Small-scale conservation projects in Dutch cities are sowing the seeds for a bee recovery, according to a nationwide bee census. Some 11,000 volunteers took part in the annual survey, which appeared to show an increase in bee numbers in urban areas. By contrast, the Dutch countryside remains a “desert” for the imperilled pollinators, researchers warned.
Recent years have seen the Netherlands subtly adapt its cities to make them more hospitable to pollinators. Bee hotels in parks and gardens, green roofs on bus stops, and wildflowers planted along grass verges are among the tactics deployed to address declines in bee numbers.
Koos Biesmeijer, head of Naturalis, a biodiversity behind the survey, said those efforts appear to be paying off. “We think numbers are increasing in cities and that’s because of awareness among people,” he told Positive News, adding that many urbanites had made efforts to attract bees.
The Dutch bee census is now in its fourth year and Biesmeijer warned that it was too early to draw definitive conclusions. However, he said the initial results were encouraging. “If everybody does their bit, then you can really transform landscapes. If you put in habitats for them, bees can thrive.”
Image: Mika Baumeister