If you are an insect enthusiast, or if you just appreciate the pollination services provided by flying insects, then you should consider making your own insect hotel. It may be hard to picture what an insect hotel looks like. However, the term “insect hotel” is actually a pretty straightforward name, as these insect hotels are exactly what they sound like. Insect hotels are man-made insect habitats that help preserve insect species. These hotels are constructed to have numerous compartments where insects can lodge for a period of time. Each compartment is filled with nesting materials. The idea is to provide a safe habitat for insects during times of harsh climate. Insect hotels are already quite popular and common in Europe, but now they are catching on in America as well. One of the most popular insect hotels can be found at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo.
The recently constructed insect hotel located at Lincoln Park Zoo contains seven floors of furnished compartments. By “furnished” I mean that the compartments are stocked with various scraps of plant matter that are often used by insects to construct nests. This insect hotel can be seen at anytime of year within the Zoo, but the hotel compartments are mostly full only during the colder months of the year. These hotels attract ladybugs, bees, and numerous types of other flying insects. The hotels are especially important to insects struggling to survive during the winter months.
According to Jamie Herget of the Zoo’s learning center, insect hotels are easy to build and placing them in backyards leads to the pollination of your yard plants. If you build an insect habitat, then it is nearly inevitable that insects will make use of it. The most frequent insect guests at the Lincoln Park Zoo are mason bees. As you can guess, these insects use mud to form brick-like objects that are then used to build walls. Green lacewings and adult ladybugs are also frequent guests at the large insect hotel located at Lincoln Park Zoo.
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