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Insect-friendly project: Humming and buzzing at the Hardthöhe

Insect-friendly project : Humming and buzzing at the Hardthöhe

The Federal Office of the German Armed Forces is eliminating monocultures and creating habitats for insects.

Humming and buzzing noises can be heard again at the Hardthöhe. These are not coming from the helicopters and convoys of vehicles that were here in capital city times, but rather from the insect-friendly green spaces around the Federal Office for Infrastructure, Environmental Protection and Services of the German Armed Forces. Since the beginning of the year, the Federal Office has been using a meadow of long grass to tackle the monocultures, insecticides, and soil sealings which are dangerous to insects.

“After more than 60 years of short lawns, we are creating a natural habitat on our green spaces”, explained Hedwig Hoffmann, First Vice-President of the Office, and promised: "In future, we will find further areas for constructions that are much closer to nature". Recently the first insect hotel was opened on the Hardthöhe site as part of a joint effort by the service centres of the German Armed Forces, Mayen and Cologne, for the project “Die Hardthöhe blüht und summt” (the Hardthöhe blooms and hums). This project provides opportunities for nesting and breeding and thus creates new habitats for the insects. In one day, the ecologist Garvin Weber from Mayen, together with Frank Tentler, the German Armed Forces' master of terrain management in Cologne, built the insect hotel in front of Federal Office’s main building at Fontainengraben.

At the inauguration of the insect hotel, Hoffmann thanked the "master builders" and the departments involved. Hoffmann emphasised that it was a matter close to her heart to make the green areas of the office more insect-friendly and to set a clear signal for insect protection with this active project at the Hardthöhe. Weber presented her with a miniature of the insect hotel, which will also find a home at the Hardthöhe. "The insects carry out an important service in the ecosystem," added Federal Office biologist Esther Koch.

Experts from the Legal Protection Division of the Federal Office in Bonn developed the project "The Hardthöhe blooms and hums" to improve the food supply for the insects. The ongoing project focuses on the recovery of natural vegetation. "The Hardthöhe offers great potential for constructions that are closer to nature", explained Uta Felgenhauer, the project representative. The areas will only be mowed twice a year. No insecticides have been used for years. The improved food supply from yarrow and wild carrot, for example, has already led to a visible and audible increase in the number of insects.

(Original text: Stefan Hermes, Translation: Caroline Kusch)