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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Wed 13th March 2013 - Bee Fields, Newchurch.

Mark's Photographs.

Carrie's Photograph.

This week the Green Gym were creating homes for solitary bees at a nature site in Newchurch.  This involved removing the top layer of grass to expose the soil, and this task was very trying on the back, lots of bending up and down, now you know why they call it the Green Gym!  Once the top layer was removed it was either barrowed to the edge of the site and put upside down in piles, or put round the edges of the exposed soil areas for the bees to enjoy the sunshine.  The exposed areas were then walked all over to compress the soil, which is better for the bees to make their holes.   The photograph shows an example of  one of the areas.

Carrie's Nature Lesson.

There are more than 200 species of solitary bee in Britain, and include Carpenter bees, Mining bees, Leafcutting bees, Mason bees, and Orchid bees, and are so named because, unlike honeybees and bumblebees, they do not live in colonies. All solitary bees are excellent pollinators and should be encouraged. Each female makes her own nest in which she constructs chambers or cells, and fills these with pollen moistened with nectar until there is enough food to feed a bee developing from an egg, through different larval stages, to a pupa and then to an adult bee. Bees develop very much like butterflies, with the "caterpillar" being the larva and the "chrysalis" the pupa. Once she has collected enough food she lays an egg on the pollen mass and seals the cell before going on to construct another.  The picture shows a red mason bee.

Many thanks to Carrie and Mark for this week's contribution.

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