Ljubljana Marks World Bee Day with Plans to Help Solitary Bees

By , 20 May 2020, 15:12 PM Lifestyle
Two solitary bees Two solitary bees Wikimedia, Dûrzan cîrano, CC-by-3.0

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STA, 20 May 2020 - In line with the motto of this year's World Bee Day, Bee Engaged, the city of Ljubljana has decided to take action to help the bee population in the city flourish. It announced on Wednesday that several greens and meadows will be mowed less frequently to provide food for solitary bees. The city has also set up nest boxes in three locations.

Nest boxes have been set up in Tivoli Park, near Vojkova Street and in the Podutik borough, Luka Šparl of the Tivoli, Rožnik and Šiška Hill Landscape Park told the press today.

"Different from beehives, which are used by the honey bees, nest boxes are used by solitary bees," which are very important for pollination, Šparl said. In Slovenia, 562 solitary bee species have been recorded, among them 35 bumblebee species.

These species are very important for areas where there are no or few honey bees, said Danilo Bevk of the National Institute of Biology.

Solitary bees face the problem of ever fewer suitable nesting places, he added. Bumblebees, for example, nest in or close to the ground and their nests are often destroyed by agricultural machinery.

"Solitary bees used to nest in thatched roofs and in wood cracks." But straw and wood are now barely used as building materials. Apart from pesticides and illness, bees face the problem of not finding enough food, Bevk said.

"Grass is mowed very early nowadays and meadows are increasingly fertilised and thus fail to provide enough food to bees and other pollinators. And the climate change has also left its mark."

Apart from deciding to mow less frequently the grass in some parts of Tivoli Park and in other locations, Ljubljana also continues to encourage its residents to set up bee hives on their roofs. Ljubljana honey is of good quality, Nataša Jazbinšek Seršen of the city's environment department said.

Boštjan Noč, the head of the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association, said the association had proposed to the Environment Ministry several times to provide subsidies for green roofs.

The association also suggested the government start gifting newborns with linden tree saplings, being that lindens are a national symbol in Slovenia and also produce a lot of honey, said Noč.

Also at the event in Tivoli Park were Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak and Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković.

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