To increase the population of pollinating bees in the community orchard, Greening Westbourne has joined the Guardianship Scheme run by MasonBees of Shrewsbury:
We've installed a bee-friendly nest box in the community orchard in Hampshire Farm Meadows, and in March we receive a supply of bee cocoons that will hatch from the release chamber next to the nest box when blossom appears on the fruit trees and the weather conditions are right, probably in late March or April.
Through the summer, ‘our’ bees collect pollen, store it in the nest tubes, mate, lay eggs on the stored pollen and cap the tubes with mud.
Filled tubes are returned to MasonBees who check, count, clean and record the contents, before returning a new supply of cocoons to us the following spring.
Masons are solitary bees and do not sting unless severely provoked so they are safe with children and animals.
If all goes well, they look after themselves while pollinating the fruit trees and surrounding wild flowers and creating the next generation of bees. However, there can be brief periods of more intense activity when a patch of nearby soil has to be kept wet to provide the ‘masonry’ for the bees to cap their nest tubes, and capped tubes need to be collected, stored and replaced with new, empty tubes.
If you would like to help look after our Mason Bees, please contact Martin Yallop, 07714 877667 firstname.lastname@example.org