Everything you need to know, to do everything you want to do

Garden, Sustainability

How to make an insect hotel from a can

make an insect hotel

If you want to attract insects naturally into your garden, follow our guide to make an insect hotel from a can. Most insect hotels you buy are made from wood, but stylish insect hotels can also be built from simple cans in order to provide shelter to the insects you want to attract into your garden.

It has become cramped for many types of insects. In our well-organized and almost embarrassingly tidy gardens, there are hardly any retreats where the young insects can grow. Simply invite more insects into your garden again . You do not have to create a mess and pile up mountains of dead wood, even a small insect hotel can help to maintain the natural balance in the garden. Here you can find out how to build insect hotels out of cans and what benefits they bring to insects and you as a hobby gardener.

Find more great garden guides, tips and advice

Why an insect hotel in a can?

You already know insect hotels, but actually they look different, are much larger, are made of wood and are complicatedly nested? Here we present another, quite simple variant.

Insects feel no less comfortable in a can. Instead of wood, sheet metal is used and thus a material that wonderfully repels liquid and lasts much longer than the wooden insect shelter. Another plus – disused cans no longer have to end up in the trash, but can be recycled sensibly.

Which insects can be welcomed as hotel guests?

A large number of insects can live in the insect hotel. These include wasps, bumblebees, flies, wild bees, beetles or worms. Butterflies and even fireflies can also be welcomed in the insect hotel. Bees and wasps prefer hollow stems of plants or paper tubes. Folded bees feel comfortable in an insect hotel made of clay and the catchy tune prefers to move into an insect hotel filled with straw.

Wild bees – a rare guest

Wild bees are particularly busy with pollinating our plants and are already on the move in spring when the first honeybee is still a long time coming. The wild bee prefers to nest in hollow plant stems. In spring the bee begins to breed there. These are filled with pollen and each take up one egg. The bees close the tube and the larva feeds on the stored pollen. After pupation, she survives the winter in the insect hotel to hatch in the next spring.Wild bees are not a danger to humans, they are smaller than the honey bee and mostly are not able to pierce our skin with their sting.

Which filling material is suitable for the wild bee hotel?

  • Reeds
  • Straws of paper
  • Cardboard rolls

The filled can is hung up in a sunny and protected place. A downward angle prevents water from entering.

»Warning: If wild bees have moved in, the hotel will not be removed even in winter, the larvae spend the winter there and hatch only in spring.

What does an insect hotel in the garden bring?

Humans have done a lot in recent decades to limit the living space for insects more and more. Let us just think of the ever-increasing development, the consequences of modern agriculture and the use of pesticides. Less and less green in the cities means that insects can no longer find shelter. An insect hotel in a can is admittedly a small step, but still a chance and opportunity to offer the insects a shelter and thus ensure their survival.

Insect hotel in a can as a win-win situation

If you set up an insect hotel in your garden, not only the insects themselves benefit, but you too. The insects use the shelter as a nesting aid and as a shelter for the winter. They make themselves useful as natural pest control and help the amateur gardener. Ladybirds or lacewings can eat lots of aphids. This saves you time, effort and the use of chemical pesticides. Pollination is the main task of numerous insects. If you set up an insect hotel, you contribute to the preservation of the ecosystem, you can also look forward to a rich harvest and marvel at abundantly flowering plants.

What is needed for the construction of the insect hotel?

  • Cans
  • filling material
  • Secateurs
  • Pliers
  • Sandpaper
  • Hot glue gun
  • Ribbon or cord
  • colour

Building insect hotels from cans – step by step

❶ Prepare the can
❷ Design the can if necessary
❸ Fill the can
❹ Place the can

❶ First of all, the can must not become the source of the accident. The edges created when opening should be bent inwards with pliers. Especially when tinkering with children, it must be ensured that they do not come into contact with the sharp edges of the tin without being noticed.

❷ If you don’t want to have a boring tin can hanging in the garden or on the balcony, you can now design the cans. Surely there is still a residue of colored paint or acrylic paint. The cans can be individually designed and thus adapted to the color of garden furniture or plants.

»Tip: Yellow cans are particularly attractive to insects.

❸ After the paint has dried well, you can start filling. It is important to completely fill the space in the can. The plant stems or cardboard tubes should end exactly with the edge of the can and must therefore be cut to size first.

Avoid sharp edges and grind the stalks if necessary. The stalks should have a minimum length of ten centimeters and should be knotted at their rear end. Particularly clean cutting edges can be achieved with a band saw.

»Tip: If the stalks are soaked overnight, they are much easier to saw and do not splinter.

If you use natural straws, they can be cut with scissors. It is best to measure with a straw, which you put in the can. Then all other stalks are cut according to this template. The stems should be packed particularly tightly in the can. The filling material should not move and should not fall out.

Another variant is filling the can with clay. The insect hotel is filled as just described, then the can is closed with clay. To make work easier for the insects, you can drill the clay with a nail a few centimeters.

❹ The cans can be hung up with cords. You can also place the insect hotel in a branch fork, but it must be firmly fixed there. The cans can also be pierced and can be attached to a small wooden board and hung up with them. If the insect hotel is to be positioned upright, screw the long side onto a wooden board.

Where to go with the insect hotel?

When the insect hotel is ready, you will of course want to greet the first guests as soon as possible. So that this really happens, the can should be attached particularly stably. If the insect hotel wobbles, swings or tilts, the potential residents will most likely look for another accommodation.

So that the can is not directly exposed to rain and wind, care should be taken to choose a dry and sunny location. The ideal is the orientation of the insect hotel to the south-east or south-west.

»Tip: Insect hotels in cans can also be attached to the balcony. The insects’ activity can be observed particularly well there.