Tuesday, 19 June 2012
The University of Worcester is doing its bit to help Britain's threatened wild bees with the introduction of two five-star 'bee hotels'.
The large wooden structures provide the perfect home for a number of important bee species, allowing the insects to check in and make their nests.
Of the 250 species of bee found in the British countryside there is a specialist group which nest in small cavities, such as cracks in walls, hollow plant stems and beetle holes in dead wood. However, changes in land management and agriculture mean these cavity nesting bees often struggle to find enough places to nest. Bee hotels can provide them with a suitable alternative -providing them with nesting sites to start the next generation of bees.
Dr Duncan Westbury, Senior Lecturer in Plant Environmental Biology, said: “Solitary bees are very important for crop pollination as a single mason bee can visit 15 apple flowers a minute, setting around 2,500 apples a day, compared to 50 flowers set by a honeybee. These bees are also important for wild flower pollination, such as hawthorne, which in turn benefits other species, including many of our declining song birds.
“However, this is not to say that the honeybee isn’t also extremely important and here at the University of Worcester we also have a hive for honeybees.”
The ‘bee hotels’ consist of bamboo and cardboard tubes of different diameters, arranged in a wooden box, and can accommodate hundreds of bees at any one time. They were donated to the University by Robin Dean of the Red Beehive company and have been located on the St John’s Campus at the University of Worcester.