It’s a new start to the season for us and for our newly-hatched wild bees. Our BeeHome project makes an active contribution to the bio-diversity here at the Parco San Marco. Together with the Zurich-based Wildbiene + Partner Ltd, and their sponsor the WWF (World Wildlife Fund), we are very pleased to have been entrusted with the care for a wild bee hive.
Our set-up population consists of around 15 mason bees which, from now on, will inhabit our hotel park. In addition, we also have a wonderful insect colony where these useful little creatures can make a place to stay in order to breed during the winter months. Our BeeHome project and the insect colony both contribute to the maintenance of the ecosystem as the insects’ habitations also benefit from the park’s plants and flowers. The hard-working insects pollenate the flowering plants across the park which gives them access to unlimited amounts of pollen with which to grow and feed their offspring.
In the “insect hotel”, different types of insect can find a place to make their nests and pass the winter including ladybirds, mason bees, leaf-cutter bees, face-mask and wool-using bees as well as lace wings and earwigs. These insects do an especially important job for the plants in our park; the wild bees conscientiously pollenate our flowers and fruit trees. Other useful help comes from insects that decimate pests including aphids, and all without the need for chemicals! So it’s with great gladness that we give our park’s little helpers the optimum conditions and habitat they need. Please do not touch the insect colony!
The mason bee species differs from the honey bee species through its peaceful nature. Unlike the normal honey bee, they do not produce honey. Because our wild bees are classed as solitary bees and do not live in colonies, they do not have a territorial defence mechanism against potential attackers. Our industrious bees, being a solitary species, seek to protect solely their offspring. . Concerns about the bees being over-intrusive are largely unfounded as this particular species has no interest in sweet delights such as ice creams or cakes which generally attract honey bees, wasps or hornets.
The human race is largely to blame for many species’ extinction. Which is why it relies ever more heavily on our active support for the protection of nature. Many forget that we are also extremely dependent on these diverse habitats and their bio-diversity. Our food, clothing, medicine and manufacturing materials come from nature. Vital habitats for animals (and ultimately humans as well) are lost as a result of imbalanced agriculture and environmental destruction. In Switzerland alone, a worrying decline of over half the wild bee population has been recorded which is why the species is now on the “red list” of endangered species.
Insects such as bumble bees, butterflies and bees help to regulate pests naturally. Pesticides on the other hand have a harmful effect on our health and that of animals. Infertility, birth defects and lingering, chronic diseases are just a fraction of the numerous side effects that are already known about. So with pesticides, there’s no insects. And so no trees, flowers or vegetables become pollenated… And what happens then?
Our BeeHome nesting box, courtesy of Wildbiene + Partner AG contains specially selected materials and fillings. Numerous nesting zones provide the wild bees with the necessary protection for a species-appropriate habitat. The hive is ideally matched to the needs of its inhabitants. On a technical note, the colony has been purpose built using wood that has been drilled along its length instead of drilled branches – it was found, after research, that the drilled branches allowed too much moisture to penetrate and this caused excessive damp for the nests. The hand-made BeeHomes have been created with attention to detail, taking into account species-specific requirements. We hope that our young start-up population will feel at home very soon and that we will be rewarded by their biodiversity. And last but not least, we wish our honoured guests a fantastic stay in the heart of the fascinating natural beauty of Lake Lugano. Where pleasure, lifestyle and respect for breath-taking nature come together.
More detailed information on each of the projects can be found at: