6 Best Bug Hotels of 2024

Find out what all the buzz is about. Backyard bug hotels provide a safe place for insects to rest weary wings, shelter or nest.

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Bug Hotellenawurm/Getty Images

A bug hotel (also known as an insect hotel, house or hive) is a small, artificial building that serves as long-term lodging or a winter hibernation habitat for crawling and flying insects. “Think of it as a tiny apartment building for ladybugs, lacewings, solitary bees and other helpful critters,” says Mary Phillips, the head of native plant habitat strategy and certification programs at the National Wildlife Federation.

You can hang bug hotels from tree branches, attach them to fences or stake them into the ground—preferably near flower beds or an organic vegetable patch. According to Phillips, the best bug hotels can provide natural pest control and contribute to the overall biodiversity of your yard. Not only does hosting beneficial insects help them, but it also promotes a healthy ecosystem through pollination. Insects also make a super-nutritious supper for native birds.

Some bug boarders like to burrow in hollow plant stocks, while others are attracted to dry, dead, wood and bark. Placement in the yard is insect-specific with some bugs preferring to bask in full sun, while others like shady spots.

Here’s a rundown of the best bug hotels for various insects.

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Bug Hotel via plowhearth.com

Best Butterfly Hotel

Flutterbye Cypress and Copper Butterfly House

Constructed in the U.S. of rot- and pest-free cypress wood siding, with a solid copper-trimmed hipped roof and adornments, the Flutterbye butterfly house is a piece of garden art. Fluttering winged wonders enter through slats on the front where they can nest safely inside, away from dangerous predators. This hotel comes with a 30-inch mounting stake and a copper-covered clean out. One five-star reviewer wrote, “Solid construction and very pretty. I staked it into a walkway garden that I had planted butterfly-attracting plants in.”

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Bug Hotel via bestnest.com

Best Ladybug Hotel

Heartwood Ladybug House with Mounting

The Heartwood lady bug house features horizontal slats that create large entry and exit ways. The roof lifts off for easy cleaning and observation and you can place the house on a deck or other flat surface, or use the included mounting pole. Providing a place for ladybugs is important because they eat unwanted aphids, mealy bugs and scale insects. Make sure you know about these house bugs and how to get rid of them, too.

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Bug Hotel via amazon.com

Best Bug Hotel for Kids

SmartLab Toys Outdoor Science Lab Bugs

Watch your children learn about nature’s biodiversity first hand—the 15-piece SmartLab Bug Playground is an educational STEM toy focused on entomology. Send the kids outside where they can observe and study the behavior of ants, beetles and crickets as these bugs romp around in a mini pool, tube, slide, climbing wall and jungle gym. The kit is easy to assemble and includes a bug catcher, base, lidded top, short side walls, long side walls and activity booklet.

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Bug Hotel via amazon.com

Best Mason Bee Hotel

Mason Bee House Native Bee Hive

The Kibaga mason bee house is made of bamboo and small enough to hang anywhere. It provides a safe and sustainable environment for non-swarming (solitary) mason bees (AKA orchard bees). To encourage these pollinators, the octagon-shaped exterior surrounds 60 bamboo nesting tubes where bees can feel safe. Hang the house from the included rope in a sunny, dry area.

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Flower Pot For Bees gldburger/Getty Images

Best DIY Bumblebee Hotel

Terra Cotta Plant Pot

Do your part to save bumblebees by providing these fuzzy pollinators with somewhere to nest. To attract wayward bumblebees to your garden, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust offers a free downloadable guide with step-by-step instructions on how to create a suitable site for the queen bee to lay her eggs. You can easily fashion this bee hotel out of an extra terra–cotta pot and a few other simple materials. Place your DIY hotel near bee-friendly flowers and plants for a greater chance of success.

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Bug Hotel via wayfair.com

Best Honeybee Hotel

Home Harvest Beekeeping Hive

Ideal for beginning beekeepers, the Home Harvest Hive is designed for housing and raising bees naturally. The hive’s roof is peaked to shed water and ventilated to control airflow. It is painted white with a water-resistant finish, and it comes with two medium frames, but can accommodate up to 16 (sold separately). It also includes two hive boxes, two viewing windows, 18 top bars, an insulated quilt box, a screened-in base and support legs. And, it’s easy to assemble and easy to use! Happy shopper Jessica wrote, “Everything I expected! Super easy to assemble. Used a drill and it was together in 30 minutes.”

Types of Bug Hotels

  • Butterflies: These bug hotels are designed to attract butterflies by providing sheltered spaces for them to roost and rest. They often feature narrow slits or slots where butterflies can enter and perch.
  • Ladybugs: These structures are wooden boxes with compartments filled with straw or bark, offering cozy refuges for ladybugs to overwinter and lay eggs. “Our native ladybug species have a voracious appetite for aphids,” adds Phillips.
  • Bees: “Most of our native bee species are solitary bees, which are very docile and incredibly efficient pollinators,” says Phillips. These bug hotels typically consist of small tubes or holes drilled into wood or bamboo, providing nesting sites for them to lay eggs.
  • Lacewings: Lacewings are attracted to bug hotels with suitable nesting materials such as straw or twigs. They are beneficial insects that feed on garden pests. Phillips confirms, noting that the “larvae will devour aphids and mites.”
  • Ground beetles: Ground beetles are nocturnal predators that feed on slugs, snails, caterpillars and insect larvae. “They patrol the soil for larvae and the eggs of pests,” explains Phillips. Bug hotels filled with mulch, leaf litter or rock piles provide shelter for them to hide during the day, so they can hunt for prey at night.
  • Hoverflies: Hoverflies are welcome visitors in any garden ecosystem. Their larvae provide pest control, while adults assist in pollination, says Phillips. The best bug hotels to attract hoverflies are filled with straw, grass or hollow stems.

What to Look for When Buying a Bug Hotel

Think about where you plan to place your bug hotel. “If possible, choose a site protected from strong winds and rain in a partially sunny spot. Morning sun with afternoon shade provides warmth for insects to begin activity early in the day while offering protection from the sun during the hottest part of the day,” says Phillips.

Also check to ensure the bug hotel comes with all necessary mounting materials. According to Phillips, “You can mount your bug hotel on a wall, hang it from a tree branch or place it on a stand that is protected from direct exposure to the elements.”

Decide what type of bug you’re looking to attract. “Offering a selection of habitat types within your bug hotel can attract a larger diversity of species,” notes Phillips. Small leaf piles, pithy stems and other natural items provide a variety of sheltering spaces for insects, she says. On the other hand, she adds, “our native ladybugs prefer to overwinter in small twig piles; while solitary bees will lay their eggs in holes in wood and stems.”

Why You Should Trust Us

I cover many topics for Family Handyman and pests is one of my beats. I’m an expert when it comes to reviewing products. I know how to gather new items that the FHM audience will love, taking into account price, durability and customer reviews. My work has appeared in The Telegraph, Fodor’s, Italy Magazine, DK Eyewitness travel guides and others.

For this article we also interviewed Mary Phillips, the head of the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife program and Certified Wildlife Habitat. Phillips ensures all habitat programs and resources are rooted in sustainable practices and the latest science. Since she started at the Federation in 2014, the Certified Wildlife Habitat program has grown by 64%.

How We Found the Best Bug Hotels

When selecting the best bug hotels, we began by researching a wide range of options available on the market, considering factors such as size, material, design and price point. We also looked for bug hotels that catered to specific insect species, including bees, ladybugs, lacewings and ground beetles, ensuring a diverse selection that could accommodate various beneficial insects. To narrow down our choices, we analyzed customer reviews to understand the real-world performance and durability of each bug hotel. Finally, we selected bug hotels that offered a balance of quality, functionality and value, ensuring that there was an option suitable for every garden and budget.

Toni DeBella
Toni DeBella is a culture and lifestyle writer, reviews expert and DIYer covering everything from pest control to pool cabanas to painting to container gardening. For over a decade, Toni was the owner of a successful faux finishing, mural and children’s furniture business before moving to a career in writing. She lives in a medieval hill town in Italy, where her bicycle “Raoul” serves as her primary mode of transportation.