I’ve posted before about how wildlife find interesting uses for human-made objects in the yard. This shed is my kids’ play-house where they store a lot of their outdoor toys. Is something else going on inside?
Above is a photo of a board that used to have a lot of pegs sticking out of it. Did I mention that I have two boys? Over time the pegs have been, well, let’s just say they have been removed forcefully with a blunt object (baseball bat, golf club, hammer, take your pick). Some of the holes are still plugged with wood because the pegs broke off when they were removed. But some of the holes look different.
The whole above is plugged with dirt. Now, I wouldn’t put it past my kids to shove some dirt in there. But, in this case, that’s not what happened. Until very recently every hole was filled with either leftover wood or dirt. In the past couple of weeks something has removed the dirt plugs.
Mason Bees have moved in! I saw one hovering around here last summer and the dirt plugs appeared soon after. According to Field Guide to Insects and Spiders of North America by Arthur V. Evans, Mason Bees “do not construct their own nests; most use abandoned tunnels in logs or stems chewed by wood-boring insects…Brood cells are constructed from mud, plant material, and resin.” The female bee supplied each hole with pollen and nectar and then laid one egg inside. Once the egg hatched and the larvae eventually became an adult, it broke out.
Sometimes providing for wildlife can be simple, and lots of times it can also be accidental. How do we learn from this? I’d say it reinforces that we need to make sure that we pay attention to what’s going on around us. Would you have noticed that some of the holes were still filled with wood, but others were plugged with dirt? If not, you might have ripped out this broken old pegboard and destroyed a pollinator’s nesting ground! Now that I know how important this pegboard is, I’ll keep it there. Of course, I’ll also be prowling around it next summer looking for Mason Bees.
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