Why are wild bees and wasps important?

In temperate latitudes, the majority of flowering plants depend on insect pollination. Wild bees play a key role in this, as their diversity and morphological adaptations make them the most efficient pollinators of many flowering plants. In contrast to domesticated honeybees, wild bees such as the ground bumblebee, as well as some sand and mason bees, also fly during periods of bad weather. Most wild bees live solitarily, so they do not form states and do not produce honey. However, of the 565 wild bee species living in Germany, about 50% are endangered.

Wasps are also important parts of the ecosystem, as they help control populations of insect pests. Like wild bees, about 50% of Germany's 562 aculeate wasps are endangered. The decline of wild bees and wasps is significantly related to land use changes, pesticide use, and the resulting loss of foraging and nesting habitats.

The project

Nesting aids, combined with the ID-Logics identification app, offer an exciting learning environment that helps pupils and students to deal with essential topics of ecology. Furthermore, it enables them to get involved in the protection of wild bees and wasps. The project is a cooperation of the University of Freiburg, the University of Marburg and the Didactics of Natural Sciences of the University of Bamberg.

Development of nesting aids
Some species of wild bees and wasps build their nests in small cavities such as those provided by reed stalks or beetle burrows in dead wood. These species also colonize nesting aids such as those developed in cooperation with Dr. Felix Fornoff (Chair of Nature Conservation and Landscape Ecology, University of Freiburg). 
With the help of these nesting aids, the fascinating nest constructions, the different development stages as well as the population dynamics of the animals can be observed and researched. 
In addition, they are easy to handle, can be used for several years and the observations can be made in a non-invasive way. 

ID-Logics "Wild bees and wasps" identification app
With the help of the developed identification app ID-Logics, pupils and students should be enabled to identify the animals and their natural counterparts on the species, genus or family level, based only on the nesting galleries.
Through the implied increase in knowledge, they are to be sensitized to the conservation of biodiversity and their design competence with regard to an ESD is to be promoted. 
Furthermore, in the sense of the Citizen Science concept, biomonitoring is carried out with the help of the app, in that determinations can be reported, leading to long-term observation and comparison possibilities as to how Germany's wild bees and wasps are doing. 

Integration into the classroom
Currently, corresponding teaching material is being developed (until December 2023). With the help of this material, it will be possible to carry out the determination with pupils and students, including the corresponding preparation and follow-up, in a total of 3 units within the framework of their own teaching.

Studies and evaluation:
August 2023: 1st qualitative evaluation of the determination app ID-Logics version 1.0.
December 2023: 2nd qualitative evaluation of the determination app ID-Logics version 2.0.
From 2024: 
Biomonitoring using the determination app.
Quantitative study of learning effectiveness/attitude change (MEV2).

Are you interested to be part of the project ?
Write an email!

Project Management: 
Prof. Dr. Denis Messig & Dr. Yelva Larsen
E-Mail: yelva.larsen[at]uni-bamberg.de
Phone: +49 (0)951 863 1915