helping bees in the city

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Savills, London

Bee bed and breakfast, Victoria

The Land Use category in BREEAM (the world’s leading sustainability assessment for the built environment) assesses buildings and development on habitat protection and creation, improvements of long-term biodiversity for the site, enhancement of ecology and long-term biodiversity management.

With this in mind, Savills asked Urban Bees to install and maintain food and shelter on its flagship office in Victoria for important, but often overlooked, pollinators; solitary bees.

We began in September 2015, planting late flowering sedums, Rubekia’s and heathers in four rectangular wooden planters. We attached two cylindrical bee hotels on stands, full of hollow tubes where solitary red mason bees can check in during the spring and lay their eggs.

In October, we planted crocus bulbs. They flowered in February, when we added primroses (Primula vulgaris) and wallflowers (Erysimum ‘orchid’).

Yellow crocuses, are followed by white and purple ones in March. All these flowers were chosen because they can survive exposed conditions on this fifth storey roof and provide essential early pollen and nectar for wild bees that are passing, when little else is blooming.

Next month, we’ll be filling the planters with flowers that provide nutritious meals for bees throughout April and May, including forget-me-nots, (Myosotis) alkanet (Pentaglottis) and the herb, rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis).  All hardy, drought resistant flowers, some of which are dismissed as weeds but the bees love them. And if the weather is warm enough the red mason bees will start to emerge from their nest, find a mate and then be looking for a new home to lay their eggs. Will they chose to check in to the ‘bee hotels’ on Savills roof?