After our day of workshops on the evil little varroa mite, Emma and I were itching for a chance to catch the last rays of sunshine in the Roots & Shoots garden, a horticultural training centre for young disadvantaged students.
We were lucky enough to meet David Perkins on our way round. David runs an Environmental Education outreach programme and manages the wild part of the garden for Roots & Shoots, keeping it welcoming for wildlife. It soon became clear that he knows an incredible amount about solitary and bumble bees. Below are some shots from his garden, which would just be the best garden ever for a child, because it features all sorts of overgrown paths and even a very dangerous dragon’s den…
In the ‘safe’ part of the garden, away from the dragon’s fire, we came upon a flurry of bees feeding from an apple tree hedge. After taking several blurry shots I was quite pleased with the one below of two honeybees. Bees may not be the most dangerous subjects for a wildlife photographer but they must be one of the fastest!
The garden was full of fascinating little signs like this. The more I read this proverb, the more I’m not sure I understand it fully; can anyone explain it to me?
Now this, this is David’s solitary bee home, or should I say castle. It is a copy of the Trellick Tower in London. When I said David knew a lot about bees…
Below you can see how some of the holes have been inhabited and contain mud, which solitary bees collect from the nearby pond. David explained to us that in many species of solitary bees males and females need different size holes. Males are slightly smaller than females. They hatch out earlier in the year to be ready for the females, so at this time of year there’s more males than females. We saw one male trying to approach a female but she shook him off; David said this was probably because she had already mated.
In the picture below you can see a red mason bee zooming home on the right hand side of the pic. There were lots of these lovely furry red bees.
David opened up the side of the bee tower so we could see the tubes inside. He didn’t get time to tell us much about them, but I’m guessing the yellow stains will come from pollen.
I was really saddened when David told us that his camera has recently been stolen, along with hundreds of bee photos on it. He came across as such a kind, gentle man and has given so much to the local community through his work in the garden. I hope he can afford to get a new camera soon.