Tell people you're going to make a "bug hotel," and you'll likely get quizzical looks. Someone might joke that they've stayed in a bug hotel, and, no thanks. Another may ask why bugs need hotels and don't we just want to get rid of them?
But bug hotels are a thing.
Jesy Yeates, of Davenport, recently constructed a bug hotel, with help from his family, that will be installed at the community garden of the East Bluff Neighborhood Association at 13th Street and Grand Avenue, Davenport.
Simply, a bug hotel is a human-made structure created to provide shelter for insects, much like birdhouses provide shelter for birds. A framework with various compartments holds material with crooks and crannies to provide insects with places to hibernate or make nests. Some bug hotels are designed to be attractive in their own right, like works of art.
The project Yeates and his family created was prompted by Davenport alderman Rita Rawson, 5th Ward, who brought the idea back from Carlow, Ireland, one of Davenport's sister cities, where she visited in June.
Rawson also is president of the East Bluff Neighborhood Association, and suggested the idea at one of the group's meetings. Yeates, who is a liaison representative from the neighboring Prospect Park neighborhood, volunteered to take it on.
"I knew my daughters would really enjoy it," he said. "They like to draw and build things."
And so they did.
Yeates went online for ideas, finding lots of photos, kits and do-it-yourself directions.
He built a wood frame with symmetrical compartments, or cubbies, that he and his helpers filled with materials such as paper egg cartons, pieces of corrugated paperboard and paper towel roll tubes. Yeates also used tree branches with holes that he drilled for easy insect access.
Finishing touches included covering the front with finely woven wire to keep the stuffing in and any animals out, paint, shingles for the roof and decorative insects in the roof peak.
Rawson supplied all the materials except the decorations.
All told, the project took about a month of working an hour here and an hour there around other activities such as soccer practice, Lego League, homework and dinner, Yeates said.
Helping Yeates were his daughters, Amalie, 10 and Kathlee, 9, his son, John, 6, and one of the girls' neighborhood friends, Jane Johnson, 10.
And why did they do it? Because, as Jane said, "Insects need a place to live."