Out of the 270 bee species in Britain 250 are lone buzzers and in the city of Brighton and Hove mandates have been created to use “bee bricks” in all future buildings over 5 meters helping to encourage the lone species to nest inside.
The bee bricks look like a block of swiss cheese but in reality, are just normal bricks with small cavities similar to a typical bees nest. Decaying brick buildings and crumbling cavities have been found to be the best habitat for bees, so Brighton and Hove are planning on using this simple design to offer a safe and secure place to stay for these important pollinating insects.
This isn’t the only brick they’ve mandated, there are also “swift bricks” which offer the same comforts but for nesting swifts, tiny birds that spend migrate to Africa after spending a few months in the UK.
Robert Nemeth, the town councillor behind the movement said:
“Bee bricks are just one of quite several measures that really should be in place to address biodiversity concerns that have arisen through years of neglect of the natural environment,”
Not everyone is on-board with the idea, some say there is a lack of evidence that they are large enough for a bees nest or that the holes would have to be cleaned to prevent other harmful insects like mites from living in there.
Studies have shown that bees will seal the holes when hibernating and scientists add that mites will disappear after a season or two and they won’t need to be cleaned.
Lars Chittka, professor in sensory and behavioural ecology said “naturally possess hygienic behaviour that would allow them to mitigate the risks at least to some extent, or that they would assess the holes’ states before using them, which should to some extent counterbalance the risks that come with such long-term nesting opportunities.”.
What do you think of the ‘bee bricks’, are they a good or bad idea?