Bugs, beasties and other critters are set to benefit from a posh new winter holiday home after a project to build a ‘bug hotel’ started this week at Saddington Reservoir in Leicestershire.
The bug hotel will be made from dead tree branches and scrub material with grant funding from Natural England, to create a shelter for insects living at the reservoir.
Canal & River Trust ecologist, Penny Foster, explains: ‘Saddington Reservoir is a perfect breeding ground for small insects, with the yearly cycle of emptying and re-filling the reservoir with water creating ideal living and feeding conditions.
"In the winter, when the water level is higher the insects need to find homes elsewhere and this new bug hotel will provide brilliant shelter from the cold weather. A healthy insect population is essential for the health of the wider wildlife population, playing a crucial role in everything from pollination of wildflowers to food for birds and rodents. We hope these works will lead to a bumper wildlife year for visitors to the reservoir to enjoy in 2014.”
Built in 1802 Saddington Reservoir was purpose built to supply water to the Grand Union Canal. The reservoir is a designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is home to a number of animal and insect species and is great place to enjoy a spot of fishing, walking or bird watching. The habitat improvements are supported by a five-year, £35,000 grant from Natural England to support biodiversity at the site.
Penny adds: “Anyone with a small patch of garden can build a bug hotel and help insects thrive through the winter months, and it’s a great way to get young children excited about nature. Just find a quiet spot, build up layers of dead wood, rocks and leaves, ensuring you create lots of interesting spaces, nooks and crannies for mini beasts to hide in and, hey presto, you have created your very own bug apartment.”