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16 messages
26/05/2013 at 17:02

Hi,

I just noticed that there are bees living in holes in my vegetable patch. I didn't know that they did that. There seemed to be three of them coming and going from three different holes about 2 or 3 inches apart. 

Jen

26/05/2013 at 17:08

They do. can you get your veg in without disturbing them?

26/05/2013 at 19:51

Hi,

Yes the runner beans are actually in and they are living in holes round about them.

I put the beans in and then the poles, and in some places I shoved the poles in and then changed my mind and moved them over a bit. I think the bees are living in the holes that I took the bean poles back out of. It's great to see them there.

We also have solitary bees living in dowel holes in the underside of our wooden garden table. When we have guests round to eat the bees fly down between their knees carrying great big green leaf discs to use as a door to the holes. The guests look very suprised as the bees go in and out. 

We had a bee house, but nothing ever nested in it. Clearly they like the natural approach. 

Jen

26/05/2013 at 20:01

Jennifer that really is lovely- although your guests must find it a little disconcerting! I renovated an area of my Dad's garden- a raised stone edged bed planted with firs and heathers-and when I took out the little conifer that was there I disturbed a bee's nest. It was very warm ,dry and sheltered so I presume it was a perfect location for them. Sadly they didn't survive which I was quite upset about.

Made the removal of the other plants a bit tricky too...

26/05/2013 at 20:26

Gosh, I really had no idea that bees nested in the ground. I'll make some more holes and see what happens. This is actually my first proper veg bed as I've always been a flower gardener. I'm doing it really properly so I have lots of carefully weeded exposed soil, which I suppose is working out well for them. I must make sure to let them know before I water.

Jen

26/05/2013 at 20:45

Mining bees, do exactly that. they dig out a chamber and lay an egg and raise one offspring in that chamber. We have hundreds of them in the garden and very welcome they are too, even i it does mean we have to hand weed the cobbled paths as they nest in between the cobbles.

Frequemtly asked question at this time of year is about the tiny mounds of soil people find in their lawns. Not worms as sometime suggested, but these mining bees.

26/05/2013 at 20:54

Gosh that's a point. Not so much with the hoeing then. I've been dumping a bunch of compost on my veg patch to stop the annual weeds coming through (it was lawn in January and I stripped the turf off). I'll need to be a bit careful with the holes then. Will they mind if water goes down the hole? I suppose it must do that when it rains. My three year old was very interested to see them coming and going. He's a serious gardener now if he knows about mining bees.

27/05/2013 at 16:51

Can I ask - are you all just roving experts who potter about answering people's questions for fun, or are some of you employed to do this?

Thanks,

Jen

27/05/2013 at 16:57

Don't know about expert Jen...I'm certainly not! Lots of very knowledgeable people on here though, but I suppose a lot of it comes from experience.

Berghill- I'm amazed at the bees colonising the cobbles. Aren't they the most incredible little creatures - and I certainly never thought about the earth in lawns being bees. 

I learn something new every day 

27/05/2013 at 17:11

Jennifer there are so many of us. Not much we don't know between us.

27/05/2013 at 17:49

Good to know, thanks. I'm a botanist/plant scientist, so I know about that side of things, but not about bees. My borther has just started keeping bees though, so I have started noticing them a lot more. 

29/05/2013 at 09:10

Personally experience pooled together is as good as it gets Jennifer!

I had a dramatic encounter with my first bee nest a couple of years back when a Queen made her nest in an unused border where I had piled a load of leaves.

I remember her surveying the spot one sunny February day but thought nothing more about it until I cleared the pile of leaves.

I left the nest alone assuming it was a solitary but then I saw three or more and so I read that solitary bees can share the same hole, so I thought aw that's nice, but soon enough there was a stream of bees back and forth and we realised it was a proper nest.

The drama occurred over a period of time when a presumed fox raided the nest twice (the bees rebuilt it) and on another occasion we found a great disturbance at the nest and the queen crawling away wingless. She had obviously been usurped and not too many weeks after that the nest died out, so we can only assume that the cuckoo bee took over by pretending to be a worker for a few days before it attacks the queen. It then lays its own eggs which are treated to the best care by the nest but unfortunately Cuckoo bees don't collect pollen so the nest has a lifespan of 40 days tops, when all the original bees die off and there is no-one left in attendance.

We dug the nest up at the end of the year and discovered a grapefruit sized knitted construction of mostly fluff and debris that puts China's dense population issues to shame!

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/24227.jpg?width=480&height=350&mode=max

 The queen is dead, long live the Queen!

29/05/2013 at 09:46

Wow - that's quite a bee saga Wintersong, and a wonderful photograph! I'm also amazed at some of the other facts here. I have a lot to learn about bees.

We have lots of bees round our blue flowers, but have no idea where they live. We have a bee box but have only ever had spiders and earwigs in it , despite siting it out of direct sunshine/driving rain, and near good bee flowers.  The instructions said to put bits of mouse nest in it because bees are attracted to that. However, as we don't encourage mice, we don't have access to mouse nest.

29/05/2013 at 10:03

That's interesting that you can have a bee nest. Maybe that's what we have as there were several coming and going. I'll make sure to guard it carefully. 

Thanks for letting me know that people are on here as volunteers. I only wondered, as I need to find a job working from home when my son goes to school, and I wondered if there was a such a thing as a job answering plant questions on forums. 

Ta!

 

Jen

29/05/2013 at 10:07

In answer to Jennifer,  it is  all to do with interest. You see something happening in the garden and go and find out from books, real experts or these days the Interweb thingy, what it is.

Two years ago we had a bee colony living in the roof space. There is only  a couple of inches between the ceiling and the roof tiles (just enough to be filled with insulation and the plasterboard inside is the insulating type) and the bess managed to get in between the tiles. Now we like having bees around the garden, but when they are nesting just above your head it is a bit more of a problem. When it was hot they fanned their wings to cool it off and the noise was tremendous. If you banged on the ceiling the buzzing was very loud and took ages to go down. We had to sleep with ear plugs in, as the noise they made went on until dark and started again at first light.

We were very glad when winter came and they died off,as they do. Also rather pleased that they were not honey bees. We did have visions of honey dripping through the plaster at one stage. Nice thing is that they do not return to the same place in the future. Good fruit set in the garden that year.

29/05/2013 at 10:14

Hi Berghill,

Thanks, yes I do understand.  Thanks for the bee info. Very interesting.

J

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