April is peak season for solitary bee activity in the garden and countryside.
Solitary Bees If you have been planning to make or put up a solitary bee home make sure it is up early this month otherwise there will be few tenants before 2019. There are over 250 types of solitary bee in the UK alone of which less than one percent are capable of stinging. The majority are early season specialists, though a few, such as the ivy bee, come out in autumn. As the name implies these bees neither live in hives nor colonies but on their own, with fertilised females laying eggs with individual pollen bundles to hatch out in the spring of the following year. Many of the solitary bees are ground nesting, creating little mounds similar to worm casts
especially in more sandy ground, others can be found nesting in lime mortar walls digging tunnels into the mortar, or nesting in hollowed tubes which is where the solitary bee homes come in. If you have a solitary bee home you can generally divide the users into two categories; the leafcutters who seal off the tubes with carefully cut leaves and the mason bees who seal off with mud. It can be interesting o measure the balance of these two groups nesting from year to year to see if there is much change. Solitary bees are the most important pollinators of flowers and vegetables in the country so their appearance is most welcome and fruitful.
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Yaxley Gazette | April 2018 | T: 01733 757342 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org | www.yaxleygazette.co.uk 22/03/2018 15:26