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Air Bee 'n' Bee

Project Lead: Linda Birkin

Contact: BuzzClub@sussex.ac.uk

Running: March - September 2024

Why choose this project?

Most of UK's bees are solitary and do not live in colonies like bumblebees or honeybees. They are very important pollinators, but tend not to be as well-known about as their social relatives. Many are 'cavity nesting' bees, with the females creating individual 'cells' inside tunnels using mud or leaves, into which they lay an egg. Each cell is then packed full of pollen, providing food for the larvae as it grows over the Summer. The offspring then hibernate to emerge in Spring as new adults. 

Making bee hotels is a popular wildlife gardening intervention, since a lot of natural cavities (such as old plant stems) are often 'tidied' away in our management of green spaces. Bee hotels aim to readdress this balance and there is a huge variety in the designs out there, using materials from bamboo to bricks.

 

The Buzz Club often gets asked what the 'best' bee hotel is - so let's find out!

In 2023 we started to investigate the effects of using a mix of different sizes of holes in bee hotels, and this project is continuing in 2024.  Do we get the same visitors regardless of room size, or do some have specific requirements?

How can you help?

Project participants will need to drill different sized holes into a piece of wood, hang it up, and see who visits. Record any 'capped' holes (and what material has been used), and any bees seen making themselves at home.

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What do you get out of it?

By taking part in this project, you will be helping to work out if there is a 'best' way to make a bee hotel. Are there some species whose needs are being overlooked by typical designs, and can we do better? Hosting a bee hotel is a great way to get up close to these charismatic creatures, find out what different species call your garden home, and improve your identification skills.

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