March 25, 2023


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Though many affiliate bees with hives, bees residing alone make up the vast majority of the world’s bee species. Within the case of the UK, solitary bees make up nearly 250 of the roughly 270 species of bees. Creating appropriate habitats for them must be a precedence, researchers argued, who’re suggesting the in depth use of a bee brick.

Picture credit score: Inexperienced and Blue.

It’s no information that bees are in decline. Beekeepers and researchers have been reporting for many years the declining numbers in bees resulting from habitat loss, pesticide publicity and poor diet. Trendy constructing supplies, strategies and kinds can take away bees’ pure habitats, making cities and buildings insufficient locations for bees to dwell in.

However what if we might incorporate bee-friendly habitats into buildings? Researchers within the UK got here up with the design of a bee brick, which might be included into the stonework of a brand new constructing, and even exchange some bricks in older buildings. It’s geared toward offering a habitat to solitary bees, and it’s already being examined in cities within the UK.

A brand new house for bees

Synthetic nesting habitats for solitary bees have been studied because the early 1900s and used because the Nineteen Fifties, when using some species for pollinating business crops was first thought of. Nests have been arrange by researchers within the types of drilled holes in wooden, purple stems, lengths of bamboo, paper tubes and styrofoam containers, amongst many different supplies.

Bee Bricks imitate the hollows through which bees develop. They’ve 18 cavities molded part-way into the in any other case strong construction, and might be completed in several colours. There’s no ongoing upkeep and the bees signify no risk to the occupants of the constructing. For the crew, the brick is a “match and overlook” part of development.

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“It’s aimed to create nesting habitat for cavity-nesting bees and wasps inside sub/city communities,” the researchers wrote of their paper. “It was designed to be an integral a part of the construct, providing the twin operate of being a development materials that additionally promotes biodiversity. It ought to sit alongside present inexperienced methods as sedum roofs.”

The bricks might be put in in exterior partitions, in boundary partitions, and used inside landscaping, the researchers mentioned. They need to be arrange in direct daylight and bee-friendly crops must be planted close by to make sure a adequate meals provide. The bricks also needs to be positioned a minimum of 0.75 meters from the bottom, with no higher top restrict.

Preliminary trials of the Bee Bricks have been performed in Cornwall, south-west UK, throughout two principal websites in 2019, which have been continued till final yr. Whereas occupancy of the bricks was low, bees have been present in bricks of all colours and on each city and rural websites. Following the trials, the bricks have been included into the development and planning coverage and observe.

For instance, town of Brighton has lately stipulated {that a} Bee Brick should be included within the overwhelming majority of its new builds and Cornwall recommends {that a} Bee Brick be included in 50% of latest builds. Over 21,000 bricks have been offered in Europe, Brazil, the US, Canada and New Zealand (which equals the capability of 350,000 nesting websites), the researcher mentioned.

Nevertheless, questions stay about their effectiveness in bettering biodiversity. Dave Goulson, a professor of biology on the College of Sussex, advised The Guardian the brick holes weren’t deep sufficient to be properties for bees. He highlighted the chance of builders utilizing the bricks to greenwash the affect of the development sector and name for extra substantial motion.

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The examine was revealed within the Worldwide Journal of Sustainable Design.