Newest Review: ... as I call them, in my small suburban garden. Of course that's not their real name, I haven't yet determined exactly what they are, but th... more
Bees are the Bees knees
Member Name: excavator
Advantages: Beatiful and fascinating creatures
Disadvantages: Little 'mole hills' on my lawn
Bees are fascinating. Most folk just don't realise how many different species there are - can't say I do myself, but there must be dozens, probably hundreds. Of course, everybody knows the Honey Bee and the Bumble Bee, but there are all manner of different ones, of all sizes, shapes, and colours. And they're not all sociable - many are solitary, living alone and yet their lives are just as interesting as those of their more familiar cousins.
Every March, come a warm and sunny day, I look forward to the arrival of the 'Orange Bummed Bees' as I call them, in my small suburban garden. Of course that's not their real name, I haven't yet determined exactly what they are, but they're fairly small bees, black and furry, with a deep orange 'bum', and I love watching them quartering the grass at low level and systematically drilling holes in the rough borders around the trees, leaving little 'mole hills' each with a neat little tunnel running into it. If you watch carefully, you'll notice that these occur in little groups of about six to eight mounds attributable to each individual, and several bees will hold similar territories around the garden. I don't know whether its the male or the female that does this, but I assume that one egg is laid in each hole.
Are the bees in March newly emerged from last years eggs, or did they hatch last year and have hibernated somewhere over the winter? So many questions. Of course the mounds are a little unsightly, and a bit of a nuisance at the time of year I want to get the lawn looking nice, but I can't help but to carefully mow around them so as not to disturb these wonderful creatures. And yet if they do accidentally get trampled, the bees are soon back on the scene and they are magically restored.
Another species - even smaller in size - I spotted one day flying into the hole in the top of a bamboo garden cane stuck in the ground. I thought I'd imagined it at first as the bee seemed to disappear down an impossibly small hole. But I watched for a while and it suddenly re-emerged and flew off, returning some minutes later carrying a small cut section of leaf, which it carried into the hole. It repeated this process all day until the hole was completely sealed with bits of leaf, undoubtedly with the egg sealed inside. Unfortunately, I never saw that bee again, and have no idea how long it was before the young one emerged, but I always leave lots of canes about now in the hope of attracting more.
Summary: Part of life's rich tapestry
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