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Insect Hotels – Rethinking Our Urban Landscapes

This summer, I’m planning on hosting an eco festival on Elmwood Avenue (stay tuned). Over the last few years I’ve been posting a lot of articles on ways that we can get Buffalo to step up when it comes to being more environmentally friendly. In a recent DailyMail article, it was reported that city gardens are becoming more and more crucial to the survival of pollinators (bees, butterflies, etc.), which are being driven off farm lands due to pesticides. Also, pollinators’ natural habitats are being destroyed by urban sprawl, climate change, pollution, etc. Scientists are predicting that in the future, cities will be playing bigger roles in the survival of the pollinators, which, of course, have a direct impact on our food sources.

In Amsterdam, a movement is underway that is seeing the building of Insect Hotels, where bees (and other insects) can actually thrive without being bothered by human encroachment. The miniature hotels are described as “cute little wooden structures” that are filled with bee-sized holes called burrow holes. Not only are the bees safe from predators when they are buried in the holes, they can also reproduce. At the same time, indigenous bee-friendly vegetation is planted near the Insect Hotels, so that the bees have access to food and water.

Since embarking upon the Insect Hotel initiative, Amsterdam has witnessed a 45% increase in wild bees and honeybees. Not only that, a recent study shows that 21 new bee species have been documented in the city. Now there is a push for more cities to adopt the same practices as the Netherlands.

Planting native flowers and plants is one thing that Buffalo has been getting better at, thanks to The Garden Walk. At the same time, we have not paid much attention to insect habitats within the city limits. This is any easy change to make. Hopefully, the message will spread that building Insect Hotels is easy, fun, educational, and fruitful. All you really need is a log with a bunch of drilled out holes, that is easily accessible to insects. Or you can construct an Insect Hotel that is a little more on the fancy side. In the end, the bees don’t care what their home looks like… what they do care about is if the holes are the right size to build a residence:

According to Modern Farmer, “Drill holes ranging from 1/8” to ½” in diameter into the end of each block or log, spacing them about ½” to ¾” apart.” 

To learn more about Amsterdam’s role in protecting the pollinators, check out the following video by Our Planet. If you or your group/organization wants to be a part of the 2019 eco festival on Elmwood Avenue, be sure to send me an email to:, with the subject line “Eco Festival”.

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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