Saturday, 15 April 2017

The Great Wall

We have a natural stone wall which surrounds the garden.  It has been by far, the biggest investment we have made in our home and at the time we wondered whether it was the best use of our money but I look at that wall every day and love it.  It is organic, it changes colour in the different light, it frames our garden and makes the property secure.  It was created for us by Bassam over three years ago, probably now nearer four and it is some of the best money we have ever spent.  Constructed from the local natural stone which is dug out of the surrounding fields, various pieces have a shape which remind me of different things and it has nooks and crannies which house all sorts of untold treasures.

In many of the little holes we have masonry bees making their homes - I know because I have seen them going in and out and were they setting up home in the fabric of the house I would be concerned but where they are I leave them to go about their business.

Masonry bees are a common species of solitary bee which make their homes generally in badly maintained mortar between the bricks of a house using existing holes in which they complete their life-cycle.  Generally these bees cause very little, if any, damage.    They prefer south facing walls with consistent levels of sunshine and are active whilst the sun is out.

I don't want to get rid of them which is just as well as that could turn out to be a very long-winded process because I would need to fill every single hole in which I think they are nesting - one even nested in the fish-eye of our old gate!  I shall leave them to go about their business as apparently the male bees do not have a sting and the females will only sting if squeezed and I am not about to do that any time soon, nor can I tell the difference in the genders!

Masonry bees are effective pollinators as just two or three females can pollinate a mature apple tree and continue to do so in cool or rainy weather when honey bees are more likely to tuck themselves up in bed!

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