A friend of mine has bought a garden in Dresden recently. The previous owner has left a few strange bundles of sticks hanging around, but we can't figure out what their purpose is. Any idea?

misteryous bundle hung from tree

  • are they aromatic? (They might have lost all smell now so you may have to scratch one). – Lyndon White Apr 26 '16 at 0:29
  • witchcraft, maybe? – MissMonicaE May 10 '18 at 18:34

Those are impromptu homes for beneficial insects, from tiny bees or wasps to earwigs. They are intended as shelter, especially for overwintering, and as place to lay their eggs.

More complex structures use different materials and hole sizes, the common German term would be "Insektenhotel", English "insect hotel".

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  • Earwigs are only "beneficial" if they have enough food without chomping up your plants and flowers! But I would be surprised if earwigs found their way into "homes" like that - they prefer damp conditions to climbing walls and trees. – alephzero Apr 25 '16 at 16:41
  • @Stephie got it! In Michigan we use these for homes for tiny bees. The sticks look like bamboo, so they will have holes in them. – Bulrush May 3 '16 at 13:41
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    Note to all: Oddly enough if I don't touch my open ended garden hose long enough, I've had leaf-cutter bees and wasps make a nest in there. Hint: Keep a cap of some sort on the hose end. :) – Bulrush May 3 '16 at 13:45
  • This kind of bamboo stick nests are intended specifically to attract Syrphidae whose larvae are a great aphids predator. – Gab Jun 17 '19 at 14:20

Lots of purposes, including support for many plants (including small Eggplants, tomato plants etc - When we were growing Eggplants, they came with similar (but more expensive I suspect) sticks from the nursery. These sticks may have come with plants the previous owner bought ?

I've also used them to keep frost-cloth from touching the leaves of my plants.

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  • So they are bundled there for storage? But there are bundles hung from trees too, I'll add a photo – Joril Apr 25 '16 at 9:15
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    That is bizarre - from the second photo, those sticks are much bigger then the ones I have (the first photo did not give me an accurate impression of there size) – davidgo Apr 25 '16 at 9:18
  • Are they bamboo? – Graham Chiu Apr 25 '16 at 9:39
  • @GrahamChiu They look like bamboo, yes – Joril Apr 25 '16 at 9:46

This kind of structure (with hollow sticks) is intended for attracting Syrphidae because larvae are a great aphids predator.

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