May 9, 2012

BUSY LITTLE BEE

busy bee1One day during our Easter holiday, we were sitting on our little terrace in the sunshine enjoying a piece of cake and a cuppa with our friends Tim and Pauline, when I noticed something unusual going on behind me.

busy bee2I saw the rear end of a bee, as it reversed out of a hole in our window frame.  Then it flew off.

busy bee3

Moments later it returned and then flew out head first.  Which means it must have gone in backwards, I suppose.

busy bee4

Closer inspection revealed that the bee was filling the hole up with deposits of a sandy-looking substance.

Tim and Pauline then told us it was a mason bee.

busy bee5By the next afternoon, the hole was completely closed up.  According to Wikipedia , there should now be a stash of nectar or pollen in the hole, with an egg laid on top.

It will be interesting to see if the plug is still there in the hole when we are next chez nous, or if other holes have been adopted and become the homes of little baby mason bees.

26 comments:

  1. Aren't you afraid that there just may be a complete beehive (and I don't mean the 50-60ties hair-do) by the time you get back to 'chez nous'? These little, useful creatures do breed and if the egg turns into a Queen, you'll soon have a 'large' family crawling in and out of that small hole. Mind you, this is just a guess, because I'm not an expert.

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    1. Not the mason bees, Ladybird.
      They are a solitary bee and each hole holds just one bee grub and its food supply. Very important for the potager, they are well worth encouraging.
      Just supply a bundle of cut bamboo, dead teasel stem or anything similar that is hollow down the middle. The bee will use each tube for a grub.
      They are more important than honey bees for pollination.

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    2. Pauline, thanks for the explanation. I have probably seen mason bees before but didn't understand the difference between them and honey bees.

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    3. Martine, that was my thought too, I had never heard of mason bees until Tim and Pauline explained all about them.

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  2. Aw, what a sweet little bee, and I shall watch out for any living here.

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    1. Vera, they are everywhere, I think.

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  3. Must look out for them here.
    BTW the cake looks completely, utterly mouth-wateringly, fabulous [can you tell I like chocolate ;-)?] Antoinette

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    1. Antoinette, it was a fabulous cake !!

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  4. Your cake looks luscious. Are those peanuts on top?

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    1. Carolyn, they were chocolate raisins.
      The recipe is here:
      http://bakinginfranglais.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/chocolate-prune-cake.html

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  5. I would find this fascinating (well, I do really) except that I'm deathly allergic to bees (learned the hard way) and sometimes now feel like my heart might stop just seeing one. So, sadly, I would have immediately called the exterminator. Forgive me if I don't ask how the little guy is doing the next time you're there.

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    1. Mitchell, you're forgiven already !!

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  6. AND... that cake looks and sounds delicious. Thanks for the link to the recipe!

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    1. I hope you enjoy baking it - just employ someone to come in and do the washing up !!

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  7. Aww, how sweet. You now have a bee nursery in your window frame, Jean. :-) Antoinette is right - the cake looks fantastic!

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    1. Perpetua, I can hardly wait to see what happens next. No doubt it will do so when we're not looking and we'll miss it, whatever it is !!

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  8. a reversing bee
    well I never!!!

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    1. John, I wonder if they fly backwards as well !!

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  9. since you plugged the hole up, they are no longer freemasons

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    1. Spo, an interesting observation.......

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  10. I saw your blog on Life in the Charente and came for a visit. I’ll come back to read the differences you write about France and England - they look very interesting. I also like the look of your cake and would love to take a bite!

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    1. Vagabonde - thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment. I'm sure you would enjoy the cake if you are tempted to make one !!

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  11. Hi Jean I though it was time that you had the sunshine award.
    Copy and paste link.
    http://mr-tomato-king.blogspot.fr/2012/05/sunshine-award.html

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    1. Thanks Steve, I am dead chuffed !!

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  12. Hi Jean.
    Yours has always been on of my favourite blogs, your post are always interesting, but maybe I am biased as I love France, food and Harley's.

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  13. I'm glad I have found this blog as it appears I have Mason Bees nesting in the legs of my garden table. I have been watching the bee come and go and the holes slowly fill up with what looks like sand. We keep alot of pot plants and veg growing in our garden so its nice to know we can provide a nice little home for the bees.

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