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in Wildlife gardening
I did a prelimiary search of the forum and found lots on bees but not quite what I was looking for but I apologise if my questions (see penultimate paragraph) have been answered before.
A few months ago I stored some logs from a felled fir tree next to my compost bins. A few weeks back I temporarily stored some grass cuttings and other cuttings on top of the wood (my compost bins were full).
This weekend I had the time to empty the bottom half of my compost bins with contained the 'good stuff' and it was my intention to clean the area up including adding those cuttings sitting loose on top of the logs.
I soon realised that I appear to have a bees nest. When I removed some of the cuttings and logs, I was suddenly surrounded by a few bees which appeared to be a little agitated. I beat a hasty retreat and came back about an hour later to investigate. I saw bees coming out of the area under the logs (there is some earth here so they might be coming out of the ground but I cannot know without disturbing the bees again). I am no expert on bees but with the assistance of 'Google' they do appear to be the size of a honey bee but I have no idea if they are or not (I appreciate there are several species).
I am thrilled to have them, I have seen many more bees in my garden this year than any other and it is wonderful for my children to see bees collecting the nectar (not least because the two monkeys seem to have stopped picking the flowers off their stems)! The hive (if it is one) is in an area which my children cannot reach (yet).
My questions are: 1) do the bees vacate the hive after 'x' amount of time? 2) Should I leave well alone and compost elsewhere for a while? 3) I know there are programs in place to monitor whats happening to our bees but are there any organisations I can report the find to (I live in Surrey).
Thank you in advance for your assistance.
If they are honey bees you should be able to see some honeycomb. They will live there as long as the queen lives or, if they like the site, a new colony may develop. They will also swarm when the weather turns hot(!) and start a second colony, maybe in a neighbour's garden.
if they are bumblebees they are "annuals" and will all die in the winter, except for the queen who will hibernate and next spring find a new home.
Wasps are also "annuals" so killing their nests is stupid as they will all be dead in a few months and they are fantastic at eating all kinds of caterpillars and greenfly While they live.
P.S. there should be a local beekeeping association nearby. They Weill be happy to help you and may even get you hooked on "proper" beekeeping.
Isn't it great that so many people have got bees nesting in their gardens? At least it gives them a chance of increasing in numbers if we can look after them in our plots and give them some protection and help. Wasps get such a bad press waterbutts don't they? I've often had people say to me 'but what do they actually do? They just seem to sting people' and have to tell them they are great predators and should be seen as an ally in the garden not an enemy. Their nests are works of art.
Thank you Waterbutts.
I agree Fairygirl, I'll do my best to help the bees! I have not seen many wasps this year and I never realised how useful wasp can be; you learn something new every day!
hi Soney, check out the Bee Conservation website. I've happened to mention on another thread, they do regular monthy updates online and you can get a chart on the various different type of bee.
We had bees in an old compost heap the other year. no probs with them, great to see in the garden. Didn't return the following year.
I have never seen so many bumble bees as this year, they love the delphiniums.
More likely to be a variety of solitary bee than a honey bee.
Solitary bees will leave the burrow they have dug once they've laid their eggs. The eggs will soon hatch and eat the pollen left for them. Over winter they'll lay dormant then emerge in spring. Thats my understanding anyway.
Thanks everyone for your input, i really appreciate the advice received.
I have Bumble Bee's nesting in one of my bird boxes which the birds never seem to use! Nice to see it being used for once and my garden is full of bee's!