For my birthday last weekend I was gifted a masonbees.co.uk Guardian Scheme for red mason bees. My gift consisted of a bee lodge, nesting tubes and a release box for use next spring. Although it may be the end of the red mason bees nesting season; today I put up the bee lodge ready for any other solitary bees who might like to nest over the coming months.
With the guardian scheme, next spring I will be receive some red mason bee cocoons. All I need to do is put up the release box, add the cocoons and monitor them to see when they hatch and fly away. The males will hatch about a week before the females but it could all take about a month depending on the weather of course! The bee lodge is to be located near the release box so they have somewhere to nest.
All I have to do now is insure I have plenty of flowers in bloom for when they emerge 🙂 If anyone has any suggestions of flowers that are heavy with pollen I’d love to know (I don’t have space for fruit trees but I will be able to supply them with dandelions and buttercups).
Hopefully next summer I will have a garden full of red mason bees and lots of capped tubes!
I like that I will be able to care for and release some of our endangered solitary bees, it is also a responsibility but I think it is one that we should all try and do if we have the resources to do so. They need all the bee-friendly gardens they can find 🙂
There has been a collection of pigeons and doves visiting the garden for some time. They used to sit on the neighbours roof and wait for the ground feeders to be filled late afternoon before coming to feed. The neighbours took objection to them and would make noise to scare them off. They have since decided that because the food is in our garden it is acceptable to sit on our roof instead. They are quite friendly now and will sit on the roof or washing line as we walk by. They still don’t like the neighbours when they are making noise!
Once they have had their fill of food it is a sign for the woodpigeons to come over and finish off any scraps.
As I was leaving for work in the morning I noticed one of the sweet williams in the front garden had started to flower, this led me to notice a deceased dragonfly at the front of the pot. Very odd! I can only assume a bird had dropped it and it had happened to land there. I was on my way to work so only had time to take a photo on my phone but thought I’ll have a better look when I got back later… nope it had gone!
From the squashed flowers in the pot I think another bird may have landed and taken it away. At least it didn’t go to waste and someone has eaten it. It is just a shame I didn’t get to have a closer look before it disappeared.
Again I spent my evening in the garden planting out some more of the seedlings. I was predominantly working in the raised beds trying to fit in more of the wildflowers I have to put out. I noticed a few 7-spot ladybird larvae on a rose bush and then a small bug on a daisy type plant (I have no idea what the plant actually is as it just turned up in the garden!). The small bug was a common froghopper; but of a different colouring to what I have been used to seeing. It was black of the body and beige/yellow of its head. It sat quite happily to have its photo taken 🙂
For Day 19 I was taking advantage of the good weather and planted out some of my seedlings. I was hoping I would discover something interesting in the garden for 30 Days Wild. What I wasn’t expecting to find was a tiny fungi attached to one of the newspaper pots containing a zinnia!
I had no idea what the fungi was but put it on Twitter as my interesting find for the day. I wasn’t expecting so many people to like it! Thank you everyone 🙂 Pete (@dnannerbetep) replied to say he thinks it is a Little Japanese Umbrella, Parasola plicatillis. I still have a lot to learn when it comes to fungi.
On June 18th I put three eggs in the garden to see if the fox was still about. I placed them near the entrance / exit route I think they use and put the trailcam out to see what happened.
I was expecting the young fox from the other day but a different fox turned up first and took the eggs!
To me this looks like an older fox and maybe even a family member of the young fox. She took them all in a 8 minute window.
As you can see the last segment of the video shows a younger fox, though I can’t be 100% certain if it’s the same one who was eating the bird food earlier in the week. I need to gain more footage to work out who is who, but it is exciting to know there is more than fox using the garden 🙂
This evening I was determined to get some of the flowers planted in the garden while the rain stayed away. I always have a look around the garden first to make sure everyone is happy and tend to any plants that need a little extra care. I noticed that the red campion had started to go over.
What I have never seen before is the little pod filled with seeds.
I think it is a great example of evolutionary design; when the wind blows the seeds are spilt from the pod and dispersed.
I decided to give the plant a helping hand and took a few of the seeds and spread them in the garden and field. What I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t taken a photo of the seeds in my hand is the texture of the seed; like a tiny lychee!
This afternoon I spotted this Buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) on the garden path.
My first thought was ‘he needs sugar water!’ Then I realised all I needed to do was pick him up and put him with the others that were buzzing around a plant that hangs over the garden fence from next door.
I picked up a feather, one of the doves had left on the lawn and gently got him to crawl onto it.
He happily transitioned to the flowers and fed with the other bees.
I saw on Twitter that volunteers are needed to spot insect ‘spittle’; my initial thought was ‘there is loads in the garden, I can do that’. Last year on June 1st I wrote about cuckoo spit and froghoppers; so carrying on from last year’s blog, today I went out into the garden to take part in the survey.
The reason for the survey taking place is the UK is on high alert for the Xylella fastidiosa disease which has been found in several locations in the EU. The disease is moved from plant to plant by plant-sucking insects such as froghoppers. By people submitting data of where they have seen either cuckoo spit or froghoppers themselves a distribution map of the potential path of the disease can be made. I think it is important to be clear that the disease isn’t in the UK and the map created from the data will be used to make an action plan if it does ever arrive here. Please don’t remove any of the cuckoo spit you might find as the nymph growing inside is doing no harm, it will grow into a very cute little bug 🙂
To complete the survey all you need to do is..
Log the amount of time you spend looking for spittle/spittle bugs, take note of how many spittle only / spittle with insect / adult you find on what type of plant and how many square metres you have searched. It is also important to take a photo of the nymph if you can to submit with your data.
To be able to see if there is an insect in the spittle you need to tease them out. I used a bit of grass to slowly move through the spittle; the nymph leaves the spittle enough to be able to have a look at it. Some would run off down the steam and others would move a little and freeze.
When you enter the data online, each plant species is a separate data entry so make sure you have your data separated out for each plant species. In total I found..
Spittle with insect
All of the nymphs found were Meadow Spittlebug (Philaenus spumarius), you can use the ID sheet provided online to help with your identifications.
I got home late this evening so didn’t get into the garden until the light was starting to fade. I wasn’t sure what I would find, after a little searching I found what I think is a garden spider (Araneus diadematus), it was in the lavender where it had built its web. It is tiny; only a little bigger than the aphid it was eating.
Garden spiders are seen between June and November.