There has been much more activity since I last updated back in July. Many more solitary bees of all sizes have been laying eggs in the holes drilled in the wooden blocks, including many of the really tiny holes that are only about 1mm diameter.
In August as I was walking past I noticed two new blocked up holes. They stood out because whatever material was used to block up these nests was a different colour from the more dull browny grey mud colour usually used. As I got in for a closer look I was lucky to witness the actual bee come along and continue to work on it. You can see the two reddy yellow coloured blobs in the top of the square block here.
The bee didn't seem to mind me at all so I watched for a while and took several shots of it. No, I can't ID it, let's just call it a medium sized solitary bee! This was on 22nd August.
On 19th September as I was walking past I was surprised to notice that those two blocked up holes, and a number of other ones, suddenly had holes in the material that had blocked them up! I'm not sure what is going on as three weeks doesn't sound a very long time for the larvae to develop. I was under the impression that the larvae would remain in the bee hotel over winter, to emerge in the spring as young bees, to continue the whole lifecycle all over again.
Even one of the original two Mason bee holes, which were the first two occupancies way back around March or April, had opened up. These are the two in the middle row below, the largest size.
Below - These two red-brown holes are close ups of the holes that the August bee was filling in at the top of this post. I wondered whether maybe a bird had been pecking at them but I saw no sign of any debris on the outside windowsill where this sits, indicating that something was trying to get at them from the outside. The hole, middle below, has a bit of a hole and within that, a smaller opening. It looks too neat for it to have been a bird pecking at it.
I'm rather at a loss to understand what is going on, as the numerous websites I have read all say that the bees will emerge in spring. I've also read about using chicken wire to protect against woodpeckers, but I can't see how that would help in any way as chicken wire has holes in it bigger than any of these holes!
I know this all happened in September and it's now October, and thankfully I haven't noticed any change since then. I've just been a bit slow to update this, that's all.
Confused of Brittany. :-/