These fake flowers are an emergency food source for city-dwelling insects

A new type of artificial flower doesn’t look realistic. But the flowers aren’t designed for humans–they’re for bees and other pollinators.

A daisy-like shape, laser-cut from polyester and colored bright yellow and violet, attracts bees. A simple symmetrical shape attracts bumblebees; a bright pink, orchid-like shape attracts butterflies. Inside each “flower” a reservoir of sugar mixes with water when it rains. If an insect lands on one of the flowers, it has an emergency source of food.

As insect habitat shrinks–and insect populations are declining so rapidly that as many as 40% of all species may be endangered in the coming decades–Dutch designer Matilde Boelhouwer wanted to explore potential solutions. Insects face multiple threats, from pesticides and climate change to invasive species and the spread of deforestation and expanding agriculture. While the whole system needs to change, Boelhouwer recognized that one place to intervene might be cities, where sprawling concrete leaves little room for the food that insects need to survive.

Image source: Fast Company