Nature's Place

Maternal Instinct

P1060146 - Mark Berkery

The bee hotel referred to in the last post is actually a maternity ward. There are now eight or nine holes filled by the Orange Tailed Bees with eggs and what they need when they hatch. I have also seen the bees dig out the holes after an Ichneumon wasp has visited and taken advantage, by laying her eggs in or on the bee’s eggs.

P1060141 - Mark Berkery

I suppose they are more a resin bee as they line and seal the nests with resin collected from somewhere nearby. Then they finish off with a layer of earth so the hole doesn’t look much different from the surrounding wood. They are very particular about this finishing process and it is the only time to get a shot of them, when they are in the open and fully focused on the nest. And until they finish a nest site they usually sleep in the hole and can be seen pulsing in the night light of a good torch.

P1060532 - Mark Berkery

It is still very early in the year for bees and wasps so I expect there will be ample opportunity to observe the comings and goings about the bee’s ‘holed log’ hotel. And they are not the only bees to take up nesting there but the others are just too fast and small so far, to get any pix.

P1060122 - Mark Berkery

Another curious structure has begun to appear at small holes around the house, and on another log of different wood that I also drilled for nesting creatures. It’s a wasp’s nest to which there is a mud tunnel for an entrance which the wasp takes much time to build. After the wasp is done the tunnel disappears and the hole is plugged with mud.

P1060731 - Mark Berkery

All just going about their business, except for the ubiquitous ants who go about everybody else’s business, it seems – raiding smaller bee’s nests, at a cost. So I make it that the ants can’t have everything by hanging the nests from a rope or chain and make it impassable without wings.

P1060429 - Mark Berkery

Such is living in this little piece of urban jungle.

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture to enlarge in a new tab – best in FireFox


23 Responses

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  1. […] second bee is based off of a Mark Berkery photograph, which you can view here.  (His photos are […]

  2. Khalid said, on 28/12/2012 at 6:28 am

    amsazing blog bro, the pictures are amazing. Makes me want to be a bee myself and try to live in real nature unlike our world. Keep it up I love it.

    • Mark said, on 28/12/2012 at 1:59 pm

      Thanks Khalid. Yes, a bee has no issue but the exercise of survival instinct, easy … :)

  3. Deb said, on 23/12/2012 at 8:11 am

    Fantastic series Mark. I’d love to make a bee hotel but I’m in an apartment a few stories up now, it might not get used. Perhaps I’ll try it anyhow!

    The mud tunnel – does it look at all like this creature? – I’ve somehow pegged this as a bee and can’t find the source now.

    • Mark said, on 23/12/2012 at 11:46 am

      Thanks Deb. A few stories up? Why not, you never know since we are always on the ground, you might find some very exotic, even unknown creatures up there. Now is a good time to get something up with 3 or 4 months still in the season, and don’t take it down over winter – you never know. And let us know how it goes.

      That’s the same kind of tunnel. I’d say that masked bee is looking to squat the wasp’s nest, it’s in for a shock unless it has already been abandoned but I suspect when one such nest is finished the wasp uses the mud in the tunnel to plug the nest and so the tunnel is no more. I find those bees in the garden squatting holes or hollows in the pruned plants, I leave cut and dead plants for just this reason though the rain can drive them off. See – They need little umbrella’s to keep dry, ha!

      • Deb said, on 23/12/2012 at 7:43 pm

        Ha, brilliant! Thanks for that, maybe that’s where I saw it and convinced myself it was a bee. Here’s hoping there are some exotic creatures at this altitude.

        • Mark said, on 24/12/2012 at 4:45 am

          If you include some flowering plants the bees can use they will surely be along, bright, showy and aromatic with lots of pollen and nectar – something will show up.

  4. alldigital photography said, on 22/12/2012 at 7:32 am

    These are wonderful macro images, superb.

  5. Tammie said, on 22/12/2012 at 3:39 am

    such an interesting thing to build a possible hotel for insects, and it worked.
    as always it is a cherished wonder to see your photographs and learn more about the wee folk.

    the last photo where i can see the bees neck, feels so intimate to me.

    lovely holidays to you
    sweet solstice to you too~

    • Mark said, on 22/12/2012 at 12:24 pm

      Hello Tammie. Yes, a simulation of how they do it anyway, a little too close to each other though, it seems at times they would rather not get so close to the neighbour – know how they are … :)

      All the best to Thee …

  6. Laura Conowitch said, on 20/12/2012 at 6:19 am

    Thanks Mark! I love visiting your site…you provide an awesome education!

    • Mark said, on 20/12/2012 at 11:33 am

      Thanks Laura. I like to give a little, can’t help it really … :)

  7. Alex Jones said, on 20/12/2012 at 5:01 am

    What beautiful images. Nice work.

  8. writingthroughitall said, on 20/12/2012 at 12:44 am

    Hi Mark. As usual–your wonderful connection to nature has uplifted and educated us! Blessings…..

    • Mark said, on 20/12/2012 at 2:12 am

      Hello M. Your site link isn’t working … Pleasure …

  9. Garden Walk Garden Talk said, on 19/12/2012 at 10:32 pm

    The last photo is intriguing where one can see beyond the exoskeleton. Love your work.

    • Mark said, on 20/12/2012 at 12:46 am

      Thanks Donna. That’s what a bee’s neck looks like …

      • Emily Heath said, on 20/12/2012 at 7:17 am

        I wonder why this particular bee species has its neck exposed, surely this leaves it open to invasion by parasites? Maybe it allows greater flexibility during nest construction.

        • Mark said, on 20/12/2012 at 11:38 am

          Hi Emily. So far all bees I have found in this ‘working’ position, whether on the nest or in a flower, has an exposed neck to some degree – the degree it bends its head forward. Remember, the bee has an exoskeleton which is its armour and when the head is up in ‘normal’ position the neck is well protected.

  10. Chillbrook said, on 19/12/2012 at 6:42 pm

    Fascinating pictures Mark. These really are superb!

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