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Today is mild with sunny intervals, not quite as sunny as I might wish, but pleasant enough for lounging. And that’s just what I’m doing, being thoroughly spoiled by OH. This is the life!

I had some minor, routine surgery yesterday, all very straightforward, but I returned home with instructions about taking it easy, refraining from driving or using machinery (?) drinking alcohol (bother!) etc etc, so here I am. Lounging.

And guess what? Where I thought a couple of solitary bees were setting up home appears to be the new town of the apian world. Three feet behind the back of my lounger, in the leaf litter at the base of the garden wall, an ever-increasing stream of what my sister calls “whitebums” is speeding to and fro, burrowing into the leaves. It is actually quite fascinating, and we are always delighted to play host to bees.

There is also a new nest in the eaves at the side of the
house. We have a Whitebeam in the front – not an ideal garden tree, there when we moved in, but the blossom is a magnet for bees. As soon as we enter the garden we can hear the buzzing, and we have had bumble bee nests in the eaves for at least three or four years. This week is the first time this year we have spotted it, so now must be nest-building time.

Our neighbour is always a bit uneasy at the sight of the bees, but we have tried to reassure her that they really do not want to be inside our homes – just their own! (We hardly ever have any bees in the house and when we do, we find it fairly easy to move them outside again.) As I write this, there is a regular buzzing just over my right shoulder!

We feel quite privileged that the bees choose to return year after year.

These photos are pretty poor (I only have the iPad) but the first shows (or rather, conceals) the entrance to the nest, and the second shows the bees clustering around the entrance to the nests in the eaves.

There are no bees in this photo. I did try – honestly – to photograph some either entering or exiting, but they really move fast! The entrance to the nest is almost in the dead centre of the picture.

Here you can see some of the bees. They are constantly buzzing around the corner of the roof – the entrance to the nest must be just under the eaves.

Bumble bee nests don’t last very long; they can be finished with in as little as six weeks. I think they are well worth nurturing, or at least tolerating for that long (and I know I am preaching to the converted). I am sure that my garden, and those of my neighbours, reap the benefits.

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Great stuff! We have quite a few bees but have not noticed any nests. We didn't have a wasps nest either last year, for the first time - no complaints there...

29 May, 2016


Excellent Susanne - glad you had some amusement while resting. We've had bees nesting in the eaves of a corner of our front porch . . . slightly alarming for the postman, but we were happy to see them, and as you say, they are not there for long.

Did you see the lovely Matthew Wilson talking about his People's Choice award at Chelsea? He was thrilled, very happy to see so many bees among his plants, and glad to be helping the local gardeners :)

Get better soon!

29 May, 2016


You must be in a warm and sheltered spot. With the cold winds here its a marvel to see one.
If anyone is frightened of them in the house, please do not use chemical sprays. Keep a 2 lb jam jar by the sink.
Then when they settle on the window slowly move it to cover them. They do not see it. Then slowly open the window and move them to escape that way.
They are on the verge of extinction. We can save them .
Pollinating insects are vital to future food supplies.

29 May, 2016


Glad to hear you are free of wasps' nests this year, Stera. We have had a few and they are not really to be recommended. In fact, the bee man we know said that they are usually best dealt with. Apparently, wasps get confused, wander, and end up leaving a false trail to a false nest. This results in mass invasions into the house - I know, we had one when the children were small, and while we tolerated it (killed a few, I must confess) I wouldn't want to repeat the experience. Mind you, it did cure the children of any irrational fear of wasps, but it might have gone the other way, I suppose. Fortunately, OH is quite fond of them (!) so he kept us all very calm. He also did most of the killing! (What else do you do when every morning the bathroom contains 10 to 12 wasps? They do dart about!)

I didn't see Matthew, Sheila, but I'm sure he was delighted to see bees in his garden - the ultimate accolade, I should say. I'm absolutely fine, thanks for the thought. I'm lounging as I write, actually, but I was playing the organ at church as usual this morning and we had Mum round for Sunday lunch so all is pretty well back to normal. I'm still being well looked after by OH though, so it's pretty good. Not that there is anything unusual in that, I hasten to add!

We are in a generally mild area, Diane, and the back garden in particular is very sheltered. The jam jar method is one of my favourites. I also have a long handled duster, a bit like a feather duster, which I use to pick up the bee and waft it out of the (previously opened) window. This morning I failed to revive an exhausted bee. I put a little blob of honey beside it, and it did take some, but half an hour later I found it dead a few feet away. Mind you, it looked really tattered, so it had obviously worked itself to the end.

29 May, 2016


"Playing the organ" - wow, that sounds brilliant!

29 May, 2016


Yes - it's my weekly Vincent Price moment! I've played for the last 33 years, after stepping in to plug a gap. I'm not really an organist, but a piano player who graduated to the organ. It is a proper pipe organ but I don't use the pedals. My daughter really is an organist, amongst other things. She plays at a Glasgow city centre church. OH says organ playing is an outlet for megalomania! I have to admit I enjoy it, but I still get butterflies even after all that time!

29 May, 2016


I guess most of us would get butterflies if playing in public, but you survive every time!

29 May, 2016


I like to keep right on the edge of the comfort zone occasionally - it keeps me on my toes! Joking apart, I am comfortable in my role. A certain amount of adrenalin is essential for performance.

29 May, 2016


You'll never be out of a Sunday job - church organists are thin on the ground these days. Ours does his best but sticks with his small repertoire - new ones fox him especially if they have something a bit unexpected in them...

29 May, 2016


St Albans is the English mecca for organ production. Every year they have a week long Organ Festival. Organists go from all over the country and spend the whole week sitting listening to the heroes playing organs. A sort of Chelsea
Flower Show for organists. Lovely !

30 May, 2016


Sounds great ?! I occasionally go to the lunchtime organ recital at Kelvingrove Art Gallery when I'm in Glasgow. They have a guest organist every day.

30 May, 2016


It's true that church organists are an endangered species, Stera. We are fortunate to have two in our parish. I now leave weddings and funerals to my colleague - weddings in particular I find far too stressful, though I've played for many in my day. I work to keep my repertoire up to date. I'm not responsible for choosing the music (my daughter is in her church) so I do what I'm told!

30 May, 2016



30 May, 2016


Back to the bees, and the second photo. Apparently, the bees buzzing around the outside of the nest are most likely males hoping to mate with any queens leaving. I have watched them and wondered why they didn't seem to be going into the nest. I am learning a lot!

30 May, 2016


Hope you'll make a quick recovery Ohm but don't be tempted to overdo things because you feel okay.

I like bees and I think they know it because we always find a couple in the conservatory. I catch them with the battery operation spider catcher then take them outside. Like you, I did find a very sad one, took it outside and put it on an open flower. It started to feed straightaway but slowly. I don't know if it survived or not. Hope it did though when I last looked it had gone.

I hung up a bug hotel in my garden but when I last looked there didn't seem to be any takers. Yet.

4 Jun, 2016


I have discovered quite a lot about my bees in the last few days, Arbuthnot. The bees with the nest at the bottom of the garden wall are fairly common, and it has quietened down a lot in the last two days - this is to be expected, and is just part of the natural cycle. The bees nesting in the eaves, however, while not exceptionally rare, are less common. They are Bombus Hypnorum, or tree bumblebee. Apparently, the bees flying excitedly around the entrance to the nest are males, who live outside, hoping to mate with new queens leaving the nest. Sadly, only about 30% of these males will ever mate. (Perhaps we should be relieved to learn this.) It's a bit like the clouds of insects that you see hovering in the garden - apparently, they are all males in search of a female. When the cloud suddenly veers off in one direction, it's because the males have percieved a female presence. I believe then, it's a case of "first come, first served" ! Regardless of all this, I must still stress that the bees cause us no inconvenience whatsoever, but a lot of interest (and, I confess, a certain amount of smugness. What else is a garden for, but enjoyment for all?)

5 Jun, 2016


That's very interesting, Ohm. I couldn't help but liken your description of the bees flying excitedly round to some men I've met! There's no difference between human and insect life then.

6 Jun, 2016


Lol! The male bees can't sting, either. Females rule in the natural world, obviously!

6 Jun, 2016


A most interesting OHs big disappointment in life....not keeping bees.....our garden is full of themO:-) and the conservatory!

7 Jun, 2016


Thank you, Dd.

I wouldn't be quite so keen if bees were constantly invading the house, even though I find them easier to release than wasps. Great to have lots in the garden, though. I'm not interested in keeping bees. Bumblebees will do me! The nest in the garden seems to have finished now because I haven't seen any bees entering or leaving for a few days. i did see quite a few down at the bottom of the garden today, and wondered whether there's another nest down there, but I didn't investigate. The males are still buzzing excitedly outside the nest in the eaves, though!

I learned something else about the male bees. Apparently, living outside the nest, they sleep in the shelter of leaves, or a plant. In the morning, they need to warm up before they are ready to fly, so they often just bask, motionless. Another reason for finding what appear to be ailing bees.

7 Jun, 2016


Fascinating stuff, bees are quite complex insects are they not?

7 Jun, 2016


They are indeed.

7 Jun, 2016

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