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Wild Bees

Last post 18-08-2012 12:56 AM by Henry. 5 replies.

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  • 30/05/2012 11:18 PM
    • Henry
    • Aylesbury
    • 30 May 2012
    • 1
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    Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} We have in our garden a nest box, in which last year we were lucky enough to have a pair of blue tits rear a brood.This year, although it was inspected by several, they did not move in..

    On Monday this week, I heard a noise coming from the shed to whose wall the box is fixed. It sounded like a "mains hum", but I was pretty sure I had not left anything switched on. After searching around for a bit, I saw a bee was sitting on the lower edge of the entrance hole in the nest box.  It was quite stationary, except that is was agitating its wings like mad, hence the "mains hum". I thought at first that it was stuck in the hole, as the arc of its wings more or less filled the hole. After a little while, however it flew off.

    It was there again doing the same thing yesterday. I wondered what on earth it was doing, and I eventually thought it might be trying to cool the inside of the nest box. I have since observed the box a bit more closely, and there are at least 2 bees that use it on a regular basis. They were in and out today, but no "mains hum" effect. It has not been so consistently warm today, with the odd shower of rain. If indeed it was trying to cool the inside of the box, what could it have been wanting to cool? And what sort of bees could they be?. They weren't as big as bumble bees.



  • 31/05/2012 07:45 AM
    • Pesty
    • At a desk
    • 24 Nov 2005
    • 324
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    You are correct the bee is likely to be increasing air-flow and cooling the box. Need a picture of the bee to determine what it is, but it is likely that the nest box contains a nest - It is typically bumble bees that use nest boxes. The workers can be quite small (about the size of a honey bee or smaller), especially the first brood of workers which the queen would have reared on her own. Best leave it bee (excuse the pun) - the nest will only last a year  


    'Trying is the first step to failure' H.J.Simpson
  • 31/05/2012 10:21 PM
    • 07 Nov 2006
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    Hello Henry, welcome to the forum.

    At first.  Reading your post.  I was wondering what had gone wrong, all the micosoft jargon.

    The wilds bees.  Might I say.  I have always admired these little beauties.  Bye the bye.  You are aware of course, that it is an offence to deliberatly kill or destroy bees.  'But then,  Who in their right mind would want to harm them.  As  suggested.  The frantic efforts of this little character to cool the interior of the nest.  That is  quite true.

    I understand that the honey bee, as kept in hives.  I believe the average life-span is forty two days.  All the bees, and in fact the insects in general, are so valuable to mankind.  Not just to gardeners, but to farmers etc.  I really did feel good the other day.  I found a bumble bee, about the size of ones thumb.  He'd fallen victim to a spider's web on the greenhouse roof.  Gently I spent what must have been a good fifteen minutes.  Gentlt holding this little chap, between finger and thumb and carefully teasing the web threads away from his body. Having completed my task.  My tiny friend stood there fo a while, checking himself over.  Several vibrations of it's wings, as though saying.  Thank you.  Then off it went.  Next time you are in the garden, and our tiny aeronautical friends ar buzzing around.  Try and concentrate on them.  They are not all the same species, and they each have their own sound effects.


  • 08/06/2012 09:59 PM
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    There have been a lot of swarms recently and it looks like a bumper year for them. The bees send out a few scouts to do a reconasance ( sorry about the spelling) if they find what they think is a good place to nest they signal to the other scouts and then the whole swarm, they do this by lifting their abdomen high and expelling a ferramone while fanning with the wings to take the scent as far as possible. There may be a colony in the box or they may have found somewhere better for their nest. Bees would certainly not want a dirty nest box. Try observing the box either early morning or just before sunset to see if there are bees coming or going. if not it's likely they rejected the box and it needs cleaning out. small brown and long are wild honey bees with yellow stripes and long specially bred honey bees. Fluffy little bundles with buff or orange coloured tails are bumble bees. Lucky you if they are nesting in your garden you got your balance of planting right for the insect population.

  • 06/07/2012 04:09 PM
    • loulou
    • glasgow
    • 22 Oct 2008
    • 25
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    I agree, lovely that they are nesting in your garden :) We've had a number of bee boxes positioned around our garden for three years, but they've never been inhabited except by earwigs... shudder ;) However, we've had two colonies of honey bees under our patio (rather ugly paving slabs, but if the bees like it, all to the good). Great to hear there are a lot of bees about this year too, everything else seems to have taken a bit of a hit with all this weird weather... we've seen hardly any butterflies so far.

  • 18/08/2012 12:56 AM
    • Henry
    • 17 Aug 2012
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    Lovely story, people can be so cruel to these little fellas.