A Belgian city has opened a hotel for unusual customers: insects

The Belgian municipality of Daurn, which is close to Antwerp, did not want to draw businesses or tourists when it opted to construct its new hotel. Instead, beetles, wood-eating insects, dragonflies, butterflies, and bees are preferred visitors.

Humans have developed an addiction to light that is available 24 hours a day, and some of them are suffering as a result. A researcher has revealed the private dialogues of the cells.

The “bug hotel” in Dauran, which debuted in July, is a part of a movement in Europe being spearheaded by educational institutions, environmental groups, and local governments to find novel approaches to protect biological variety and raise awareness. Plants are being placed on building rooftops in Switzerland’s Basel and other Swiss cities, and organisations in Portugal, Bulgaria, and Romania are attempting to establish natural landscapes where wild plants and animals can flourish. They are already preparing to add more insect habitats in Dauran.

Given that they make up nearly 80% of all living things on earth, scientists contend that insects are crucial to the maintenance of biological variety in the natural world. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, pollination by insects, including bees, is necessary for roughly 90% of wild plants and 75% of major agricultural crops (WWF). Insect populations have drastically declined in recent decades as a result of modern agriculture, deforestation, and harsh weather patterns working together.

Approximately a third of insect species are in danger of going extinct, and more than 40% of them are in decline, according to a 2019 article in Biological Conservation Monthly. Some scientists anticipate that by 2030, a fifth of all insects may be extinct.

Insect lodgings

One of the uncommon initiatives that resulted from such discoveries is the creation of insect hotels by universities and conservation organizations in Europe in collaboration with local groups and educational institutions. In actuality, these structures operate more like apartment buildings. Insects lay their eggs in various “apartments,” bringing nourishment for the young, such as pollen from surrounding flowers. Insects use the structures to hibernate during the chilly winter months.

In the UK, Manchester Metropolitan University used salvaged materials to construct an insect hotel on their land in collaboration with neighborhood groups and educational institutions. A hotel for insects has been constructed in a train station west of Hamburg by the German railroad firm Deutsche Bahn. A hotel for insects and beehives was constructed inside the four-star Thon Hotel in Brussels; this year’s honey production was over 42 kilos.

For humans, insects might not be a desirable aspect of a hotel. However, Kelly Gallia, who is in charge of the venue’s green initiatives, noticed that at the Thon Motel, which has eco-licensing, visitors virtually always want to know more about the insect hotel.

Environmental issues have risen to the fore in recent years as green political parties have garnered support across Europe. In Flanders, the Flemish-speaking region of northern Belgium where Dauren is situated, the ministry of the environment has released a plan to reduce insecticide use by half by 2030 and implement educational activities on the importance of insects to local ecosystems.

In May, in advance of Bee Week, Flanders’ Environment Minister Zuhal Demir posed for a magazine cover coated in bees. Actress Angelina Jolie posed for a comparable National Geographic photo session last year.

The insect motels serve as a reminder to the locals of their significance in addition to housing the six-legged reptiles. According to Ruth-Marie Hanks of Greenpeace Belgium, “These hotels are useful for increasing awareness among people that they can do something in their gardens and balconies to protect pollinating insects.”

The 11-meter-long, recycled-wood bug motel in Daurn, according to its creators, is the biggest of its kind in Belgium. It is discovered in a nearby graveyard, and the nearby meadow, which is growing wild, gives the insects a plenty of food.

The mayor of the town, Tyrek Skris, said that some of the older members of the neighborhood initially objected to the tall grass growing next to the graves but have since grown accustomed to it.

When Mikael Delgrange, an environmental specialist employed by the municipality, showed off the straw beds and pine cone shelters for the hotel one day in mid-July, he added, “You don’t have to clean anything, you just have to leave it to it.”

mimic nature

The greatest insect hotels mimic nature, according to Jens d’Hasselier, a researcher at Natuurpunt, the largest nature preservation organization in Flanders who specializes in wild bees. Wood beetles in the wild bore holes in the trunks of dead trees when they emerge from the egg. Then, in these burrows left behind by the beetles, reside solitary bees, a species that does not maintain hives but is regarded as a crucial pollinator.

Insect hotels are simple to overlook. Different species of bees prefer holes with varying dimensions, occasionally even ones that are less than 3 mm. The wrong-sized holes won’t draw the correct kind of bees, and it might be harmful if the wood shavings from the electric drill used to drill the holes end up inside the burrow. In the presence of wood shavings, however, bees will emerge from their burrows with just three of their four wings and swiftly lose the other two, according to D’Haslire.

An attraction for parasites

In addition, parasitic insects like parasitic bees and flies can be drawn to these living areas. Studies have shown that constructing numerous close nesting locations, such as an insect hotel, may actually hasten the decline in bee populations because parasite insects eat the pollen that other bees acquire, killing the young bees. According to D’Hasselier, parasite insects do not damage the hotel’s construction, and when other insects pass away, new insects will move in to the abandoned hotel.

When insects in the area make their homes in cooler months, Dawn’s bug hotel has few guests throughout the summer. According to Skris, the city intends to construct a new insect hotel in a different graveyard.

Insect hotels won’t be sufficient to stop the loss of biodiversity. Environmentalists claim that without major treatment, the damage might be permanent.

Nevertheless, others claim that starting small is helpful.

Major policy shifts frequently appear far off, according to Hanks of Greenpeace Belgium. Sometimes it’s beneficial to consider what you can do in your garden this summer.

By Editor

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