Roots 'n' Shoots: House Wasp: DIY Beneficial Insect Homes

Why is RnS Moving to

Google had brought out an algorithm update in May 2017. With previous updates like Panda or Penguin, Mr G had penalized blogs or websites with low quality content and those more focused on aggressive adverts (including multiple ads or pop-up ads in articles). However, many blogs/websites that weren't shady got penalized beyond recovery too and a lot of people lost their income. The May 2017 update has had wide-scale effect on blogs and websites, but without any explanation from Mr G as to why or what it does. RnS has been hit by it too and hard. RnS organic search stats (i.e. users from Google) have dropped by 75% since. Even though RnS is not a source of income, I tried to figure out why RnS is being culled. It seems that it doesn't really have anything to do with RnS per se, but likely because RnS is FREE and not paying for page ranking (via AdWords or Ad Ranking). Now it is likely being aggressively shoved to lower page rankings to accommodate the paid ads.

I cannot rely on Mr G anymore to get RnS' content where it is needed. So I am busy moving RnS to Wordpress where you can find me as Whisker Flowers @

I am also imposing 301 redirects from already moved posts and pages!

- The Shroom - (AKA Whisker Flowers)

Saturday, 16 November 2013

House Wasp: DIY Beneficial Insect Homes

When we moved the garden outside at the back of the kitchen, I had made a couple of insects’ homes. I tried different types of designs I found on the internet. Most of them went un-inhabited, except for two:

Commercial Bug House

Exhibition A: The Log Pile

The log pile was meant for carpenter and mason bees, but I mostly saw very large ants staying in the holes drilled into the logs. There were some centipedes and earthworms at the bottom of the pile. I did find some mud houses that may have belonged to the mason bees, but I cannot be sure. At least the log pile does bring in some garden helpers.

The Log Pile

Insect mud house

Exhibition B: House Wasp

I read about bumble bees being very efficient pollinators – more than your usual honey bee. This design was meant to attract and house them close to my garden. For two years it remained vacant, but during the summer months of 2013 (Jan-Mar), some of the smaller paper wasps have taken up residence.

Someone, who shall not be mentioned, moved the box and placed the entrance against the wall – I moved the box back and found that my previous carton roll entrance had been eaten by the rain. I fixed this with a new toilet paper roll wrapped in plastic – but for this I had to lift the lid… and was surprised to find a humongous paper wasp nest – a good two tennis ball sizes! I quickly repaired the box and left the now-angry wasp alone. I put up some warning signs; should unmentionable persons want to move it again.

House Wasp

Paper wasps are great predators to have around the garden, rounding up caterpillars to feed to their young. The adults like to pollinate aggregate fruit flowers (such as raspberries, blue berries and strawberries) and they also like to visit the marjoram flowers.

Seeing as this insect house was successful, I thought to make another and share the design with you:

Job requirements:

1 Person & less than 30 minutes

Polystyrene ice box (get @ plastic shop)
Screw driver
Piece of frost fleece or old sieve curtain
14 tooth picks
6 screws
Packet of wood shavings
Piece of plastic/small plastic bag
Toilet roll carton


  1. Cut a hole into the front of the polystyrene ice box to fit in the toilet roll carton.
  2. Wrap the toilet roll carton in the plastic bag with a little plastic overhang on the outside to ward off rain.
  3. Stuff the toilet roll carton into the front hole.
  4. Fill the box with wood/pet shavings. 
  5. Cut the frost fleece to size and secure with the screws (Do not tighten too much – else you’ll strip the polystyrene!). 

  6. Stick the toothpicks about half-way into the polystyrene around the top of the fleece.
  7. Put the lid on and pin into the toothpicks – leave a little bit of room at the lid for some airflow. 
  8. Tie off with twine to prevent the lid from coming off during heavy winds. 
  9. Cut a V into the bottom of the plastic overhang to prevent the plastic from warping and blocking the entrance. 
  10. Place in a shady, rain-protected spot, such as under a table/tree.
  11. The box can be placed on some bricks in case of flooding.
  12. (Optional) Secure a water and fade-proof warning sign onto the box.
  13. Wait one-two seasons for inhabitants.

You will likely forget about the house, as I did, and be delighted to see the inhabitants buzzing in and out on garden duty. I am also looking into establishing as insectary in my garden and will have a full post on that next month!
Paper wasp nest
Polistes fastidiotus

Have you tried insect homes? Do you have a winning design?


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