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::<lexlblog>

Bee heroes! Open up your own hotel today.

Here in good-old germany we have a few problems that, when taken together, make
people do stupid things.


(#) A little rant

One of these problems is overcrowding. We've got about
360.000 km^2 of land, and about 83 million inhabitants. So if divided equally,
each citizen gets about 4.300 m^2 of land to survive.

Another problem has to do with culture, or more exactly: cuisine. In germany
it is absolutely common (and even expected) to eat a lot of meat. In fact,
we're producing pork in such quantities and under such adverse conditions that
even china is buying pork from **us** because they are struggling to hit such a
cheap price. (And yes, I **am** ashamed by this fact.)

So, if you have a huge load of people to feed, and they expect to get their
large piece of meat 5 out of 7 days a week, you've got to grow a ton of crops...
I mean, yes, we are importing cheap (sometimes genetically modified) soy and
corn to feed our pigs, but it's still not enough.

Aaand there's a third factor at play here: People in germany **love** their
cars. Some people are just obsessed with them. And the fun cars - when driven -
do burn fossile fuels, shifting our wold closer and closer to an apocalyptic
end. However, people in germany also like to think they are completely innocent
of any so called "climate change". So they decided to stretch their gasoline
with a renewable resource: ethanol. I mean it will basically stop global warming
if we emit 5% less carbon dioxide, right?

But where do you get those massive quantities of ethanol needed? It's simple:
just grow them! We can use corn and other stuff and just ferment it to get the
ethanol we need, so we can simply... burn it. And let's just ignore the fact for
now that in order to grow that stuff you create a bunch of other emissions and
even release a bunch of CO2 that was previously bound in the soil,
making things actually even worse.

I guess you get the point here. Germany needs to grow crops. **A lot** of crops.
And it needs to absolutely maximize the yields.

 - **So we use loads and loads of fertilizers.**

!!! WARNING
    That erodes our soils but fuck it, the next generation can handle this.

 - **So we use cultured seeds that come out of laboratories (although not
    genetically modified, that would break EU law) to maximize yields.**

!!! WARNING
    That makes our plants less resistant against all sorts of parasites,
    diseases and weather conditions but fuck it, the next generation can handle
    this.

 - **So we use pesticides to keep those stupid insects away.**

!!! WARNING
    That kills off the entire food chain destroying the whole ecosystem but fuck
    it, the next generation can handle this.

See the pattern? The worst thing is: I know Germany isn't the only country doing
this. In most parts of the world the government doesn't really care about the
environment.

Anyways, I want to focus a little more on the last point: the insects. Here,
farmers usually refer to them as "Sch├Ądlinge", which comes from the word
"Schaden" (engl. damage) and the ending "-linge" is a belittlement since, you
know, those bastards are really tiny. I guess the literal translation would be
_damagers_.
(Phew, I did all of that without any reference to
[rubenerd](https://rubenerd.com/about/#me))

So they damage the crops? That's a bit of a one-sided view, don't you think? I
mean, given that some of those insects are the reason the crops grow in the
first place?

But who cares? It's all about the yield. So let the
[BASF](https://agriculture.basf.com/global/en/business-areas/crop-protection-and-seeds/products.html)
brew something together, a cocktail to kill, and then spray it onto the stuff
people are going to eat. Makes sense, huh?

Now comes the best part of this: We **know** by now thanks to a ton of studies
that this shit we are literally spraying into nature is massively dangerous for
**all** insects. That includes the "good" ones.

!!! Tip
    All insects are helpful in a balanced ecosystem.

The aftermath? The insects die. Pretty much all of them. And as a result, birds
die. Every year newspapers in Germany bring another report about the
catastrophic vanishing of insects and birds. Yet our politicans apply pressure
in the EU council to allow us (Germany) to further relax laws about prohibited
insecticides. Because "the farmers need to protect their income".

Oh and don't worry. The poison sprayed from a meter high onto the ground of the
acre under windy conditions won't make it to the little meadow nearby. At least
that's what our politicans are promising us.

!!! Tip
    Did you know in march 2022 the clouds in Germany were colored red-ish since
    they contained a bunch of sand from the Sahara dessert? Yes, that sand
    travelled over 3.000 km before it got washed down by rainfall.

    This happened again in the beginning of april.

    And did you know they found microplastic at both the north and south pole?

    It seems like air can move stuff around pretty easily.

That's it for the bad news. Now let's look forward.


(#) Still: The future might be bright

I don't think we will actually kill ourselves. At some point in the future,
social pressure will be high enough that farmers will reconsider their methods.
Maybe the capitalistic market will just come to a point where organic food is
expected. Aaand in about 20 years, politicans that are currently ruling the
country will be gone. Don't underestimate that as a factor for change!

There will be times when our insects will be able to celebrate a comeback. But
in the meantime, they need our protection from society. They are - just like in
a war - under constant fire. But you and me, we can provide shelter for them!

![Figure [hotel_before]: My freshly installed bee hotel.](media/hotel_before.png)

Yes, I've got a bee hotel! In case you don't know: Not all bees live in a big
swarm and produce honey. A lot of insects, most bees too, die during the winter.
There are exceptions, like honey bees. They manage to survive because they can
feed from their honey during winter and spring. But most insects can't do that.
So they will place their offsprings in any tight opening they can find and close
it off using natural materials like chewed wood and dirt. After winter the
larvae will have matured and break open the seal to fly off.

These bee hotels are super cheap to buy [and/or](/?postid=4) to craft. I decided
to buy one for a lack of time, but if you want to do some weekend project (maybe
with some family members?) go ahead! It's really easy if you've got bamboo, but
you can also just take some pieces of wood and drill out a few holes, as seen in
the picture. Then find a nice and cozy place, put it there and you're done. Now
you can consider yourself a **bee hero**!

Of course, bees aren't the only insects that will come and bee your guests.
There are many insects out there looking for shelter. So you could also
generalize and call yourself an insect hero if you want. But that just doesn't
sound as good.

My hotel is now hanging outside for almost exactly 8 days. This is its current
state:

![Figure [hotel_after]: The bee hotel after 8 days.](media/hotel_after.png)

I've drawn a few small arrows to indicate the tubes that have already been
filled. I've counted 10, not too bad. And please note that this hotel hangs on
my balcony. It's at least a few meters down before you find any dirt. So these
guys had to fly up and down a number of times. Very proficient.
Whilst I was taking this picture a new guest arrived, ready to check in.

![Figure [hotel_guest]: A new guest is currently checking in.](media/hotel_guest.png)

These things are just cute. Look how fluffy the butt is! I would love to pet
this little guy, but I don't want to scare it. It would probably feel like if
the statue of liberty would try to pet **you**. But still, seeing how this
hardworking little guy is building its nest right here fills me with joy. It
almost makes me forget the entire rant above. I'll now go outside, just watch it
a little bit more. Maybe you should consider getting your own hotel too?

!!! ERROR: Caution during winter time!
    Birds tend to break these tubes open during winter and early spring in order
    to eat the larvae. I recommend either protecting the front side with a
    wire mesh, or simply turning around the entire hotel so the openings are
    close to the wall and birds can't get in front of them.