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After four decades of working in the concrete and brick environment of the New Museums Site, UIS staff found the greenness of trees, shrubs and lawns of their new premises at the Roger Needham Building in West Cambridge, a welcome sight.

Determined to optimise their location for wildlife, staff organised a bee house-building workshop at lunchtime on Friday 17 April.

Armed with plastic bottles and plant pots, corrugated paper, short lengths of bamboo cane, bubblewrap, twine and gardening wire, they made an array of rather desirable residences for these essential insects.

Solitary bees live alone rather than in hives. Some live for just a few weeks, a very short time in which to mate, nest and lay eggs. They are an essential part of the ecosystem, contributing hugely to vital pollination as they collect nectar and pollen to feed their offspring. As the honeybee population faces an increasingly uncertain future due to parasites, disease and other factors, so the solitary bee’s contribution becomes even more essential.

With their potential for insect hibernation (spiders, earwigs, beetles, etc), the bee houses also add to the overall biodiversity of the West Cambridge site.

More than 30 bee houses were built at this workshop, with 15 being immediately located in the shrubbery surrounding the Roger Needham Building, and the rest being taken home for location in private gardens.

The workshop was also an extremely good team-bonding exercise and UIS thoroughly encourage other sections of the University to organise such. Beehouses are extremely easy to make. If you would like an instruction leaflet, please contact Al Kitching on (01223 3) 34487.