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bee keeping

April 19, 2014

All gardeners are bee keepers of sorts.  We love pollinating insects.  Even though honey bees can always be seen buzzing among the flowers, they don’t have a hive nearby. But happily, solitary bees live right here on the back porch. We see them digging burrows in our hanging  driftwood sculpture (third image below).

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Makes sense, the wood breaks away easily.

What we’ve come to understand is that the female bees burrow into the wood pieces to lay eggs.

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She will pack pollen into these tiny chambers as a food source for her larvae when they hatch.  Apparently they prefer a particular variety of flower as a pollen source.  The bees living here seem to prefer the blue spires salvia.

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We’re considering installing another piece of driftwood under the porch covering.  A much larger branch that will offer far more protection from the rain for the tiny eggs inside.  I suppose we should get on that task – bee season probably doesn’t last much longer.

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sharing here –> Elizabeth & Co’s garden party

8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 19, 2014 7:12 pm

    I really like this post, Diane. Who thinks of this kind of bee-keeping or enhancing the way these singular bees live. Thank you.

  2. April 20, 2014 8:20 am

    those pictures turned out great! ily /c

  3. April 20, 2014 8:32 am

    Are they Carpenter bees? I’ve seen these hover-craft type bees & the holes they make in our decks. I have never seen them pollenating, but if they do, then they are more then welcome to burrow deep & keep my garden happy! Fantastic shots!!! ~amy

    • April 20, 2014 3:30 pm

      hi Amy, yes they are beneficial insects. Their darting pattern of flight might make them appear aggressive, but they are not at all. Because they burrow, they might be considered pesky if they don’t have softer wood available. Cristy hung up two pieces of driftwood under the eve of the porch roof this morning. I can hear the wood crackle as they burrow. They are looking for places where their eggs/larvae will stay dry. The larvae pupate and won’t emerge until next spring, so they need a dry place to live (outdoors) for the next year. –d

      • April 22, 2014 6:57 am

        I’ve only thought of them as amazing wood workers, I didn’t know they were helping my garden too. I will be far more respectful. Although, they are a lot easier to attempt to photograph with their hovering flight patterns, I will attempt to photograph them now that I know they are working in my gardens.🙂 ~amy

  4. April 26, 2014 6:00 pm

    Those are amazing photos! And good informantion. We have plenty of hives surrounding us, so I doubt these are what flit around my garden. They’re welcome nonetheless. And we have the chubby bumble bees….which I’m sure isn’t their ‘proper’ name, but they all seem to not mind when I call them that. LOL

    • April 26, 2014 7:53 pm

      Hi Mel, funny you mentioned bumble bees because I saw one or two for the first time today. I was thinking the bumble bees are appearing later than usual. But it probably has to do with availability of blooming flowers. The last freeze in February was a big setback for a lot of gardens. Of course the weeds didn’t seem to be affected. Cristy did hang two additional larger pieces of driftwood in a more protected area of the porch and we watched one of the solitary bees burrowing into it this morning. Cristy was so happy🙂

  5. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. permalink
    May 31, 2014 7:32 pm

    Wow, that is so interesting to see the bees burrowing in your driftwood!

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