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Snug bugs

From NZ Gardener magazine

Rose Hughes shows how to build a house fit for all kinds of beneficial bugs.

What to use: loose bark suits centipedes, spiders and woodlice. Old bamboo canes make excellent homes for some of our native solitary bees, which lay their eggs inside. Pea straw or dry leaves provides a home for aphid-eating labybugs. Decaying wood will feed the larvae of wood-boring beetles and support many beneficial fungi.

You will need: a pencil, 700mm x 300mm of 7mm untreated ply, 1.5m x 20mm x 135mm untreated dressed pine, 0.5m x 20mm x 180mm untreated dressed pine, jigsaw, sander, drop saw, drill and bit, wood glue, 8g x 25mm screws, Resene Quick Dry acrylic primer undercoat, Resene test pots of Resene Nero, Resene Red Hot and Resene Japanese Laurel, panel pins and picture hanging strips.

Cutting list from the 135mmwide pine:

  • two sides with the back 335mm angled to 305mm at the front
  • one base and one shelf – 210mm – with 7mm cut off the back edge
  • one lower divider - 135mm - with 7mm cut off the back edge
  • one upper divider, back 160mm angled to 135mm at the front with 7mm cut off the back edge

Cutting list from the 180mmwide pine: one roof at 300mm.
Cutting list from the ply: one back - 335mm x 210mm.
For the filler: bamboo, pea straw, pine cones, old wood and/or bark.

Cost: $65.

Step 1 how to make a bug home

Step 1
Mark the outline of the ladybird onto the ply (I found a template on the internet). Cut out using the jigsaw and sand smooth. Cut the box pieces.

Step 2 how to make a bug home

Step 2
Mark the centre of the shelf from front to back. Drill two holes along this line, countersink on the underside. Glue and screw the upper divider into position. Repeat for the base divider.

Step 3 how to make a bug home
Step 3
Keeping the front edges flush, mark the position of the base and the shelf on the two side panels. Drill and countersink two holes for each.
Step 4 how to make a bug home
Step 4
Glue and screw the sides, base and shelf together. Mark the position of the screw holes on the roof. Drill and countersink the holes.
Step 5 how to make a bug home

Step 5
Fill all the exterior screw holes, sand, mask and undercoat the exterior faces with Resene Quick Dry Primer. Attach the back panel with panel pins. Attach the roof.

Step 6 how to make a bug home

Step 6
Undercoat and topcoat the ladybird shape – I used Resene Quick Dry Primer followed by Nero and Red Hot. Topcoat the house – I used Japanese Laurel. Cut bamboo to length and fill the recesses with your chosen materials. Attach the ladybird to the front of the house with picture hanging strips. Attach a hanging cord to the back of the house if required.

Bee happy!

Coloured Bee hives help bees find their own hive

Use of colour on beehives doesn’t just make them look great in the garden, it also helps bees find their way home! Here are few handy tips to consider when painting your hive:

  1. Painting your hive in different colours and tones helps the bees find the correct one to return to.

  2. To get a wide variety of colours, simply choose your favourite colours, then once you have painted a few areas mix some of your colours together to create new colours to use.

  3. Place painted rocks or other objects near the hive. Bees use them as reference points to find the right hive.

To find out more visit:


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