Prince Charles has gained quite an extensive reputation for being deeply invested in nature conservation and the preservation of biodiversity in the U.K. Over the years, the Prince of Wales has devoted time and resources to multiple environmental and conservation projects and has passionately advocated for the preservation of wildlife.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Prince Charles has recently committed to the preservation of Britain’s endangered bee population by adopting the very popular “bee brick” solution.
According to Cornwall Live, the Prince of Wales has invested £55,000 (the equivalent of nearly $71,000) in the purchase of 2,000 revolutionary bee bricks, which are to be installed in half of the properties at the Duchy of Cornwall.
The eco-friendly bee homes will be fitted into the buildings that are currently being developed at Nansledan in Newquay and are designed to house 90 percent of the region’s solitary bees, which have lost their natural nesting habitat.
“Creating new habitats to encourage biodiversity is an important part of the philosophy behind Nansledan, which is why the Duchy of Cornwall has specified the use of bee bricks in the development,” states the Nansledan website.
In addition, Prince Charles has expressed his intention to install bird-friendly boxes for swifts within the Nansledan eco-friendly housing development, as well as “edible streets” populated with specific plants that bees can pollinate.
Prince Charles spends £55k on strange bricks https://t.co/qGFuOae8pv— Cornwall LIVE (@CornwallLive) January 16, 2019
What Are Bee Bricks?
As the media outlet points out, Britain’s native bee species are dwindling. A third of the country’s entire bee population has been decimated over the last decade, with scientists pointing to pesticides as the likely culprit behind the bee population decline.
While the European Nation has already begun taking steps to address this problem, as previously reported by the Inquisitr, the bees of Cornwall will soon benefit from their very own bee brick homes, where they can take up refuge and build nests.
The bee bricks are destined exclusively for solitary bees and are essentially nesting bricks built-in on the exterior of homes and other edifices. Their purpose is to provide a safe harbor for bees that don’t live in colonies and to offer them a place to lay their eggs and spawn the next generation.
More than 90 percent of the bee species in the U.K. are solitary bees, notes Grow Wild. These insects are even better pollinators than honeybees and, since they don’t produce wax to build their nests, they often take up residence in underground burrows.
The bee bricks offer a simple and elegant solution to the solitary bee housing problem. These eco-friendly bee homes have become immensely popular since the beginning of the year, especially after a tweet from wildlife officer Adam Cormack — which included a photo of a bee brick installed on Cormack’s home in Nottingham — went viral on January 5.
6 months ago a bee brick was fitted to the side of our house. Today I went up a ladder to check on it and - yes! - we have some bees. A feature for all new build houses? ???? pic.twitter.com/A9I9xgBagw— Adam Cormack (@everydaycormack) January 5, 2019
Since then, the concept has taken the internet by storm, with Country Living reporting a 33 percent increase in bee bricks, beehives, and bee hotels sales on eBay.
The innovative bee bricks are designed by the Cornwall-based Green&Blue company and are created to house non-aggressive solitary bee species, such as sole bees, red mason bees, and leaf-cutter bees.
The bricks are sold for £27.50 each (or about $35.40) and incorporate up to 70 percent Cornish china clay waste. The bee homes are cast in concrete and are reinforced with a solid back to prevent their occupants from breaching the cavity wall and flying into people’s homes.
Moreover, the Nansledan website assures residents that these solitary bees don’t pose any type of threat to the community, given that they “do not produce honey or have a queen to protect.”
“So, they very rarely sting and are safe to encourage around children and animals.”