Sunday, 5 October 2014

I'll bee back

Our ancient, rustic table has now sat on this terrace for seven years - I think. Bought from Harry the Dutch antiques dealer it supported many an evening meal, breakfast, bread-making session and millions of cups of tea in our previous house too.
Now exposed somewhat to the elements it has warped a little, and has become food and housing for many beasts.
At various times of the year - spring and autumn mostly - the holes at both ends are taken up as leaf-cutter bee logements.
Whoever sits at the end nearest the front door at lunchtime has to move a little to allow the bees passage; in Ezra's case a sort of jiggling dance, combined with - Ahrgg! Get away! and I have to remind him that that it's only a bee passing, not a wasp or hornet.
After a few days of 'leaf-hunting' the bee squishes the last leaf into the hole and blocks it with wax? Pollen? Presumably the baby bees venture forth at some point, but I've never seen their inaugural flight.
What fascinates me the most about this twice-yearly event, is how they know about the holes. Is it bee information passed down? The same bee a couple of years running, then informing its offspring?
We also have mud-collecting bees that nest in the end of some wind-chimes, amongst other odd places. A few days ago I went to inflate my bike's tyres, and after realising nothing was happening I checked the nozzle to discover a mud-collecting bee's nest in the end of it. Flat tyres for a while then . . .

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