Wednesday, 14 July 2010

We need to talk about roses

No, not the pretty flowers, though I am very fond of them. What I want to talk about is this:


Lots and lots of perfect circles punched out of the leaves of one specific rose bush in our garden. It happened last year and I realised that the creature responsible was most likely a leaf cutter bee - at which point I decided to do absolutely nothing and thank my lucky stars we operate a wildlife friendly (read: lazy) garden policy. You've got to be a really persistent weed for me to even consider eradicating you.

Anyway, this summer they've been at it again and while I haven't seen one in the act of cutting, I have seen what they've done with the leaves:


This is just one of those cheap boxes bought from the garden centre and attached to the fence and forgotten. It's behind another rose that they don't seem at all interested in chomping.


You only need to wait a minute or so to see bee activity.


I think we may have mason bees in the bottom half, and also in the loose mortar in the wall of our old house, and I couldn't be happier to just leave them to it. We've stashed lots of bundles of bamboo canes around the garden, and I've now seen a plan for another, fancier bee box - time for my little wildilfe DIY helpers to get busy with the power tools again?

PS Thank you for all the lovely party comments and birthday wishes. If you're inspired to do the same, please do - once I put ideas up here I'm happy for them to be used, though obviously not my words or photos. Life is hectic as it is for all mums of school children at this time of year, so I've been a bit quiet. Lots to show and tell, one of these days!

33 comments:

  1. Oh wow, never seen anything like that before! It's kind of cool though..

    Fancy having a go at a bee box myself one of these days.

    P.S. I operate the same wildlife friendly approach ;-)

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  2. Spooky! It's 'Leaf Cutter Bee Day' on the blogs today, I've looked at two blogs and both are about those clever bees!!!

    How fantastic to see them making such good use of the bee house - had they read the manual?

    Love
    Celia
    x

    The other blog: http://tinyurl.com/2uv9lv6

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  3. They are so neat aren't they? Very clever indeedy. The other day when we were out at Thetford, we saw some bees digging tunnels in the sandy soil. They were actually using their wings to scoop the sand up from the depths. I could have watched them for hours. Ax

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  4. Those are some busy bees...eeekkk... Too creepy what they do to the roses though! It's fascinating, yet creepy at the same time isn't it?! LOL... Happy Days ((HUGS))

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  5. Lovely pictures! It makes me want a bee box for our garden too. And I'm going to have a look at our roses to see if we've had any similar visitors...

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  6. I wonder why they choose one particular rose bush - maybe different coloured rose bushes taste different too??
    We have some bees living in the garden wall, very busy flying in and out all day.

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  7. Those are bees with an advanced sense of geometry!

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  8. Wow! I've never even heard of a leaf cutter bee. What interesting patterns they leave in the leaves. And thanks for posting -- it's always good to know that others are having critter problems too LOL!

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  9. Oh how wonderful, I love bees and the world would be a very sad and unhealthy place without them.
    Love
    Lyn
    xxx

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  10. They leave much prettier holes in the roses' leaves than the bugs that are munching on ours...

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  11. How fabulous! I just showed Joe your post and he said "I want some leaf cutter bees!". Think I might have to go and buy one of those boxes!
    Rachel x

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  12. I love those perfect little circles in the leaves! Think I might need another trip to Bury Lane!

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  13. Wow, look at that - they've been so busy but then I guess that's where we get the phrase 'busy as a bee'. Those leaf notches are so neat and do look rather lovely. I'm still hoping the build a little bug hotel inspired by your photos earlier in the year, we could definitely use the help of a few more bees - it looks like only half of my tomatoes are setting.

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  14. My daughter built an insect box at a nature fair recently, but the squirrels came along and threw out all the little tunnels she had put in there for the insects! Good luck with your bees, it's so good to have them around. x

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  15. Fantastic! Eldest sweetpea loved the photos of your leaf cutter bees. We have either honey bees or wasps in our bee house - must check them out closer to see what they are.

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  16. How fantastic, eldest sweetpea loved your leafcutter photos. We have bees or wasps in our bee house, must check out what they are really. Had already posted this so apologies if you get two - baby sweetpea distracted me with her need for 'jjjuuiiiccccee!' so I can't remember if it posted ok or now.

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  17. that is pretty amazing work by those bees. nature is just amazing

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  18. How interesting...I've never heard of them either. We only ever seem to get pesky wasps!

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  19. I was only looking at bee houses today (at Van Hages, no less - my daughterly trip of the week!) but opted for an apple bird feeder instead. Perhaps I could make one instead.

    PS. is daughterly a real word?!

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  20. I just clicked on the special bee link - their leaf circle constructions are amazing! That must be what's inside those bamboo tubes in your little house. Those bees should start a craft blog. WHat a privilege to have them in your garden.

    We've had a hummingbird hawkmoth in the garden this week. Blimey.

    Looking forward to seeing you xxx

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  21. How exciting - even if your roses don't look as lovely as normal! Lucy xxx

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  22. I've never seen anything like it, nature is amazing! How brilliant that the bees love your garden though :)

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  23. I've never seen this before, it's amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your lovely photos

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  24. Aww, Mother Nature's little can openers. Sort of.

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  25. That is absolutely fascinating!
    Vivienne :)

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  26. Thanks for telling us. Now I know where these magic holes in my leaves come from. I thought they were from a beetle.

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  27. Must get a bee box. That's another activity for the weekend.

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  28. What clever bees! I always think the term 'solitary bee' is kind of sad - I worry that they'll get lonely!

    I love your bee house :o)

    xx

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  29. Wow! That's pretty cool! How big are they to be carrying such large pieces of leaf?

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  30. Gosh I need a leaf cutter bee in my workroom when I need to cut out circles .... they are pretty perfect aren't they! Really cool post

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  31. Wow Val - I've never seen anything like that before. How exciting (though not for the rose, of course). I wondered what sort of bees those 'black' ones are - in your last picture. Are they the Mason bees? I have some pictures of them, but didn't know what they were. x

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  32. Love the idea of leaf-cutter bees...it's so lovely to see the signs of their industry and thinking about what must be going through their minds (although scientific husband would correct me and say that nothing is going through their minds...they just work on instinct).

    Florence x

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