You don’t see many bees in cities. Cities are built up and covered with concrete and steel. Partially because of this, bees are having problems surviving in today’s world. With colony collapse disorder, where entire beehives fall ill, and other problems, many bees are not thriving. Utrecht, in the Netherlands, is helping change this. They are planting flowers for bees on top of their bus stops.
Green roofs for bees and more
So far, they have created green roofs on top of over 300 bus stops. These roofs contain sedum with other grasses and wildflowers to help feed city bees. They chose these plants because they need little water and not much other maintenance. Bees love sedums, so builders hope that they can help the over 350 native Dutch bee species.
The green roofs do more than just feed bees. They capture fine dust from the air, improving air quality. Furthermore, they store rainwater, helping ease the city’s sewer system. They also help cool the city and provide a pleasant place to sit in the summertime. Additionally, the green roofs add more biodiversity to a city that needs it. Ongoing studies by local universities will help the city better understand their urban bees and the effects of the new bus stops.
Improving the city environment
These new bee-bus stops have more than green roofs. The benches are made of fast-growing bamboo. They are lighted with energy-efficient LED light bulbs. The bus stops are attractive. The main body is a rectangular glass box with the front open. The top looks like a fuzzy yellow haircut but more uneven than you’d want your hair to be.
Utrecht has started replacing its buses with electric buses that are powered entirely by windmills and wind turbines. They will have 55 new buses on the streets by the end of the year. The plan is to have “completely clean public transport” by 2028.
Beestings? Probably not
Utrecht plans to protect people from bee stings, and the bees will be attracted to the roofs of the stops and not the people underneath them. Dutch bees are not naturally aggressive. The city is not planning on releasing new bees but instead helping the bees that are already in the area. Half of the Dutch bee species are endangered, so this added habitat hopes to help stop them from disappearing entirely.
Residents love the new bee roofs
Residents of Utrecht can help, too. They can apply for funding that lets them turn their own roofs into green roofs and bee sanctuaries. The city is planning to build the largest bee hotel in the world. The hotel will provide a safe place for bees to rest and raise their young.
People really like the new green roofs. Dutch people understand that it is everybody’s combined fault that bee numbers are falling. They are happy to be part of the solution by making a little space in their daily lives for bees.