I uncovered some leafcutter bee cocoons when I was weeding the plant pots on our front step.
In the summer I see the bees flying in to little holes in the dirt with the leaf disks they cut from the raspberry bushes tucked under their bellies. Continue reading →
This is a tiny portion of the thousands of bees in my friend’s hives:
Because I had my eye pressed up against a viewfinder attachment on the camera, my veil was pushed up against my face. One of the bees crawled up on the outside of my veil, got a bit wedged between the camera and my face, and gave me a [small] sting on the nose. It only smarted for a couple of minutes, and it didn’t leave a stinger behind. But it did make me even more careful to make sure I didn’t wedge a bee between the eyepiece and the veil, because they do crawl all over the hood and I find I don’t really notice anything other than what I happen to be focused on filming – including the bees ricocheting off the back of my head.
A few years ago I bought a tube of blue orchard mason bees and what started as 10 bees quickly grew into 100, and now 250 over a couple of years. This year they quickly filled an entire stacking nest block.
Continue reading →
The marjoram is always a bee favourite in the garden, but this year it seems to have attracted a larger than usual number of yellow-faced bumblebees (Bombus vosnesenskii). The plant is teaming with them.
Most of the honeybees head off at the end of the day, and I always thought bumblebees did the same, but last evening I noticed they were settling down to sleep on the flowers, so I took a few photos of them just as the sun was going down. Continue reading →
Borage & lavender | watercolour and pencil
Bees are having a rough go of it these days, so I’ve tried to make our garden as bee-friendly as possible by increasing the number of blooming plants they prefer, as well as those that bloom throughout the season. A few years ago, we added a mason bee house to the garden. In return, we’ve been rewarded with a much higher rate of vegetable and berry pollination.
The variety of bees and pollinating insects we now have in the garden has exploded in the last couple of years. It’s been pretty fascinating to watch them. We’ve seen the mason bees hatch from their cocoons, and watched other solitary bees carry cut leaves into little nest holes they’ve dug in the dirt of the potted plants.
For the past couple of springs, there has been a chickadee pair trying to excavate a hole in a nearby telephone pole, without success. This year, we broke down and installed a nest box for them, but I guess they’d already found alternative accommodation because they ignored the box.
Last night we decided to have a peek inside the to make sure it wasn’t becoming a wasp colony (like the underside of the bbq lid) and were surprised to see it 1/3 full of moss and dryer lint. It didn’t resemble a bird’s nest, and there were no feathers or eggs visible, so I poked it with my finger and dislodged a very indignant queen bumblebee. We left her alone, and she went back into her nest where we’ll leave her to in peace to raise her larva.
It must have been quite a job for her to excavate and carry all that moss up into the box; bumblebees aren’t the most effortless fliers unencumbered.