Environmentalists and master builders

Environmentalists and master builders

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Without insects like wild bees, not much would happen in terms of the pollination and reproduction of plants – we all know that.

What are wild bees, in fact?

Unlike honeybees, which live in a hive with up to 50,000 other bees, wild bees live alone. They can nest, i.e. lay their eggs, in all kinds of places: they may use rotting wood, the stalks of plants or even empty snail shells. Mostly, bees need nectar from flowers as food – and so they carry the pollen from one flower to another as they fly from flower to flower. However, unlike honeybees, which turn the nectar into honey to provide a food supply for the winter, wild bees don't make honey but consume the nectar straightaway.

How can we help wild bees?

By creating additional nesting places for them in the garden and by sowing native flowers where they can collect nectar. For example, simply use a drill to make holes in a thick piece of wood. But the holes must be at least 15 cm deep. Please ask an adult to help you.

Let's build a wild bee hotel!

You will need:

• Reeds or bamboo cane
• 1 small hand saw or a pair of secateur
• 1 empty tin or a piece of plastic pipe
• Wire or string

And here's what we do!

Cut the canes or reeds into 15 cm lengths using the hand saw. It's important that the ends are smooth and clean. Then fasten them together and put them in the tin or plastic pipe. Seal one end, because bees only lay their eggs in dark tubes.

Finally, hang up your bee hotel in a dry place where it will be protected from the rain.

This diagram shows you what a cane or reed like this looks like inside:

If a hole has been sealed up, that means a wild bee has laid its eggs there.

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