After a busy day pollinating, solitary bees are enjoying new digs in Barbosa, Colombia, where tiny hotels built by the Aburra Valley Metropolitan Authority provide places to get respite.
Built from wood, with acrylic roofs to offer protection from rain, the hexagonal structures are filled with different bamboo canes that allow bees of all sizes and shapes to check in for a well-deserved rest.
Hector Ivan Valencia, an assistant for the local authority’s risk management unit, said “it’s like a hotel because here they’re going to have a quiet moment in their room … before setting off again.”
During the day, assistants like Valencia use tools such as paint brushes to delicately clean the bamboo rooms.
“If this were a regular hotel, I’d be one of the people cleaning the rooms,” Valencia said.
Colombia, the world’s second-most biodiverse country, has registered 550 varieties of bees within its borders according to the environment ministry, although the true number of species could be as high as 1,445.
As elsewhere in the world, Colombia’s bees – paramount for fertilizing plants – are threatened by the use of fertilizers and pesticides, climate change and other factors.
The bee hotels were installed to protect species found in the 10 municipalities of the metropolitan area of the Aburra Valley, including Barbosa and Colombia’s second city Medellin.
Juan David Palacio, director of the metropolitan area’s environmental and transportation authority said “globally (bees) are being negatively impacted and they are losing more spaces every day.”
Yet while the plight of honey bees generates more of a buzz, solitary bee species do not have anyone in their corner, Valencia added.
“These little bees are supremely sensitive to poisons and since they don’t produce honey no one speaks up for them, so we’re coming to the rescue,” he added.