The Ladybird House Log
This is an easy insect house design to make to keep ladybirds snug and dry over winter, and basically consists of a log with a roof and a stand. Find or cut a short, straight length of log and then hollow it out. We use a 1¼” spade bit and this dictates the maximum length of log we can deal with – just less than twice the length of the bit. Drilling neatly from both ends towards the middle is trickier than you might think, but any messy bits will be hidden away out of sight. Add some access holes from the outside of the log and then pop a few twigs, some straw etc into the central chamber. Remember don’t let the rain run in, so drill UPWARDS INWARDS, DOWNWARDS OUTWARDS!
Add a floor to keep the contents from falling out and to keep everything up out of the damp. The roof can be a single skillion, in which case you’ll need to cut the top end of the log to the desired angle. (It’s much easier to drill before you cut, even though you’ll end up with a shorter insecthouse.)
Alternatively, you can go for a gable, in which case you can probably get away with just chamfering the top edges and leaving an “attic space”. In our experience it’s pretty difficult to cut an accurate 45° angle into a natural log, so chamfering is our preferred option and also leaves you with another potential habitat under the eaves.
Silver birch is an attractive log to use, especially as it weathers and peels. But whatever you’ve got to hand will be fine – the key to this model is to keep it looking as organic and natural as possible. We’ve even substituted a chunky length of square timber for the log. This will give a very different aesthetic but ladybirds aren’t snobbish!