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​Initiative To Save The Bees ‘Could Do More Harm Than Good’

Vivienne Kelly

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​Initiative To Save The Bees ‘Could Do More Harm Than Good’

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

A council in the UK has passed a planning condition that requires all new buildings higher than five metres to include 'bee bricks'.

These bricks come with special holes to provide space for bees to nest and hibernate.

Bee populations have reportedly been declining in Britain since the 1970s, with 13 species of bee being lost in the UK since 1990 and a further 35 are under threat of extinction.

The bee bricks initiative would aim to partially counteract the effects of habitat destruction and changing land use.

Scientists, however, are split on the effectiveness of such measures, warning they could attract mites and breed disease.

Adam Hart, an entomologist and professor of science communication at the University of Gloucestershire, said that sometimes 'well-meaning interventions can have unwanted consequences'.

"It would be good to have much more research on all of these 'bee hotels' so bees can get the maximum benefit from people's desire to help them," he said, according to The Guardian.

Dave Goulson, a professor of biology at the University of Sussex, said that while the bricks are 'probably better than nothing', the shallow holes are likely not deep enough to be the 'ideal homes for bees'.

"Bee bricks seem like a displacement activity to me," he said.

"We are kidding ourselves if we think having one of these in every house is going to make any real difference for biodiversity. Far more substantial action is needed and these bricks could easily be used as 'greenwash' by developers."

Despite the lack of consensus, the councillor who first suggested the idea, Robert Nemeth - who also happens to be a beekeeper - suggested it's better to do something rather than nothing.

"It's going to take some years yet to establish the degree of effectiveness of bee bricks, but it's heartening to know that studies are under way," he said.

"What is definite though, is that carrying on with the status quo of ignoring nature on many new-build properties is a biodiversity diversity of the highest order."

Topics: News

Vivienne Kelly
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