Russell Square gardens will soon acquire two beautiful ‘bug hotels’, which will be installed on 26th March by a group of Volunteers. The Russell Square Insect Hotels were the idea of a new Volunteer Gardening Group for the Square. They have been sponsored by two adjacent hotels (Imperial London Hotels and Kimpton Fitzroy Hotels). New insect-friendly planting will be supplied by the Council and installed by residents and staff from the British Museum, London University and the hotels in April. It’s great to see the community, the Council and local companies coming together to provide an improved environment for birds, bugs and butterflies.
Sadly, many insects are struggling to survive; they need flower-rich areas. The bug hotels aim to provide a habitat for insects including butterflies, as safe hideaways can be hard for wildlife to find in some public gardens. The Insect Hotel has been constructed to the highest environmental standards from certified timber from managed woodlands and where possible recycled materials in place of plastic or metal.
Insect hotels are key to an ecologically healthy environment because of their role in encouraging insect pollination.The Hotel has been designed to provide a home for several beneficial insects:
The Eco bee nesting tubes are for some of the 250 species of ‘friendly’ solitary bees which do not sting; the tubes keep the baby bees safe inside until they are emerging in the spring. Ladybirds, the gardener’s friend, like a chamber filled with straw for overwintering. Lacewings are carnivores and keep garden pest numbers down, the larvae and adults provide food for birds; in winter they will look for wooden slats to tuck themselves to hibernate.
To support the insects, it is important to surround the hotel with nectar-rich flowers – essential food for butterflies, bees and other pollinating insects. The central flower beds will be replanted with flowers that are attractive to insects and will also provide food for the existing bees from the hives to be found in the gardens and on the roofs in the general area. Insects will encourage and support the birdlife. An area of the gardens is to be developed to provide for the birds, by growing climbers against walls which can provide shelter, as well as roosting and breeding/nesting sites.