Christian Meyer steht vor einem Nistkasten.

Close to people | Stories from Bethel

Shelter for endangered insects

Christian Meyer carefully moves a file up and down a bamboo tube. Fine shavings trickle onto the floor of the Bethel workshop, where the man with a mental illness is busy making nesting aids for wild bees and wasps. "I like doing something productive," says the 51-year-old, "and I think it makes sense to do something about insect extinction."

Wild bees and wasps ensure the diversity of nature by pollinating plants. They also regulate the balance of nature by eating caterpillars, mosquitoes and spiders, for example. However, these agile creatures are endangered. This is why measures to protect them, such as the construction of nesting aids, are so important.

Christian Meyer files the bamboo tubes.
"I like doing something productive and I think it makes sense to do something about insect mortality."
Christian Meyer

In the workshop, Christian Meyer measures the diameter of the bamboo tubes. It must not be larger than one centimetre. "If it's more, the bees and wasps won't nest in it," he explains. He gives suitable pieces a finishing touch. Inside and out, because "the animals could injure themselves on unclean edges and splinters".

Drill with material
Pallet with bamboo
Christian Meyer screws the parts together with the help of Lothar Adorf.

Around 250 tubes are then attached to a wooden box with glue. This will ultimately form part of a 1.37 by 1.30 metre nesting wall. It also contains solid wood blocks and boxes filled with clay - all of which have holes drilled in them for insect eggs. "The variety of materials is important because the animals have different preferences," says biologist Lothar Adorf, who works in the workshop as a labour and vocational rehabilitation specialist.

In addition to the nesting walls, the employees also produce handy variants: The "bee block" fits on any balcony. And thus offers everyone the opportunity to do something for the conservation of wild bees and wasps.

Text: Philipp Kreutzer | Picture: Barbara Franke

This story simply told

Christian Meyer works in a Bethel workshop for disabled people in Bielefeld. He makes nesting aids for wild bees and wasps there. The 51-year-old has a mental illness. He knows what is important when building nesting boxes. It is important to him to do something about insect mortality.

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In the proWerk workshops for disabled people, people with disabilities or mental illness can take part in everyday working life. They work here in the area that corresponds to their abilities, wishes and interests. Within the workshop, the spectrum of work ranges from simple activities to very demanding tasks, such as setting up and operating machines.

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