Scientists launch national survey on bee hotels to boost numbers
- Credit: Bee Saviour Behaviour
Scientists have launched a national survey on bee hotels in a bid to support the UK's population.
The survey asks the public how they build, place and maintain their bee hotels, with data to be used to improve guidance for achieving busier bee hotels.
Previous findings from a pilot survey suggested that a third of bee hotels are not in working condition due to being poorly installed or not well designed to meet bees' needs.
Dan Harris, founder of the Norwich-based project Bee Saviour Behaviour who are running the survey alongside the Earlham Institue, said: "When you consider the potentially hundreds of thousands of bee hotels there must be in UK gardens, if we see more beneficial bee hotels then the knock-on effect this would have for pollinators would be huge.
"As a simple citizen step, a bee hotel can be the resource to create a movement of bee saviour behaviour in our towns and cities.
"The key is ensuring that the bee hotels are brilliant for bees, and that means in design and installation.
"Our survey will establish how people are using their bee hotels to identify good practice, but also to better target community education around how to ensure the public, and the bees that use them, are getting the most out of their bee hotels.
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"Busier bee hotels are a beautiful invitation to connect with nature in your own patch, and a greater understanding of the life cycle of solitary bees can only bring a greater admiration for these incredible pollinators."
Mr Harris added the biggest challenge facing UK bees is the impact of humans on the environment, with bees contributing to one in three bites of food we eat.
Dr Will Nash, postdoctoral scientist at the Earlham Institute, said: "Lots of the science we do involves analysing data to understand more about the natural world.
"At its heart, that's what this citizen science project is all about - getting that crucial data about bee hotels to really understand how they're being used by the public.
"We want to use this data to help nature-lovers make more welcoming and effective spaces for the bee populations they live alongside."