrifty way of providing a good deal use for bugs, butterflies and probably birds too. We used: - moss we removed from my mum’s lawn, drilled holes in apple branches from my sister’s recently, bamboo from the shed, pine cones from the woods nearby, old plant pots, and compost from our own compost heap, even the wood used to fix it to an old thick bamboo cane was offcuts from the other insect boxes!! The only thing purchased especially was the seed balls we planted in the pots. We used the bee and butterfly mixes from www.seedball.co.uk and hopefully we’ll have some plants in there to attract extra insects in too.