4 May 2009

Build a bee house!

A week or so ago we had our Coffee House discussion about bees - see here and here - well Stroud Life covered more about the Global Bee Project - claiming it as an exclusive but of course you read about it here on Ruscombe Green first! Anyhow I've enclosed their article below by Jo Barber as it is a good summary.

In that last blog I did mention I would make an attempt at building a bee house - the photos here are the results - basically an untreated log of wood with holes drilled in 10cm deep and about 8mm diameter - then must have a lid to protect from rain - a piece of wood will do - I had this bit of metal lying in the garden - the web is full of other designs - see for example here and video here.

Stroud Life article: Unique project to save bees begins in Stroud

A UNIQUE project aims to put the buzz back into the world's vanishing bee population by enlisting the help of gardeners and farmers. The Horsley-based Global Bee Project plans to enrol people as bee guardians to watch over and report on colonies and individual species.

It has been launched to help combat the steady decline of bees due to pollution and disease. The falling world population is a huge concern because bees are believed to pollinate plants which produce a third of our food. Their disappearance could result in catastrophic global starvation.

Project leaders Jessie Jowers, 30, and her partner Carlo Montesanti, 23, both feel so passionately about the dwindling numbers that they are launching a bid to track the insects and encourage their survival.

"We're in a worldwide pollination crisis because of what is happening to honeybees and to other bees," said Carlo. "Pesticides are the main thing causing their decline and the loss of habitats."

Already the couple's embryonic scheme has attracted several grants and gained the backing of a senior scientist from the University of Gloucestershire. The Global Bee Project is interested in saving all the UK's 250-plus bee species and more than 20,000 types globally. Becoming a bee guardian is easier than beekeeping.

Jessie said: "The project is about raising awareness that there are other bees than honeybees and bumblebees. The only thing people have to do is not use pesticides and leave a wild space to increase biodiversity."

Bee guardians will be able to send the project pictures of bees in their garden or on the farm.

Jessie and Carlo, assisted by social entomologist Dr Adam Hart from Gloucestershire Uni, will then identify the bees, map their location using GPS and create a national, and in time international, bee database.

"This is an international project but at this initial stage it's about tackling the global problem on a local level," Jessie said. "We're focussing on setting everything up in the Stroud area as a pilot to replicate nationally and internationally."

Dr Hart, whose specialist interest is in insects that live together like bees, said the uncertain future of honeybees had attracted a large interest. He said: "The majority of bee species are solitary and these also perform a vital role. What I liked about the Global Bee Project was the focus on these less glamorous but no less engaging bees. The project is still developing and growing but Jessie and Carlo are really on to something."

The Global Bee Project is about to launch its website at www.theglobalbeeproject.com

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Everyone with a wooded lot nearby, or a vegetable garden, etc. should be doing this... save the bumblebee, save the world!