Bumblebees, honeybees, butterflies and other pollinating insects are in decline worldwide. So what better way to help stem their decline than by installing a bumblebee nest box in your garden? The only trouble is they don’t work.
That’s the conclusion of a study to find out if bumblebee nest boxes do the job they’re supposed to.
Researchers from the University of Stirling and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust tried out six different nest boxes. Some are available on the internet and from garden centres, while another one the researchers designed themselves.
Over their four-year study, they found that not a single commercial nest box ‘became occupied or showed any sign of inhabitation’ by bumblebees. The only box that showed some success at attracting bumblebees was an underground Heath Robinson-style box designed by the researchers.
But even this box was unreliable – at best the homemade box attracted nesting bees seven per cent of the time, but at other times the insects shunned this design entirely. Instead, mice, ants or wasps often took up residence.
Category: Nature & Environment