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Essex Field Club
Essex Field Club
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Visit Our CentreEFC Centre at Wat Tyler Country ParkIn response to the coronavirus problem and the Government's recommendations, the EFC Green Centre public activities will be closed until further notice.

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The weblog below is for naturalists to use to report interesting sightings, ask questions, report on field meetings and generally post pictures and any information or questions generally relevant in some way to the wildlife and geology of Essex. You will need to register and be logged-on to post to the forum, and you need to upload pictures first, for use in posts. Find out more

Fri 22nd June 2012 12:11 by Peter Harvey
Re: Buttercups and odds and ends
In answer to Mary's post of 19th and question about the insect hotel and should she clean out the used holes in the winter, to remove the varied detritus within? Or leave well alone, as some tenants may be overwintering in there? DEFINITELY leave well alone.

All or nearly all the occupants using the holes will be nesting solitary bees and wasps, which make partitioned cells that they provision with pollen (from whichever plants that particular bee species collects) or with paralysed prey (whichever prey are used by that particular solitary wasp), on which they lay an egg in each cell. The egg hatches, the larva feeds on the food supply, then pupates, and will over-winter until the adult season period the following year. In addition there will probably be some nests 'parasitised' by cuckoo bees and wasps (cleptoparasites) adding to the interest and diversity. Cleaning the hotel out would destroy all these efforts and the next generation of insects.

So life is simpler than for the whole garden or gardener - just leave well alone and watch what inhabits the holes every year (identification of the species of bee and wasp which are using the hotel would require good quality close up photographs for some species and an actual specimen for most.



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