A friend of mine sent me this today. I was immediately suspicious, but it was really interesting! I thought you all might like it as well.
Here is a link that might be useful: Insect Hotels
The Aug./Sept. Mother Earth News has one in it, not as fancy at the one you linked. I have Part of a pickup bed liner, a bunch of bamboo, construction plastic and felt, and oak shavings. I plan to build a bug flop house, mine will probably be full of Blister beetles and Cucumber beetles.
When I made the bed for the Seminole pumpkins I dug 10 post holes and filled them with short pieces of bamboo and mulched over them with leaves and shavings. I don't know if it helped any, but the Seminole pumpkins are doing well.
I've seen these online for years and wondered who has the time and patience to build them! You just know that if I put a lot of time and effort into one, copperheads would adopt it and live in it, on it or under it.
We do a really simple basic version (albeit a good distance from the house precisely because of what might choose to live in it) with all natural ingredients just by building brush piles, with big logs on the bottom, and each layer being progressively smaller wood. Everything you can imagine lives in the various levels of the brush piles, and some are desirable creatures you want to have around, while others are not. One well-built brush pile can shelter creatures for up to a decade before it all becomes a decomposed pile of woodsy humus. I think the current active brush piles on our property (meaning they haven't totally decomposed so still can be occurpied) date back to 2005 and 2006, but I did build two new ones last year on the composted remains of our first two from around 2002.
Nothing about our property is neat and tidy (the descriptive words that come to mind are wild and overgrown), so I didn't really have to build them as there's plenty of places on our acreage for all the little critters to live, but the NWF book I read when we bought this place suggested buildilng brush piles to shelter wild critters, so I thought I'd give it a try. I don't poke around our brush piles too much because the black widow spiders use them as much as any other little wild critter does.
I can see how these insect hotels would be great in a yard in town where everything is neat, tidy, well-maintained, etc., thereby leaving the wild critters very few places to live.
Larry, Digging holes like that and filling them with material that eventually will decompose is a great way to (a) improve drainage and (b) improve the soil. It is a technique commercially known as vertical mulching. We used it a little bit to improve the side yard just south of the sun porch because it is an area with dense clay, so has very poor drainage and low amounts of organic matter in the soil. I wish we'd put in about 4 times as many of them as we did.
Larry, they mentioned lady bugs....I thought about you!
Dawn, yeah, I don't have the patience to do one, and my neighbors might not be too excited about me drawing in MORE insects that I already do :) lol at the copperheads...probably. Actually I just saw another photo and thought of you...it was a "soaking" pool that was basically a very large plastic sheet draped over hay bales in a square. You could build your own swimming pool :)
Lisa, I'd pulled that website up too when this topic came up. It looks like the type of thing you'd see in Santa Fe, Austin or an art community because some look like professional yard art and very cool looking, in fact some of them are high end art and great compositions in texture and design. Who'd care if they work or not? Time spent in creating would not be an issue in that regard.
The one that really caught my eye though was the big old cut down tree trunk with the roof on it. I think thats a great way to make an ugly thing into an interesting and artistic asset if you can't afford to have the thing removed. Its the best idea I've ever seen and I've seen some pretty corny and ugly ones out there where people tried to turn them into something. I saw one "carved like a rock" and it didn't quite work. It would depend on where the tree was planted if it looked good or not, I can't see doing an old street tree down by the curb for example.
but, I don't believe the straw and pinecones laying on shelves would do well in our wind around here, do you?
This post was edited by GreatPlains1 on Mon, Jul 22, 13 at 16:14
We had a "natural" swimming pool back when the spring still ran and the big pond held water. Now we just have about a half acre empty pond that no one has swam in for years. It is hard to believe the kids used to swim in it, and that we used to sit on the dock and fish. If you tried that now, all you'd catch would be dirt, dust and grasshoppers.
I'll pass on the hay bale swimming pool. The last of of my stash of free hay bales will go onto the winter garden as mulch.
I've seen hot tubs made from galvanized metal stock tanks and we do have one of those......
GreatPlains1, Someone in Marietta had an old standing tree trunk (seems like it was 7 or 8' tall) carved into a statue of a Native American about a decade ago. It was pretty cool, although it just kind of stood there in the middle of the yard. I haven't been down that street in a while, but I am pretty sure it has been gone for years. I cannot even remember the last time I saw it. Whoever carved it did do a really great job. From what I remember from reading a newspaper article about it once, they had paid someone to do it and that person used a chain-saw to get the basic shape, and then hand-carved the rest.
They have those tiny wasp houses in the back of some seed magazines. They even send the tubes with bugs in them and they are supposed to be great for plants.
I can't imagine needing to buy wasps :) My garden seems to have an abundance of them. I'll be happy to share!