Insect Hotels

What do insects do?   Jake 

Why are insects important?   Benjamin 

Why make an insect hotel?   May 

What is the purpose of the insect hotel?   Lily 

To answer these questions Room 11 had a look at books, YouTube, and other videos. We compared insects that are pests to insects that are heroes.  

It became obvious that our lives would be different without the insect population. Insects pollinate most of the flowers, fruits and vegetables we eat. They also eat other insects that are pests and they provide food for other animals including people.  Insects help animals and plants decay quickly and they mix dung into the soil. Room 11 realised that insects are an important part of our ecosystem. Unfortunately, pesticides, land clearance, and climate change are reducing their numbers. An insect hotel is a way of helping our insects by giving them somewhere to live.  Each group of insect hunters brainstormed their ideas of what insects needed to survive on a big piece of paper using drawings and words.

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Together Room 11 made a mind map by categorising the ideas under main headings. The students were quick to realise that insects needed air, water, food, shelter, and space just like us to survive. 

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The students decided that the gully was a great habitat for insects as it provided all of the requirements that they needed to live. Our own backyards do not often provide such a great habitat as they can be much more manicured and lack suitable shelter for the insects. By making an insect hotel we would be able to reproduce the habitat of the gully on a smaller scale.

We were lucky to have Alex from Enviro-schools come and share her knowledge with us.  Unfortunately, the winter weather stopped us from exploring the gully again on the day of her visit. She explained that as our environment provided the air, water, and space the insects required our insect hotels only needed to provide shelter and be near a food source. Alex is going to send us some plants so we can continue to feed our hotel inhabitants and possibly encourage  wētā to take up residence.  She also had some materials to show us that were excellent for our building purposes. The rotten wood, harakeke, sticks, and pieces of bamboo proved to be marvellous homes as they were already full of invertebrates. Naturally, the magnifying glasses and microscope were used again to take a better look at these bugs.

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Next came the designing stage of our project after looking at a couple of examples. From this a materials list was compiled and items were collected. Fortunately, Mr Jackson was able to lend a hand to help with the construction of the insect hotels.  Creating roofs, drainage holes, bedding, waterproofing, and methods of hanging were opportunities for problem solving and learning how to work with the resources available.

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The insects need cosy spots so they can sleep. When I got home from school I put mine on the deck. I realised insects won’t come on a deck and so I’m going to move it when I get home today onto the grass.  Pepper 

I got a bottle then cut it in half. Then I got some hay and I got some wood and put five holes in it by using a drill. Then I got one piece of string to hang my insect hotel up. I hung it up in the tree. I would change it around inside. I would have hay on one side and other things on the other side so there would be more room for the sticks.  May

We got frustrated because we had to take the plastic off so the insects can go out and in. We didn’t know what to do. Then we figured out an idea in our heads and we just took the plastic off with our fingernails.  Kian

I got a Fanta bottle and I drilled a hole in the lid. Then I wrapped Gorilla Tape around the bottle and then I put some wire around it to make a hook. I hung mine up on a branch facing upwards so it didn’t fall off.   Max S

I put mine up in a Feijoa tree and I found a slater in it today. I have been checking after school everyday.  Charlie

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Room 11 students have been able to plan and build insect hotels using a variety of natural and recycled materials. In the Summer we plan to build a bigger structure in the gully with the Enviro Group. Our experience with the smaller insect hotels will help us with this project as we know so much more about what insects need and how we can help them.

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Keywords: Insect Hotels,  Enviro 

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