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Outdoor billboards being turned into bee hotels

McDonald’s restaurants in Sweden are replacing roadside billboards with signs that double as ‘bee hotels' - permanent wood installations with drilled holes that provide a safe haven for wild bees. The pilot scheme, run in collaboration with outdoor advertiser JCDecaux, may be rolled out worldwide, says the fast food giant.

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 Six large bee hotels mounted on the backside of a billboard in the Stockholm suburb of Järfälla. Photo: McDonald's

Without pollination from bees, one-third of our food would be threatened, according to McDonald's, which already promotes biodiversity with rooftop beehives at some of their franchises.

“It is estimated that 30 percent of Sweden’s wild bees are threatened,” the company said. “A big problem is that they lack places to rest.”

The bee hotels are permanent wood installations with drilled holes that provide a safe haven for bees and other insects.

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McDonald’s, which is also collaborating with outdoor advertiser JCDecaux to create habitats for bees on the back of unused billboards, hopes to scale up the initiative in 2020.

“The survival of bees is an important issue for society as a whole,” said Henrik Nerell, environmental manager at McDonald’s in Sweden. “That we can use our signs for a good cause feels great.

“The initiative, which has sprung from our franchisees’ personal commitment to the issue, has been made possible in collaboration with JCDecaux and we are proud and excited to welcome our flying guests soon as they move into our bee hotels.”

A closer look at how the billboards are constructed:

Over the past decade, beekeepers in the US and Europe have reported annual hive losses of 30 percent or higher. One in four wild bee species in the US is now at risk of extinction. In Australia, researchers and authorities say local bee populations remain relatively resilient.

Widespread use of pesticides, neonicotinoids and GMOs, loss of habitat, and climate change are some of the threats to bee populations. Bees are responsible for $30 billion in crops every year and without them, up to 50 percent of global produce would be lost, McDonald's says.

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 Permanent wood installations with drilled holes where bees and other insects can make themselves comfortable.

(Source: Outdoor Media Association, via Geek)