It finally feels like Spring is here, after the last few months of named storms colliding with each other, we have had some fine weather to get out on about. Karl While and his daughter, Ruby, did just that; they were out over the weekend on our woodland in Pallasgreen Co Limerick erecting ‘Bug Hotels’.
A bug hotel is a wildlife refuge for insects, solitary or lone bees and wasps to lay eggs, hibernate and hide from other predators. Ultimately the purpose of this is to increase pollination by providing additional habitat for pollinators. Our pollinators have had a tough time in recent years with the destruction of hedgerows, intensification of agriculture and urban sprawl to name but a few of the challenges.
According to Biodiversity Ireland (https://biodiversityireland.ie)
- There are 20,000 recorded bee species in the world. 5% of these are honey bees and 95% are solitary bees like the Ashy mining bee or hairy footed flower bee.
- In Ireland we have 97 species of bee and 76 of these are solitary bees.
- Of the 100 crops that provide 90% of the world’s food supply, 71 are pollinated by bees.
- In Europe, 84% of the 264 crop species are animal pollinated and 4,000 vegetable varieties exist thanks to pollination by bees (UNEP, 2010).
Looking to build your own ‘Bug Hotel’? There are lots of good websites that will give plenty of ideas and direction, such as the RSPB Wildlife website (https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/nature-on-your-doorstep/garden-activities/build-a-bug-hotel/)