“Insects, worms and other small animals that carry out vital functions for life on earth have declined by 45 percent on average over 35 years, threatening human health, water quality and food supplies…”
-Steve Connor, “Vital invertebrates decline by 45 per cent, study finds,” independent.co.uk, July 2014.
In past years, the decline of bugs has effected the economy and environment at a pace that most people feel is easy to ignore. No immediate danger has been posed to anyone and so they go about their lives not knowing the truth behind the decline of many needed species of insects. I have personally been aware of how much we actually need certain if not all insects for the earths ecosystems to continue to function properly. Without insects, the ecosystems that we all live under would crash as we know it, and since starting this project and researching the different insects and what they do for the Earth, I feel i have become more aware at how much we actually need mosquitos, bees and any other insects we see scuttling around. I personally would rather be anywhere than in the vicinity of a Bug Hotel filled with all kinds of creepy insects, but I don’t have a specific problem with some bugs like mantis’, bee’s and ladybugs.
I enjoy spending time with my family in our backyard and hearing the cicadas in the summertime, or seeing the honey bee’s pollinating the flowers with their fat bodies and fluffy legs covered in the pollen. It’s moments like these that would be gone forever if bug population reached alarmingly low rates, not to mention that we would lose a lot of products we use on a daily basis.
Without bees, there would be no honey, without mosquitos, bats and other insect eating mammals would have no primary source of food and would too start to become extinct. Saving something as small as an insect should always be on the back of someone’s mind when they are thinking about their future living on this earth.
For my bug hotel, I made a simple box-like design with one open side filled with little parts of logs and the back wall containing 4 inch holes for any bug or bee that wants to burrow to do so. Aside from the wood given to us in the shop, the wooden logs are pieces cut from a black walnut tree in my backyard, and some chicken wire to keep the logs safe from any rodent that may want to nest as well. My hotel was mainly focused on the aspect of the burrowing holes, so I decided to not make that the main aspect as to try and better protect the insects while still having people be able to observe them. Since this structure has a flat surface, it is intended to be mounted on the ground on potentially cinder blocks or stepping stones so the water doesn’t rot away the wood. I picture this structure mounted near a building, in an area that can be used for a garden or surrounded by a lot of plants and flowers so the bees and insects can feel at home in their more natural habitat. The only maintenance needed for this will to be to remove the chicken wire and clean out any debris that build up between the logs, and also, if they so chose, one can fill the burrowing holes with some paper tubes to make it specifically for mason bees. If that is done, they will need to be cleaned out once the eggs hatch in the spring time or when the paper becomes fully covered in wax or leftover debris the bees will bring. If the holes are left as is, since bees won’t generally enter a non covered hole, one would just have to make sure the burrows are vacant and clear our any debris that may lay within.
To wrap up the summary of my hotel, I originally had chosen to focus on mainly bees, but once I came to the finish line of this project, the main aspect of the hotel, the larger area filled with logs, became the most visually attractive, so I decided to just focus on saving any and all bugs that have become part of the decline in species in the part 35 year.
As a final reflection, looking back at everything that was created in the past three weeks of this class, I feel that I have grown as an artist and as a person through breaking out of my comfort zone. The initial sculptures that were made of paper seemed like the hardest pieces to make because of the flimsiness of the paper and the delicacy needed in putting it together with either glue or tape. Once we got to wood, I knew it would be a difficult task, but I thought it was be a lot easier to create a good sculpture that would be pleasing to the eye and fit the projects expectations. I was right in the sense of cutting the wood, it was much easier to get cleaner cuts in the wood than in the paper, but the construction of the wood involved more amounts of math and perfect measurements than with paper. It’s easier to make less pristine cuts and still have the project look pleasing when using paper. I felt my wood-shop piece would have been much stronger if I had been more careful in taking the measurements and making sure that they were even with each other. I made the most of what I had, and though I still feel its a strong piece, I would like to go back and remake it with more time a effort.
To conclude, this project and this class has helped me realize all the things I am capable of as a person and an artist. I am much more comfortable just sitting and drawing in my sketch book with colored pencils, but being forced, in a sense, to create something “off the page” has really improved my creative thinking and my ability to love and be proud of what I create, even if I or anyone else has critical thoughts against it.