Air Bee 'n Bee, a hotel for wild bees

Utrecht has taken the installation of a billboard tower as an opportunity to create a wonderful place for wild bees. In a 7,000-m2 wildflower meadow along the A2 highway, a billboard tower with over 200 hives for bees and butterflies also serves as a bee hotel. The area also features open sand spots and hills for bees that nest in the ground.

Stage of the project

Idea

Starting Up

Implementation

Realised

The results of the project so far

The wildflower meadow is fully in bloom and bees are finding their way to this new home with a stable food source. Already 20 different types of bees have been spotted of which a few rare bee types.
Because of the visibility we have also noticed that the bee hotel brings awareness and hopefully inspires citizens to help the bees as well. We encourage this by providing a bee education program for the elementary schools in the region.

What are specific, distinctive, strong elements in this project?

Make sure there are professionals involved for creating the correct bee hotels and wildflower meadow. It is also very important to maintain the area and bee hotels to keep it bee friendly and a permanent success. A public and private cooperation together with a strong will and motivation are necessary to create beautiful nature inclusive projects with success.

Which specific lessons, do's and don'ts would you like to share? What would be suggestions for others when preparing or implementing the project in their own city?

In designing the city, Utrecht looks for a combination of functionality (billboard tower, bus shelter) and greenification of the city, with a focus on wildlife and climate. The billboard tower is made of recycled steel and is energy efficient with automatic LED lighting. The nesting boxes were built by Utrechters with a distance to the labour market.
The 7,000-m2 wildflower meadow has been created with over 40 species of native flowers to provide a stable source of food for the bees.

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