6/29/2010

House to Let


Dog walking is one of my favourite forms of exercise; it forces me out of the house no matter what the weather and gives me time to appreciate the wildlife on my doorstep. There has been so much to see recently, wild orchids, a grass snake, a heron chasing a buzzard, some rather unusual wild flowers which turned out to be orange hawkweed (sometimes called fox and cubs), and yesterday we watched a very industrious solitary bee.

A flash of green passed at eye level, at first I thought it was a dragonfly but on closer inspection saw that it was a bee carrying a piece of leaf. It took the leaf into a hole in the canal bridge wall. We watched in total fascination as the bee emerged from a gap between the bricks and returned with yet more pieces. Despite the fact that we had focused the camera on the hole, we did not manage to get a good shot but you can just about make out a piece of the newly cut leaf being dragged into the tiny space in the motar. We think that the bee must have been a leaf cutter bee, which makes nests similar to a cigar, rolling the leaves into a cylinder. Please click on the photograph to see more clearly.



Earlier this year I placed a bee house in the garden, so far we have had no takers. It has been thought for sometime that pesticides may be killing our bees and it is clear that more research is needed. The Co-Operative Plan Bee is campaigning for more research into the effects of pesticides on bees. You can visit their website and sign a petition and learn more about our bees. If you enjoy flowering plants, juicy pears, almond and cherries then please spare a thought for our bees without which we would have none of these things. If people had to take over the job of bees in the UK it would take a workforce of tens of millions, to find out just how many visit this link. In some parts of China humans now have to pollinate fruit, it could happen here, please help.

16 comments:

  1. What wonderful diverse things there are all around when we stop and take a look.

    Look out for the tell-tale holes cut from rose leaves by leaf cutter bees. I once tipped out a flower pot in our greenhouse and came across the amazing leaf nests of the Leaf Cutter Bee - I carefully put them back.

    Thankfully more and more people are interested in bees both wild and honey-bees, let's hope we're not too late to save them.

    Celia

    PS I've just noticed that lovely picture of Ted carrying a stick :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Its distressing.... but awareness surely is growing. I once read that someone like Einstein said that once the bees are all gone, we only have a few years.... !

    ReplyDelete
  3. PS And, that photo of Ted with the stick is getting a lot of attention these days, I laugh whenever I see it!

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's great to walk, stop and observe. We should always make time for this x

    ReplyDelete
  5. A bee house! What a lovely idea.

    ReplyDelete
  6. There was an interesting piece about bees on Country File last Sunday. Well, Valerie, you are doing your bit - if no bee has recognised it as a des. res. yet then we can only hope sooner or later a bee will arrive and consider it just right.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your bee house looks like a very desirable residence for bees - hope you get some tenants soon! All those foods and flowers that could be affected by the decline in bees - it dosen't bear thinking about. I've been reading about the 'Bee part of it' scheme where BBC local radio stations are keeping bees at local National Trust properties - it seems to be causing a lot of interest and awareness of the problem:)

    ReplyDelete
  8. yes if we lose the bees, we're pretty much doomed really. Your observations of the bee with its leaf are wonderful, it's so nice to get that close to insects and to watch them

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yes, many people don't realize how important bees are. I didn't know that in China, they have to pollinate. Scary.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm learning.... first time I've seen a bee house! Great post.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Your bee house is terrific - first time I've seen one. We have an acute bee shortage here, which is very alarming as we need them desperately for pollinating vegetable and fruit crops statewide. I've noticed when I walk along the beach there are many more dead bees in the sand than normal, why I don't know...

    ReplyDelete
  12. What an interesting bee house. Hopefully you will find some visitors some day. You are quite right about the declining bee population due to pesticides and monoculture. Sad...

    ReplyDelete
  13. makes me HAPPY to visit you...what an inspiration....

    and you have a TED too !!!!

    will read more of your blog this weekend....it is one of my favorites....

    kary and teddy
    xxx

    ReplyDelete
  14. How fascinating to stand and watch a bee at work. I have heard about leaf cutter bees before. The bee crisis is very troubling, and the numbers of people needed to do the bees' vital work is quite scary. I just hope that the researchers find out the answer to this before it is too late.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I seem to have seen more bees about this year, perhaps it is just that we moved to a different area. love the bee house.

    ReplyDelete