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A collaborative citizen science project between Wits University and Tutus Loco bee hotels

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Our Aim

Goal 11 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals sets the global challenge of inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities. Central to achieving this goal is ensuring that all city inhabitants have access to urban biodiversity and reap the benefits of the many ecosystem services that it provides. Our project aims to test whether this is indeed the case for the rapidly urbanising City of Johannesburg, and we need your help to do this! By testing how biodiversity changes across the diverse landscapes of Jozi, we can start to understand what drives these differences and ultimately develop effective solutions to ensure equitable access to biodiversity for all city residents.

Solitary bees are a wonderful way to measure changes in biodiversity and ultimately ecosystem services. In addition to being conveniently housed in a bee hotel, these diverse, harmless bees are essential pollinators. Pollination is an essential ecosystem service and is classified as both a regulating and cultural service. Urban trees, residential gardens, parks and city agriculture all require wild pollinators in order to thrive. These pollination services are critical in supporting the wide diversity of urban vegetation, which further provides habitat for animal and bird diversity. It also maintains the lush urban green spaces we see around us by increasing ecosystem functioning and productivity. Consequently, by measuring how solitary bee diversity and abundance change across the city we can establish which areas are most in need of interventions to secure biodiversity and ecosystem services for all city inhabitants.

We look foward to working with you!

Dr Chevonne Reynolds 

School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences

University of the Witwatersrand

  • Set up your bee hotel in a suitable location on September 1st 2021

  • Upload two detailed pictures of your bee hotel every week for three months (until December 1st)

  • Watch and document how your bee hotel fills up with all sorts of amazing little solitary bees 

Your Role



Your Gain

  • Happy solitary bees pollinating the vegetation in your area. This is necessary to create a healthy and productive ecosystem that both you and our urban biodiversity can enjoy and benefit from. 

  • Knowledge on these wonderful little creatures that are so vital to our ecosystems and food security. You can learn so much just from sitting and watching the bees at work building their nests and bringing in food for their offspring. It is an easy and humbling way to connect to nature right in your garden!

  • The excitement of watching your bee hotel fill up.​

  • Play your part in conserving solitary bees and all of the essential services they provide. 

  • Contributing valuable data to a large-scale citizen science research project that could have important implications for socio-environmental justice in Johannesburg.

  • Joining a community of people who are excited by nature and conserving biodiversity!


Bee hotel locations 

Check out this interactive map to see exactly where the bee hotels are hosted around Jozi! We are so proud to say that 374 bee hotels have found lovely new homes just in time for the newly emerged Solitary bees to find their own homes. Find your house on the map and you may be surprised to see that your neighbours and friends have signed up too! 

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