Bee & Bee
Most species of bee in the UK 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 species nest below the ground, while others nest in cavities in old plant stems. Females create individual 'cells' inside the stems 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 warm summer months. The offspring hibernate over winter and then chew their way out of the nest and emerge as adults around April/May.
One way of supporting solitary bees in gardens / outdoor spaces is with 'bee hotels', which are designed to provide more of the nesting sites that these bees need (generally in the form of a variety of different types of holes).
Name: Air Bee & Bee
Year(s): 2022 -
Focus? Solitary bees
Results? Awaiting data
Note: If you remember a project with this title from a few years ago - you're right. An MSc project based at Sussex was run in association with the Buzz Club, and project lead Xavier McNally produced a fantastic guide to solitary bee habitats, which you can find here.
We are now expanding the projects under this name, since we get so many enquiries about solitary bees. It's time to bring back the Bee & Bee! 🐝🏡📋🐝
There is huge variation in bee hotel designs available.
The Bee Hotel Survey - new for 2022!
One of the Buzz Club's main goals is to look at wildlife gardening activities with a scientific eye; testing out what really works, and what needs adjusting for the complexity of real garden environments. We often get asked questions about bee hotels, such as what are the 'best' type, where to keep them, whether to clean them or not, and so on. We also know that in general 'bee hotels' do work (i.e. bees use them), but there is so much variation in the types of hotels available, it is difficult to give more than quite general recommendations.
Is there an 'ideal' bee hotel out there?
There are a lot of parts to that question - from target species, to effectiveness of construction, and even what the experience is like for the humans who put them up. So we want to know how your bee hotels are doing, or even why the bee hotelier lifestyle hasn't been for you. To this end, we've set up a bee hotel survey, and are looking for participants!
Note: There are two versions of this questionnaire, because we are using Google Forms, and this affects how we can ask for photos of your bee hotels. Basically, if you want to be able to upload photos directly through the form, you will need to have a google account (i.e. be signed in to your gmail / google drive), because of how it handles the security around uploading images. If you don't have a google account, you can still send us photos if you want to, but it will need to be via our email, and you'll need to use the non-gmail sign-in version.
Directly upload photos (if you have them); requires signing in via google / gmail. Saves your progress.
Just answer the questions; no sign in needed. Will need to send photos to us seperately if you have them. This one also does not save your progress (if you close the browser window).
A spreadsheet version.
Please note that the file may open in ‘protected view’ when you’ve downloaded it – this is because it has come from an internet location. This can cause validation errors with newer versions of Office (see the Microsoft Support Page on these errors).
The file should be fine, although do give it a quick scan with your virus-checker if you’re uncertain!