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Hello folks a small nature note from No 21
As some of you know I have been keeping Mason bees for about 10 years, if you want to know more about these then try the website Masonbees .co.uk. The bees are finished nesting round about the end of June , and then it is best to remove all the completed nest tubes and put them in the garage or somewhere ready for the emergence of new bees next spring, this year however something was differrent when I looked in the nest box, some of the tubes had been disturbed and “robbed” of the pollen, aha! (I thought) culprits? Bluetits, just then a very beligerent bee kept going passed my hand in the box and going straight to the damaged tubes, very strange! However I continued removing all the tubes and got stung in the process so I stared at the bee to try to identify the bee but it was too active so I then trapped the bee for ID. THIS PHOTO SHOWS THE DISTURBED TUBES AS COMPARED TO THE NORMAL TUBES THE POLLEN SCATTERED AT THE FRONT IS VERY UNUSUAL.
These then are the photo’s of my unknown assailant,what bee is it?
My ID was Megachile maritima this has since been corrected to Megachile liginiseca,the Masonbee staff say that this behaviour has recently been observed at other sites and is unusual, I then sent the information that during my inspection it could be seen that the bee had parasitic mites and could this be a factor in the actions ? the answer was-----The behaviour doesn’t seem like a straightforward competition for space, in my opinion and it’s highly likely other factors are in play. We’ve had observations come in recently of a bee allegedly doing this to her own nest, which could suggest this might be more of a frenzied cleaning behaviour, rather than an attack. All puzzling but interesting to you also, I hope. Cheers Vic Adams.
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