Lavasandtagebau in der Vulkaneifel
Through the extensive maintenance of green spaces, the planting of native perennials and the creation of orchards, the food supply for animals is significantly increased. Many insect species already find breeding opportunities there. Grasshopper species, for example, lay their eggs on grass, which they also feed on. Butterflies also lay their eggs on plants, where the caterpillars hatch and find immediate food. Later they can pupate there and grow into magnificent butterflies. Other insects such as B. Wild bees or digger wasps need additional structures within or near their feeding habitat in order to reproduce successfully.
Gelbbindige Furchenbiene (Halictus scabiosae) (links) und Sandbiene (Andrena spec.) (rechts) © Dr. Hendrik Albrecht

Wild bees in the ground

With the increased public awareness of insect protection, sales of so-called insect hotels have also increased significantly. Those that are not completely unsuitable provide cavities. Such cavities can be used by some species of wild bees and wasps. However, it is important to know that only around 25% of all native wild bee species nest in cavities. Wild bee houses that offer such cavities are usually used by already very common wild bee species. You can reliably find appropriate nesting aids, e.g. B. the horned mason bee (Osmia cornuta) or the buttercup scissor bee (Chelostoma florisomne). 
Two-thirds of all wild bee species build their nests in the ground in the broadest sense. The demands on the respective soils vary considerably. Some wild bees nest in the sand, while others care little about the condition of the soil as long as they can dig there. Then open areas of ground on pastures are sufficient or open ground between perennials in the garden bed. Other wild bees nest in embankments or in natural bank cliffs or cliff edges.
Ultimately, the colony-forming bumblebees also usually nest in the ground. These colonize cavities, e.g. B. result from (abandoned) mouse caves.
In order to create appropriate nesting opportunities for wild bees in residential areas, artificially created nesting mounds are often required. But consciously keeping open ground areas open also contributes significantly to the protection of ground-nesting wild bee species.

Wild bees and the climate

Climate change has a significant impact on our weather. Weather extremes such as heavy rain events, continuous rain and, in contrast, extreme heat waves and droughts have long since arrived in the here and now. These changed climate and weather conditions have negative influences on habitats. They can destroy food sources or cause changes in plant species composition in the medium and long term, meaning that food specialists in particular could face major problems. There is also a noticeable shift in the seasons due to temperature shifts over the course of the year. These shifts can shift the flowering time of plants and the hatching time of wild bees, so that the plants can, for example, B. have already faded when the wild bees hatch. The consequence: the flower was not pollinated, the plant does not reproduce and the hatched bee misses out on food. In the worst case scenario, it is a specialized wild bee that depends on this specific plant. If you look at such complex relationships, everyone should be aware that climate protection equals species protection and, conversely, effective species protection can only be achieved if the climate is effectively protected.


Wild bee hill facility
Dig up sun-exposed area, remove plant material including roots
Mix 1 m³ each of loamy soil and sand (50:50)
Apply the mixture layer by layer in a flat truncated cone shape to the dug area and compact the layers slightly
Prick the side exposed to the southeast with a spade and create an artificial edge (embankment)
Optionally delimit the area with stones
Remove emerging growth regularly
Open ground areas (beds)
Dig up sun-exposed areas and remove vegetation including roots
Mix very firm soil at least as deep as a spade with a little sand to loosen the soil a little.
Remove growth regularly
Alternative if there is a lack of space: Larger clay pots > Fill with a 20 cm diameter mixture of soil and sand and place in a sunny location Done!

Observation opportunities

Further reading and links

  • Cölln, K. & Jakubzik, A. (2016): Catalog of wasps and bees in the Vulkaneifel district as the basis for an analysis of the importance of excavations for species protection (Hymenoptera Aculeata), Dendrocopos 43: 7-39, Trier. li>


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