Making a bee box

We have had a bird box on one of our trees for quite a few years now – and over the last few seasons it has been used by blue tits. It’s been a great pleasure to see the parents going in and out of the box with nest materials, then start to hear the chicks cheeping and then see them leaving the nest.

This year things have changed. We noticed that a large piece of moss appeared to be almost blocking the entrance, and that lots of bees are flying to and from, and in and out of the box

bees 1

Having done a bit of research I think they are tree bumblebees (Bombus hypnorum). The bumblebee conservation website tells me that ‘this species was first found in the UK in 2001, but is now found throughout most of England and Wales. It prefers to nest above ground, often inhabiting bird boxes’. Apparently, they have come from mainland Europe and reached southern Scotland in 2013. And they are now in my garden. Queens have been known to evict blue tits from a nest box so maybe ours were unlucky this year…..

I’m pleased, since we have quite a bit of pollination needing done at the moment, such as strawberries and apples

strawberry flowers

apple blossom

So, to make a bee box, put one bird box in a tree, add a family of blue tits for a few years, make sure you have some moss in your lawn, and wait……… Here’s hoping we get a great crop of fruit & veg with their help.

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