BeeMe: Bee Wild in the Mire of Metschach

Fotocredit: Gernot Kunz

There are around 700 bee species in Austria. One of these is the honey bee, which is managed as a farm animal; all other species, including bumblebees, are known as wild bees.

Austria does not (yet) have a nationwide Red List of endangered bee species, but experts believe that more than half of the species are endangered and some species are even threatened with extinction. The threats to wild bees and thus their decline are associated with a reduced supply of flowers and nesting sites, the use of pesticides, climatic changes and the associated changes in species composition. Important structures for wild bees include hedges, fallow land, stone walls, ruderal areas, hollow paths, field margins, small embankments with abrupt edges, ditches, ponds, small sand and loam extraction points and open patches of ground. It is therefore extremely important to maintain or promote such structures and species-rich flora in order to enable a wide variety of bees. As part of the project, the Metschach Mire area (KSK Research Site, Liebenfels district) is to be provided with flowering strips as a food supply and natural, sunlit small structures such as dead wood, open patches of soil, piles of cut branches with pithy stems, sand and stone mounds as nesting sites. The maintenance mowing planned for the area will also sustainably promote the abundance of flowers and thus increase the food supply for wild bees. Natural structures such as willow fences around the "flowering meadow" will also open up new habitats for other creatures. In the long term, the Metschach Mire will develop into a valuable stepping stone biotope.

Financed by: Province of Carinthia and the European Union