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