a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France


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New Mason Bee Nests

The new Mason bee houses are all in place.  I must admit that the building of these houses are all due to the skills of my long-suffering husband.  There are plenty of helpful sites on the net if anyone wants to make some themselves.  Compared to the shop built house I think ours are better, if the Net information is to be believed.  It is suggested that holes be 10 cm. long whereas our shop built nest had bamboo tubes of only  8 cm. long which were not well protected from the elements.  Again the opinion seems to be between 6-8 mm. diameter for the holes and some of the bamboo tubes from the shop built house were 1 cm in diameter.

I was pleased to have been given some large bamboo poles but found most of them were too large in diameter to be used.  Some of our bamboo tubes were cleared of internal walls by a manoeuvre with an electric drill which I do not think was in keeping with Health and Safety regulations so I will let you work out your own methods for that.  It is amazing how many bamboo tubes you can squash into a given area, we have had to put a few larger ones in as filler but they will also act as a comparison with the finer ones.

Charentais style Mark I

Charentais style Mark I

Using a spare roof tile as the protection from the elements, this first style was quickly realised using cut bamboo canes and tied securely to the plum tree in the back garden.

Charenais style Mark II

Charenais style Mark II

The roof tile serves again in this model but the holes are provided in a birch log specially drilled with a 6mm drill bit.  The whole is firmly wedged into the willow at the bottom of the garden.  The tree is already covered in furry catkins that will provide lots of pollen when they have fully flowered.

Mason bee house Mark III

Mason bee house Mark III

Mark III has pride of place in the front garden, not far from the original house and sports a choice in 6 or 8 mm drilled holes in a log with additional accommodation available on a second level, provided by bamboo in varying diameters but chiefly between 6-8 mm.

I think the houses are in place with plenty of time to spare.

I was both disappointed and confused when I compared the photo of our original bee house last April with the bee house as it is at present.

 Present on left, last April on right,

Present on left, last April on right

There were four sealed holes in April 2012 on this face of the house, whereas there are only three now and one of those has a tiny hole in it.

In addition, the two sealed holes now present, were not there last April.  I was under the impression that there was only one brood a year so it looks as if  I’ll have to keep a closer watch on the holes this year to see what is happening.  It could be predation.

September 2010

September 2010

I thought this cute lizard was just curious and looking for a cool spot to relax in but now I’m not sure.

Prospective occupant

Prospective occupant

I hope the new bee houses will be looked upon favourably.  Two filled hole on one side and another filled hole on the reverse (with a little hole) does not seem a great stock of future Mason bees but I am hopeful that there may be others hiding away in the stone walls of the house and surrounding buildings.