Insect / bee hotels and nestingboxes

Insect hotels and bee hotels can serve as potential habitats for arthropods including bees, wasps, lady beetles, spiders and moths. Nesting boxes can serve as places for birds to create safe, predator-free nests. The ‘hotels’ and boxes can be simply constructed, ideally from natural materials, on large or small scales, to support our local ecologies and small creatures. 

Name of NbS:

Insect/Bee Hotels/Nesting Boxes

Type of NbS

Ecosystem protection/Engineered interventions (not using vegetation)

Location

Building/single site

Relationship to Indigenous knowledge

The creation of habitats to support and protect our insects, bees and birds, is aligned totally with an Indigenous world view. In Oceania, the Indigenous world view is that people exist in a reciprocal relationship with the land (Dickie, 2005). Nature is sacred, the source of all life, and humans have a responsibility to protect it. Often, Indigenous communities are aware of the health and movement of their local birds, bees and insects, and can tell if the populations are declining or in trouble. Creating habitats on this scale is a simple, cost-effective solution.

Climate change benefits
  • loss of food production
  • increased pests / weeds
  • Flooding
  • changes in rainfall 
  • Changes in phenology 

Insects, birds and bees are being negatively impacted by climate change, and are an essential part of our planet’s ecosystems. Humans rely on pollinators to regulate and sustain our environments and natural world. Without pollinators, the planet’s plants suffer. Our plants regulate carbon dioxide and oxygen, and we can’t survive without them.

Climate change is seriously affecting our pollinators, by changing seasons, altering habitats and altering the scent of plants. Helping bees, insects and birds however we can is a genuine, essential way of addressing climate change.

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Societal/socio-cultural benefits
  • Food security & quality 

Building an insect or bee hotel, or a nesting box, should be a simple, carbon-neutral way to engage people with biodiversity and conservation. Making and monitoring them is a good activity for kids, and people of all ages and skillsets. Being able to be in nature and engage with it has been proven again and again to be good for people’s health.

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Ecological and biodiversity benefits
  • Aesthetic value / artistic inspiration
  • Biological control (regulation of pests and disease)
  • Pollination 
  • Habitat provision

Pollination services are a frequently overlooked component of urban ecosystems. As cities look to become more sustainable and incorporate more urban green spaces, supporting pollination can be a minimal cost, high reward strategy (Hane & Korfmacher, 2022). 

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Reductions in global bee populations are threatening the pollination benefits to both the planet and people (Barbour et al., 2021). Pollination is an essential part of our planet’s biodiversity, with a large majority of our plants relying on pollination to reproduce. Bees are our biggest pollinator, visiting over 90% of the world’s top crops (Barbour et al., 2021).  [/expand]

Technical requirements

Creating bee hotels, insect hotels and nesting boxes is simple – they can be small interventions, as simple as making holes for creatures to crawl into, or beautifully crafted miniature houses. 

Issues and Barriers

Insect hotels may serve as “population sinks” for native bees because they can harbor parasites and pathogens, and encourage different insect species to nest in the box. This cohabitation may actually increase parasite visitation (Barbour et al., 2021)

Opportunities

There are ample opportunities for this strategy in Oceania. Insect & bee hotels, and nesting boxes can be on small scales – in private homes, workplaces, or on bigger scales – incorporated into large scale or urban design projects. Because they can be so simple, they are an effective, low cost way to encourage a wide range of people to participate and create. 

Financial case

There’s a strong financial case to incorporate some kind of insect/bee hotel or nesting box in architectural and urban design projects. They are such a simple, low cost way to support the tiny creatures that contribute so much to our ecologies and biodiversity. 

Simple interventions
References