Look what Littlun and fiance made today!
The little house you see above it was bought last year for not much money – a couple of quid – and you can see all the little holes where the bees have emerged from them this year.
I have been itching to blog about our bees, but have been waiting on photographs from the youngsters, but I have one now ha!!
Hopefully more will arrive on my devices soon to show you.
We started looking after the bees in our garden about 4 years ago when we spotted a leaf-cutter bee taking pieces of leaf into a hole in the soil of a plant pot. I had never seen it before, and had only vaguely heard of leaf-cutter bees. Basically they dig a little hole, line it with small sections of leaf, lay their eggs and then seal the hole up.
Prompted by that we bought our first bee house, and in the first year we had 4 of the little compartments filled up with little ‘nests’. The next year I think there was only 1 hole not used, so we bought the house at the top of the photo, and you can see how many bees made use of it 🙂
They are Mason Bees, by the way. Solitary bees who do not hive. Here’s a bit of info http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Mason_bee
We have been watching as they emerge, and have some great photos. My son-in-law-to-be stood very still for about 5 minutes taking video of the bees coming and going as they prepare new holes for their eggs, and all this activity prompted the addition of a new house. I am hoping to get my hands on an edited bit of video to show you too 🙂
The bees are loving our new lavender bush and the dandelions in the grass at the moment as they leave pollen inside the ‘nest’ for the new generation to feed on. She will lay more than one egg in each ‘nest’ with females at the back and males to the front. Unfortunately, the males die after mating.
Humans NEED bees. Without bees, it wouldn’t be just a case of no honey. Without bees to polinate our plants, there would be no food, basically, and widespread use of pesticide has destroyed too many of our bees already. Although some lethal substances have been banned for a couple of years, there is concern that this just isn’t enough to save our bees. Many species are already extinct.
Mason bee numbers have also been depleted due to mature trees being cut down.
If you grow your own fruit and veg, your crops will benefit from having these cute little guys in your garden. Even a small roll of bamboo canes at the side of a wall will give them somewhere to nest, but they seem to prefer high places.
We haven’t quite got the 5 types of rare bees we had nesting in the garden like we did a few years ago, when we couldn’t use one of the compost bins due to a small hive in there, but it’s early in the year yet 😀