Frequently Asked Questions
Can I host a bee hotel if I am allergic to honeybees? / Are the bees any danger to me, my children or pets?
About 90% of Solitary bees do not sting at all and therefore pose no threat to you or your pets. The rest of them will only ever sting in self defence if they are caught and physically handled. In the unlikely event of being stung by a Solitary bee, it is important to know that the sting is not the same as a sting from a Honey bee. The venom from a Solitary bee sting differs from Honey bee venom and the sting is not as sore and does not have the same lasting effects (swelling, itchiness etc). Hosting a bee hotel will not increase the quantity and activity of Honey bees around your home.
These gentle Solitary bees may teach you and your children that bees are not necessarily to be feared and that we can live in harmony with these important pollinators.
These are the facts but the choice is up to you! The most important thing is to feel safe in your home.
Can I participate in the Jozi Bee Hotel Project if I already own one or many bee hotels?
When Solitary bees find a suitable nesting place (such as the bee hotel) they seem to emit a signal to other Solitary bees telling them to come. This is why the bee hotel usually start filling up quicker after the first Solitary bees arrive.
Therefore, we think that pre-existing bee hotels will affect the results of the study as the new hotels will likely be filled up faster than they would if no other hotels were present. This idea in itself poses an interesting research question on Solitary bees! Thus, we are thinking up a complementary project to test these concepts and contribute research on Solitary bees in South Africa. So for all of you with existing bee hotels, we will keep you posted about this! Sign up for the Jozi Bee Hotel Project in the meantime and indicate that you already have a bee hotel.
Do I have to do anything to attract the solitary bees to the bee hotel?
No you do not have to do anything! The Solitary bees will find the bee hotels on their own and if they don't find the bee hotel then that is important information! We are testing where the Solitary bees choose to go and where they don't based on environmental changes across the city. So an empty bee hotel is as important to our research as a full thriving bee hotel. Please don't tamper with the bee hotels and put any food etc near the holes.
All you have to do is put up the bee hotel in a suitable location and then wait to see what the Solitary bees do.