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.
My name is Valerie Greeley. I am an artist, surface pattern/textile designer and illustrator. I have a special interest in the book arts including illustration, bookbinding, printmaking and artist books. I also have an interest in quilting, nature and bumblebees.