RefuBees and the City

Johann (Hans) Neumayer

Written by hans kalliwoda

11 September 2023

While his office is located at the Nature Museum in Salzburg, the best way to encounter him is by strolling along the banks of the Danube during the peak flying season of pollinators or perhaps, late in the evening, at a traditional beer garden. His area of expertise lies in the realm of Austria’s wild bees and global bumblebees, with a particular focus on pollination ecology in both natural and agricultural landscapes. This expertise encompasses an extensive collection of photographic materials and a repertoire of lectures as a member of the Austrian Wild Bee Council.

In a newspaper interview dated October 3, 2022, titled ‘Insect Mortality: A Persistent Issue in Vorarlberg, Austria,’ the precarious situation facing wild bees and the broader issue of insect mortality were discussed. Biologist and wild bee authority Johann Neumayer provided insights into the underlying causes in response to various questions. Here is an excerpt:

What can everyone do privately to support bees?

Anyone who has land – this includes a balcony with flower boxes – should go for diversity instead of uniformity. Diversity is initially perceived by many people as untidy and chaotic. Nature is to some extent a wild mess – but not a pigsty. We as a society have developed peculiar ideals of beauty that are far removed from nature. The garden should ideally be clean and tidy. But this does not work ecologically. A paradigm shift is necessary here, but such a thing cannot happen overnight. 

Do we still have that time?

When it comes to biodiversity, we must now pull out all the stops to make a positive change. There are already some good actions, such as the initiative “blooming Vorarlberg”. In the city of Salzburg, public spaces are designed as meadows and no longer as lawns. There is an urgent need for spaces for biodiversity.


Image: Hans Kalliwoda

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