The English city of Brighton and Hove had established mandates to use bee bricks in construction, as 250 out of the total 270 species of bees are solitary buzzers. These bricks will be used in the construction of buildings that are above 5 meters in order to help these species to nest in them.
Bee bricks look like blocks made from Swiss cheese but are actually normal bricks created with tiny holes for the bees to nest. Crumbling walls and old brick buildings are an excellent habitat for the solitary bees and so Brighton and Hove are doing their best to implement this and to offer more room for pollination.
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Brighton And Hove Has Established Mandates For Bee Bricks
The city has also mandated “swift bricks” that offer homely comfort for swifts that are looking to nest. Swifts are tiny migratory birds that spend some time in the UK and move to Africa. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is in consultation with the British government to find out the ideal height and buildings for the swift bricks.
“Bee bricks are just one of quite a number of measures that really should be in place to address biodiversity concerns that have arisen through years of neglect of the natural environment,” said Robert Nemeth, the town councilor behind the initiative, first introduced in 2019.
The concept of a bee brick is quite interesting and sounds really good but not everyone agrees with the concept. They are looking at the lack of evidence that the holes are large enough for nesting bees or that they might have a population impact. They also pointed to the fact that the holes would have to be cleaned regularly to prevent mites from residing in the cavities.
There were several studies, however, that found bees building their nests inside these holes and capping the entries to hibernate. Scientists have added that harmful mites would disappear after a season or so and would not require to be cleaned on a regular basis.
Green&Blue is a great example of such a concept. They are an eco-friendly construction firm who are offering bee bricks in the portfolios of building materials. They also created a negligible cost difference between the bee bricks and the normal ones.
Lars Chittka is a professor in sensory and behavioral ecology at Queen Mary University. He stated that bees “naturally possess hygienic behavior that would allow them to mitigate the risks at least to some extent, or that they would assess the holes’ states before using them, which should to some extent counterbalance the risks that come with such long-term nesting opportunities.”