Saturday, February 18, 2012
Mini bug houses using recycled materials.
We made homes for solitary bees. The female bee lays an egg on top of a mass of pollen at the end of a hollow tube, she then seals the entrance with a plug of mud. Hollow stems such as old bamboo canes make good nest sites. Playdough was put in the bottom of the can or bottle then it was packed with bamboo canes and dry cow parsley stems. The older children drew bug designs on the outside using permanent markers. All the children, except the very young ones, enjoyed cutting the bamboo to size using the little hacksaws. Wire or wool was wrapped around the outside and a loop made for hanging. Best placed in a sunny spot or hung on a south-facing wall or fence as solitary bees like warmth.
The children also packed bottles with a mixture of rolled cardboard, straw and canes. They took them home to see if any bugs would move in for them to investigate. An average garden could hold over 2,000 different species of mini bugs or invertebrates. Very few creatures cause significant damage to our flowers, fruit and veg and are the 'pests'. Many more creatures help us to control the pests. By creating homes for them we can encourage a diverse range of beneficial bugs in our gardens by giving the places to hide and hibernate. Lacewings and ladybirds and their larvae eat aphids which damage plants. Woodlice and millipedes help to break down woody material. They are essential parts of the gardening recycling system. Dead wood is an increasingly rare habitat as we tidy our gardens, parks and amenity woodlands. Even just a bundle of stems and sticks left in a corner will encourage mini bugs to move in.