Scientists have placed 50 ‘bee hotels’ across Bengaluru so as to integrate them into urban spaces and hence spur conservation efforts. It’s a common belief in the scientific community that the extinction of bees spells doom for mankind. While some of the bee hotels, made of upcycled wood, were placed in people’s gardens, others were set up on their balconies or terraces, as per Times of India. The endeavour was carried out by scientists at ATREE (Ashoka Trust For Research In Ecology And The Environment).
The bee hotels, two-feet-tall, are designed keeping in mind the different requirements of different species of bees. The experiment also aims to find out if different species of bees living in one hotel can peacefully coexist. The scientists have begun work on sampling the bee population living in Bengaluru. As sampling has never been done before, the scientists could not reach a conclusion on how much the bee population has reduced due to human interference.
The scientists also urged people of the city to not be fearful of allowing the bees to stay in their vicinity. Solitary bees are the ones who would be coming to these hotels. They are non-aggressive unlike honeybees, which are known to attack when provoked and swarm in large numbers. The honeybees live in large swarms and would not be putting up at these hotels.
The scientists had sent out a call for participants who would be willing to partake in the project. The bee hotels are distributed free of cost and the participants have to record their observations about the structures and the behaviour of the bees in them. The researchers worked on the hotel model for 10 months and then sent out the open call on social media in April. Thereafter, they began registering people who seemed like a good fit for their pilot project.
The participants are using an app called Bee Hotel which not only allows them to record the features of the location where they have set up the hotel, the occupation of it and its abandonment. The mobile app also has an educational guide to help participants identify the different types of bees in Bengaluru.