08:11 GMT06 August 2020
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    It's no news that the Nordics rank amongst the world's biggest nature lovers. The Swedes are taking their love of all living creatures to the next level by announcing plans to open an "insect hotel" for the country's endangered creepy-crawlies.

    This bizarre project started when Mölndal City was discussing new ways of managing a local landfill. During the debate, city officials came up with an idea of an insect hotel as a way to boost opportunities to increase biodiversity. According to Mölndal environment strategist Andreas Svendsen, the idea is to prove that there may be a housing shortage even among insects.

    "We have to do something. Many insect species are becoming red-listed, it feels right to do this effort," Andreas Svendsen told Swedish national broadcaster SVT. Svendsen also stressed the importance of insects for the pollination of flowers, fruits, berries and other crops, emphasizing the risk of losing the supply of vegetables if insects were to disappear.

    The insect hotel in Mölndal will be Sweden's largest. The hope is to start construction in the summer of 2018, but already last year the seeds were planted for what Andreas Svendsen called the "restaurant."

    "It's no rocket science we're dealing with, it's rather back to basics," Svendsen said, explaining that the insects will come naturally.

    Above all, Mölndal City wants to attract butterflies, birds and wild bees to its hotel. The Swedish insect friends also intend to raise awareness among the locals to encourage their contribution.

    "Everything from leaving the fallen leaves on the ground in the fall, to buying hives for bees would be nice," Svendsen said.

    However unusual, the project was blessed with state support. Västra Götaland County administrative board allocated SEK 6 million ($680,000) from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency to various local conservation projects, including the insect hotel in Mölndal. Among other things, the money will help to set up hiking trails, restore coastal areas and plant meadows. The list of beneficiaries also includes bats and trout.

    Anders Bergström, conservation officer at the County Administrative Board in Västra Götaland, noted that despite the lack of detailed knowledge about many insect species it is safe to say that a large number of them are in decline. For instance, it has been established that bumblebees numbers have fallen sharply during the 20th century in Sweden, when farms started to take up more space. Lina Herbetsson from Lund University told SVT that red clover is now being harvested several times during summer, which makes it harder for the bumblebees to make it to the flowers.

    Sweden's love of nature is best illustrated by the fact that each of Sweden's 25 historical provinces has been assigned a province animal, province fish and province flower as a trademark symbol. Furthermore, the distinction is enhanced by province mushrooms, province stones, province mosses and yes, province insects.

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    insects, hotel, environment, Scandinavia, Sweden
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