The Boone County Buzz: Introducing Insect Hotels

Kathy DoisyHi! My name is Kathy E. Doisy, and I am a new board member for the Community Garden Coalition. I have always admired this organization because it helps so many people, and it’s completely volunteer. I’ve been an avid gardener since 1976, and I’m a retired entomologist so I have a lot of knowledge about gardening and garden pests. As the season goes forward, I’ll be posting timely information about common garden pests in a column we’re calling “The Boone County Buzz.” In the meantime I thought I might suggest a way that you can prepare for next year’s crops and help the environment at the same time.

I think we all know that insect pollinators are important for the production of many of our favorite fruit and vegetable crops. When you mention pollinators most people think of honey bees which are a lovely, beneficial species. But did you know they are not native to North America? They were introduced into the New World by Europeans. However, North America already had a huge diversity of native insects that act as excellent pollinators, including bumblebees, solitary bees, moths, ants, butterflies, and some flies.

I’ve been trying to encourage these native species in my garden for several years because it’s a LOT easier than being a beekeeper! Then I heard about “insect hotels.” Just type that or “bug hotels” into your favorite search engine, and you will be inundated with pictures and articles about how to build one for your yard or garden. I don’t know whose idea this was but it’s a good one! Below are few good websites for your perusal. I encourage you to help our native pollinators while also helping your garden!

How to build an insect hotel:

Detailed information on our native bees:

And here is my own new insect hotel:

Kathy's insect hotel