Page last updated at 15:25 GMT, Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Bee 'hotels' help boost numbers in Gloucestershire

One of the bee "hotels"
It is hoped the bees will travel to gardens across the county

Eight bee "hotels" have been built in part of Gloucestershire to try to boost the insect's numbers.

They have been placed on land around a new supermarket in Dursley and the surrounding landscape has been planted to provide a rich supply of pollen.

A Sainsbury's spokesman said they were not honeybees but solitary bees which were docile and unlikely to sting.

The bee hotels, which house hundreds of bees, are built from recycled material and sustainable timber.

'Dramatic increases'

It is hoped they will travel widely and pollinate fruit and vegetable crops throughout the county.

Some of the bees which have been given their new home around the Sainsbury's store have not been seen in the county for 10 years, a company spokesman said.

"By providing the bees with ideal conditions to live and breed they will play a major role in helping stricken populations to grow and thrive.

"Results from similar projects have seen dramatic increases in bee populations within three years.

"The rapid decline in bee population has had a severe impact upon the productivity of British crops, so we have decided to take practical steps to help.

Around 500 bees are being introduced and it is estimated they will attract a similar number over the next 12 months.

Other ecological initiatives include the collection of rain water for use in toilets and to irrigate plants and light pipes in the roof to make the best use of daylight.

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