Shortlisted author Dave Goulson on building a bumblebee hotel
Picture caption: Life in the bee nest is not as harmonious as you might think
I’ve spent every spare moment these last few weeks constructing the world’s first bumblebee hotel in my garden. I’m very lucky, having just moved to a cottage with 2 acres of overgrown garden, tucked away in deepest, darkest rural Sussex. I’m trying to make the garden even better for wildlife, particularly for bumblebees, the group of endearingly large, furry and bumbling insects that I have spent the last 20 or so years studying. Hence the bumblebee hotel, although if you saw it you could be forgiven for mistaking it for a shed. The front wall of the shed has twenty bumblebee-sized holes, each of which will lead to a separate bumblebee nest box, filled with cosy bedding, once I have finished. I’m hoping that, when the queens emerge from hibernation in March, they will appreciate the superior quality of the accommodation on offer and take up residence. If all goes to plan it will give me an excuse to work from home more often, since I will be able to study the nests and learn more about the lives and loves of these creatures without going further than my back garden – bliss….
Illustration above by Dave Goulson taken from his shortlisted book A Sting In The Tale (Jonathan Cape)