Honey Bee Wild
Honey Bee Wild (HBW) is a group of volunteers, who believe that the European honey bee species (Apis mellifera) needs to be given the opportunity to evolve on their own, ideally without human intervention, to find their own solutions to the challenges they face, as they have done so for the last million years (unmanaged bees).
HBW has a project to create near-natural habitat in logs and a project to identify bees that have chosen themselves to live in human-made cavities and natural cavities (free-living bees). In both cases, the nests will be monitored over time to see how it develops.
We know little about the life of free-living honey bees in Europe; this is acknowledged in the IUCN European Red List of Bees (Box 2 of https://portals.iucn.org/library/sites/library/files/documents/RL-4-019.pdf)
To address this knowledge gap, there is international interest in studying unmanaged bees and/or free-living bees, with projects to identify their nests and monitor them. Some of these projects intend to take a holistic view on the inter-species interactions and their contributions to the survival of honey bees. One example is the black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) that creates natural cavities in trees to use as their nesting site. Over time, this site may be used by other fauna and flora, such as other nesting birds, bats, hornets, wasps, bumble bees, squirrels, insects, mites, and fungi.
HBW’s project is just one example of the many initiatives, which demonstrate the level of interest in acquiring knowledge regarding the survival of honey bees living without humans.
Honey Bee Wild
Naturally Occupied Nests