Science - June 28, 2012

Gas mains blossom into nectar highways

The Dutch gas company Gasunie plans to turn some of its land into a bee habitat. Wageningen UR is involved in this too.

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The initiator behind this extraordinary plan is bee researcher Bram Cornelissen (PRI). He feels that one reason why bees are having a difficult time nowadays is because of the lack of good food. In other words, there are just not enough flowers. 'The plan is to make use of available space in more ways. Company grounds, for example, can be put to good use.'
Gas mains
No venture, no gain. So Cornelissen gave this idea a shot at the Gasunie. The Gasunie has land and tracks all over the country. By planting flowers in these areas, 'nectar highways' can be created, says Cornelissen. The Gas Department welcomed the idea. 'They were very enthusiastic straightaway and even wanted to invest in it.' Cornelissen's plan ties in with the Gas Department's own initiatives to landscape its terrain in a natural way.
Traps
Research will be carried out to find simple ways to make city areas more suitable for bees. In addition to sowing in some of its land, the Gasunie will also cooperate actively in data collection. Cornelissen: 'It will assist in our efforts to chart the various bee populations by setting traps. These traps will be collected once a week so that we can do the analysis.' This bee project with the Gasunie will last for three years.

Re:act