Thursday, May 20, was World Bee Day, designated by the UN to draw attention to the key role pollinators play, the threats they face and their important contribution to sustainable development.

Since 2013, the Principality, in collaboration with France’s National Forestry Office (ONF), has put in place a follow-up study of pollinating insect hotels. In 2020, six bee hotels, located between Monaco and Mont-Agel, were monitored, from March to September, by an ONF technician.

Although last year’s lockdown prevented a number of surveys being carried out, particularly at the Jardins Saint Martin insect hotel on the Rock, the results are encouraging because occupancy is increasing, attracting 18 species of bees.

It should be noted that honey bees (Apis mellifera) are not included in this survey because they do not use this type of Habitat: So-called wild or solitary bees (more than 1000 species listed) are distinguished from honey bees by their organisation and do not produce honey.

Most of the wild bees live solitarily, without a queen and close to their food source, since they have a range of about ten metres. They don’t make honey either; each drop of nectar collected is carefully mixed with the pollen, forming small balls of food which are stored for future young bees – a visible clump in the insect hotel. They live less than a year and usually die in the winter, soon after laying eggs. They are not aggressive towards humans and more than half do not even have a sting.

The silent work of pollinating bees contributes to the maintenance of biodiversity and agriculture. Sometimes they pollinate only one kind of flower, which in the event of the plant’s disappearance also causes that of the pollinator, hence the fragility of the food chains.

ORIGINAL SOURCE: Monaco Government Press Service

PHOTO: The Jardins Saint Martin insect hotel