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How to Build a Ladybug House

If you love those little red bugs that crawl across your hand in the spring, a ladybug house is the perfect project for your yard. Not only are they beautiful, but ladybugs eat garden pests like aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites. Make a simple house by nailing some pieces of wood together, then fill it with a little bit of sugary food and water to entice some cute visitors to crawl on in.


EditAssembling the House

  1. Get pieces of wood or other material to build the house. Wood is the way to go when building a home that will last the ladybugs many seasons. Cut a cedar or pine board with a table saw or get it pre-cut at a home improvement store. Plan on adjusting the length of each piece according to how big you want the ladybug house to be.[1]
    Build a Ladybug House Step 1 Version 3.jpg
    • For an average square-shaped house, cut 3 panels long and tall. These will be for the front, back, and bottom panels.
    • Cut 2 panels long and tall for the sides.
    • Finish the house with a top panel long and tall.
    • For easier houses, make use of a sturdy piece of cardboard. Thick card stock works well. Alternatively, get an old shoebox or a clay pot to skip the construction work.
  2. Sand the wood with 180-grit sandpaper to remove rough edges. Work on the wood pieces 1 at a time. While maintaining gentle pressure, slowly rub the sandpaper against the wood. Go over the entirety of each piece of wood until they all look even and feel smooth to the touch. When you’re finished, wipe the wood with a soft cloth to remove any dust.[2]
    Build a Ladybug House Step 2 Version 3.jpg
    • Wear a dust mask when sanding to avoid breathing in wood dust. Work in a ventilated area and consider using a vacuum cleaner to capture loose dust.
    • Use only fine-grit sandpaper. Anything coarser than 180-grit increases the chances of leaving big scratches on the wood.
  3. Nail the side panels to the back panel. Choose 1 of the panels to be the back end of the house. Set the side panels against it. Make sure the side panels are flush with the longer end of the back panel. Then, nail them in place with -long finishing nails set in each corner.[3]
    Build a Ladybug House Step 3 Version 3.jpg
    • You will need 4 nails total to connect these panels. Position the nails about from the edges of the boards to keep them strong.
    • Another way to connect the panels is with a hot glue gun or with wood glue. The house will not be as sturdy, but it will still be useable.
  4. Connect the front panel to the house’s side panels. Get another of the panels and position it opposite from the back panel. Line up the panel’s longer edges so they are flush with the side panels. Then, secure the front panel in place with another set of 4 nails.[4]
    Build a Ladybug House Step 4 Version 3.jpg
  5. Complete the box by nailing the bottom panel to a side. Tip the box over so 1 of the open ends faces upwards. It doesn’t matter which of the open ends you choose, so pick whatever side you like best as the bottom. Set the larger of the 2 remaining panel on top of the house, lining up the edges so they’re flush with the other panels. Then, use 4 more nails to fasten the panels together.[5]
    Build a Ladybug House Step 5 Version 3.jpg
    • Place the nails in the panel’s corners. Leave of space from the edges of the box as usual.
  6. Place a cover on the house if you desire to keep out bigger creatures. To give the ladybugs some privacy, get hinge kits with long screws. Position the hinges on the outer edge of the back panel. Rest the hinges on top of the back panel, screwing them in place with an electric screwdriver. Screw the other end of the hinges to the bottom edge of the top panel.[6]
    Build a Ladybug House Step 6 Version 3.jpg
    • You will need 4 screws for each hinge. Make sure the hinges are positioned so the house’s lid swings outwards.
    • Keeping the box open is possible, but sometimes birds and squirrels try to get inside. The lid also helps keep out water.
  7. Drill holes in the sides of the house if you need a way to let in ladybugs. Now the ladybugs need a way to get in and out of the house. An easy way to do this is with a drill bit. Use the drill bit on the front and side panels, making 2 to 3 holes per side. Keep the holes relatively small so bigger bugs like bees have a harder time getting in.[7]
    Build a Ladybug House Step 7 Version 3.jpg
    • Instead of making round holes, try cutting thin slats into the house. Slats are big enough for ladybugs but too small for bees and butterflies.
    • Depending on how you build your house, you may not need the holes. If you leave the house open, for example, the holes are unnecessary.
  8. Paint and decorate the outside of the house if you desire. Get a can of water-resistant latex paint in your favorite color, then use a big brush to color the house. Ladybugs respond to bright colors like white, yellow, and light blue. To make your house stand out, also consider painting it red and black for some ladybug fashion.[8]
    Build a Ladybug House Step 8 Version 3.jpg
    • Use decorations such as stickers to make the house unique and stand out. For example, use bright stickers in the shape of flowers to attract more ladybugs, or use round, black stickers for a house with ladybug spots.
    • Work in a ventilated area and wear a safety mask while painting, especially if you choose to use spray paint instead of canned paint.
    • Priming a new house isn’t necessary for fresh wood, especially if you sanded it first. If you ever need to repaint the house, plan on priming it first to hide the old layer of paint.

EditFilling the Inside Part of the House

  1. Place a stick or wood block in the house to create compartments. Cut a piece of scrap wood about long and tall, for instance, and fit it inside the house. Most ladybugs congregate together, but some like to crawl off on their own. The wood creates a divider that gives the ladybugs more surfaces to crawl around on.[9]
    Build a Ladybug House Step 9 Version 2.jpg
    • Make sure the scrap block or stick you choose fits inside the house, dividing the space up into separate little “rooms” for shy ladybugs.
    • Bamboo sticks are a great way to give ladybugs lot of hiding spots. Order some bamboo online, then cut the sticks into segments that fit inside the house. Position the sticks so the cut end faces the house’s entrance.
  2. Place raisins and other sweet foods inside the house. Although ladybugs mostly live on pests, they enjoy sugar from time to time. Set a couple of raisins or an apple slice in your ladybug house for the new guests. To make the raisins bigger and last longer, soak them in water for 5 minutes, dry them gently with a paper towel, then cut them in half.[10]
    Build a Ladybug House Step 10 Version 2.jpg
    • Ladybugs also love sugar water. Stir some sugar into a bowl of water, about 1 part sugar to 10 parts water. Then, soak the water up with a sponge. Move the sponge into the house for the ladybugs.
  3. Add a water source like a cotton ball dampened in fresh water. Ladybugs, especially younger ones, need a little bit of clean water to survive. Soaking a cotton ball or paper towel in clean water is a safe way to keep the house supplied. Replace it once it begins to dry out.[11]
    Build a Ladybug House Step 11 Version 2.jpg
    • Alternatively, make your own pool. For example, shape tin foil or cut up a Styrofoam plate into a shallow pool about wide.
    • Keep pools very shallow in case the ladybugs fall into it. Even small amount of water can be dangerous for them. For that reason, using bottle caps isn’t recommended.
    • If you have bamboo or other plants in them, lightly spray the house with a misting bottle. That way, the ladybugs have plenty of water without needing a pool.

EditHanging and Maintaining the House

  1. Set the house in a secure spot out of the rain. Find a spot to set the house, such as on a sturdy tree branch. Choose a covered spot with plenty of leaves, a roof, or other protections that will keep water from entering the house. Make sure the house won’t get blown over by the wind.[12]
    Build a Ladybug House Step 12 Version 2.jpg
    • The best spot for the house is up in the air, on a branch, wall, or a similar surface. That way, bugs on the ground have a harder time reaching it.
    • To secure the house, hang it on a branch or a pole with a hook. Tie it in place with a strong wire. Drill small holes as needed to thread a hanging wire through the house.
  2. Place ladybug houses near gardens to get more visitors. Ladybugs eat pests like aphids and mites, which live on garden plants. If you keep your house as close to a garden as possible, you have a better chance of attracting ladybugs to it. They may stop by as they fly to and from the garden.[13]
    Build a Ladybug House Step 13 Version 2.jpg
    • Rose bushes are popular with aphids. They also like vegetable plants, such as lettuce and broccoli. Keep the ladybug house near these plants to increase the chances of attracting visitors.
    • Ladybugs also eat pollen from some flowers and herbs. Hang the ladybug house as a shelter near dill, cilantro, geraniums, cosmos, and other garden plants.
  3. Replace the food and water sources every week. Check the house often to make sure the ladybugs are happy and healthy. When the old food starts to spoil, swap it out for something fresh. Also, refill the water source or mist the house when it dries out so the ladybugs don’t leave.
    Build a Ladybug House Step 14 Version 2.jpg
    • For example, replace raisins when they start smelling sour or become moldy. Apple slices will turn soft and brown as they spoil.



  • Sometimes ladybugs don’t come to the house. Do your best to attract them with sugary food and water. If they don’t show up at first, keep trying!
  • Customize your house! There are many ways to build a house you like, such as making the house longer or making walls out of stones and other material. Look at some store-bought houses online for inspiration.
  • For a smaller house, cut a bamboo stick in half and hang it on a wire. It’s a simple way to provide accessible shelter for ladybugs.
  • Ladybugs love nettle and other garden plants. Grow some of these plants near the ladybug house to bring more ladybugs to it.
  • Ladybugs mostly show up during the spring. They often head for warm shelters during cold months, so you can bring the ladybug house inside then.


  • Working around wood dust and paint is unsafe without proper precautions. Wear a dust mask and work in a ventilated area away from other people.
  • Keep children away from woodworking and paint supplies. For a more child-friendly option, make a less permanent house out of cardboard and tape.

EditThings You'll Need

  • Wood
  • Table saw
  • 12 nails
  • Power drill
  • drill bit
  • 2 metal hinges
  • Electric screwdriver
  • 8 -long hinge screws
  • Raisins, sugar, or other food
  • Water
  • Spray bottle, sponge, or cotton ball

EditRelated wikiHows


EditQuick Summary

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