Project Proposal

Insect Hotels

 Project Participants: Emily Romig and Blake Fajack

Project Overview:

Pollinators, especially bees have been declining in numbers since 2006. At least three quarters of all food crops depend on insect pollinators to grow and flourish (Klein et al 2007). Pollinators represent not only an incredibly important group of insects that helps us sustain our but they are also vital as overall environmental health indicators. Bees specifically help pollinate apples, nuts, seasonal fruit such as blueberries and strawberries, alfalfa, and guar beans (Holland 2013).  My project is directly aimed at providing habitat for pollinators, a vital part of our agriculture and environment. The main goals of my project include construction and placement of what are coined as “bee hotels.” In all reality these structures work well for various pollinator insects and not just Hymenoptera. Although these habitats will not be providing homes for typical honeybees, which require bee boxes as they are eusocial, other bees and pollinators will be able utilize these spaces.

Overall the design I have in mind is quite simple. After looking at various mock-ups, and speaking with Blake Fajack about design plans we have seem to have come to a low cost plan. In order to accommodate pollinators and keep prices low, the bee hotels will be constructed of old plastic bottles filled with bamboo sticks that are cut to the appropriate length. Some have already been constructed and are ready to be put up. Blake has already been approved for certain areas that we could place the bee hotels and I will continue to meet with him about placement in light of the other project happening at the Meek Retention Pond.

Project Outline:

Main Project Goals

  1. Gather Background information:
    1. Importance of Pollinators
    2. Species that would utilize new habitats
    3. Insect data from collection in Delware
  2. Design Prep and Layout
    1. Finish assembling hotels that have already been started construction on
    2. Review other designs and how they would work with materials we already have
    3. Gather other potential needed materials
    4. Begin construction of adapted designs
  • Hotel Placement
    1. Use the areas already set aside to put up the oldest constructed hotels
    2. Work in conjunction with Meek Rentention Pond Project to see if that is a possible location
    3. Work with off campus groups to see if there would be potential to place any extra hotels on sites around the community
  1. Post Placement data collection
    1. Determine if the hotels are being used
      1. What insects
      2. How many insects
  • Diversity in orders
  1. Assess the longevity of current hotels
    1. Do repairs need to be done
    2. Is there a better design that should be used to accommodate specific constraints that come up

Annotated Bibliography

Holland, J. “The Plight of the Honeybee.” National Geographic News. 10 May 2013. Web.

This article discusses honeybees in particular and how they have been rapidly declining over the past decade. It also calls attention to the importance of pollinators in agriculture. The article also examines how pesticides are harmful to many pollinator species because of their impacts on pollinator nervous systems.

Klein, A.M. Vaisseiere, B. E. Cane, J. H. Steffan-Dewenter, I. Cunningham, S. A. Kermen, C. Tscharntke, T. Importance of pollinators in changing landscapes for world crops. Proc. Biol. Sci. 274, 303 (2007).

The authors collected data to determine actually how dependent the agricultural industry is on insect pollination around the world. They also analyzed global food production to determine exactly what proportions required pollination by insects. They found that pollinators are essential for at least 13 major crops.

“How to Make a Bee Hotel” Friends of the Earth. Web

More specific directions on how to build bee hotels including: which materials are best, placement of the hotel, how to install them, and other general cocerns.

MacIvor, J. Scott, and Laurence Packer. “‘Bee Hotels’ as Tools for Native Pollinator Conservation: A Premature Verdict?” Ed. Fabio S. Nascimento. PLoS ONE 10.3 (2015): e0122126. PMC. Web.

The article examines possible pitfalls with bee hotels and the like. With general societal concerns about bee declines many others have taken to creating bee hotels, the data that they gathered will be useful in determining if our bee hotels are actually a negative instead of benefiting pollinators.

Shae, J. “Building Your Own Bee Hotel” National Geographic. Web.

The info graphic from this site gives details and general layout for basic bee hotel designs.

Tylianakis, J.M The Global Plight of Pollinators. Science: 339. 6127: 29 March 2013. 1532-1533. Web.

Tylianakis gives a comprehensive perspective on how pollinator decline will disrupt the ecosystem and food industry. This is why pollinator decline is starting to become a pollination crisis. Due to the decline of native wild pollinators, crops are becoming more dependent of managed honeybees, which are not able to truly compensate for the growing losses of native pollinator species.

Blake Fajack: previous work with bee hotels and bat boxes

Dick Tuttle: Delaware Naturalist

Luke Steffen: possible collaboration partner for meek retention pond

Ohio Wesleyan Zoology Museum Collection: insect collection data will be useful in determining what major orders are most common in the area.

2 Responses to Project Proposal

  1. John Krygier says:

    Very good proposal. I think it is important to consider the design of the habitats so that they fit the needs of the insects, but also are durable and don’t look bad. The latter is always a concern with stuff on campus. Thus I worry a bit about the plastic bottle model. Is there an alternative design that does not involve plastic?

    Document the locations of the habitats and think about what locations on campus would be most likely to attract pollinators. You can also compile suggested future locations.

    Important to include followup checks if the habitats are being used; what is the plan for this after this semester? Are there guidelines or recommendations or examples of this kind of pollinator data collection? Could this be a continuing project for students, for a class, etc.

    Feedback from Carreno as he is the bug guy on campus?

  2. John Krygier says:

    One more thing: put together a timeline and include when you will complete major parts of the project (this can extend into spring if that is part of your plan).

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