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Sutherland householders urged to make a bee hotel or insect house to help vital pollinators

By Gregor White

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Bee hotels can provide valuable habitat for pollinators.
Bee hotels can provide valuable habitat for pollinators.

People are being encouraged to take an hour this month now the weather is turning warmer, to build a ‘bee hotel’ for Scotland’s solitary bees.

The creatures are vital pollinators for crops widely grown in Scotland like broccoli, potatoes, oilseed rape and soft fruits.

While around 270 species of bees are found in the UK, nearly 90% are solitary species including the mason bee, the leafcutter bee, the yellow-face bee, the small scissor bee and the wool carder bee.

Ones that can be seen in gardens in Scotland include the Red Mason bee, Willughby’s Leafcutter bee, Common Carder bee, Marsham’s Nomad bee and the Chocolate Mining bee that burrows in soil.

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A simple bee hotel will provide a safe home for many of Scotland’s most common solitary bee species, providing vital nesting opportunities for bees.

Many other beneficial insect species can also use the bee hotel or insect house, so where possible, people should try and grow a variety of native plants and flowers in the garden so these important pollinators can continue to thrive.

Colin Edwards, Environment Forester with Forestry Land Scotland, said: “Mention bees and most people think of honeybees buzzing away in hives, or of giant bumblebees but, in fact, most bee species in the UK are solitary bees.

“Because they’re so important to our farmers and our gardens, it is vital that we do our bit to protect bees and give them a helping hand if we can. Building a bee hotel or an insect house is one of the easiest things you can do to help.

It’s a fun thing to make with children and they might enjoy checking the bee hotel as the seasons progress, to see if it has any occupants.”

Solitary bees are not aggressive: families and solitary bees can safely share outdoor spaces.

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