Don’t disturb insect nests and hibernation spots

Avoid disturbing or destroying nesting or hibernating insects, in places like grass margins, bare soil, hedgerows, trees, dead wood or walls.

As well as making sure there are adequate food resources throughout the year for insect pollinators, it is also important to make sure they can nest in safety so that they and the next generation can survive overwinter, to start again in the following spring.

Most wild bees are not aggressive if they or their nests are left undisturbed. Some bumble bees nest underground in small mammal holes, under sheds and in heaps of compost or leaves which tend to be dry and dark. Others make nests above ground in thick grass or in trees.

The many different species of solitary bees have particular nesting requirements. A few species will make their nests in your lawn and many others favour bare patches of compacted soil, especially if sloping and with a southern aspect, where they can dig vertical nest tunnels.

In addition, some solitary bees nest above ground and you can provide them with hollow reeds, canes or twigs, or wooden blocks with holes of different sizes drilled into them (2mm to 10mm), or buy commercially available bee hotels, and hang them somewhere warm, sunny and sheltered about 1-2 m above the ground. Advice on making nests for bees is available from organisations like Buglife and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.  

Note: Government experts and a wide range of interested parties have helped to inform the development of these actions and the supporting advice. It is intended as good practice advice and should not be regarded as official guidance. The Bees’ Needs is hosted by The Wildlife Trusts on behalf of Defra in support of the emerging National Pollinator Strategy. The Wildlife Trusts do not own or endorse any content other than as a contributing stakeholder to the National Pollinator Strategy along with many other organisations and individuals.

Contact us at: pollinatorstrategy@defra.gsi.gov.uk

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