Bees’ nest extrusion from an ash tree

As it’s raining I thought I’d liven up your day with another blog post. How kind!

When I was up at Hatfield Forest a few weeks ago, the group I was a part of spotted an odd extrusion from a cavity high up in an ash tree. Initially we thought it was a peculiar fungus, though upon zooming in with cameras we established that it wasn’t a fungus, but – after help from a few contacts – part of a bees’ nest.

It appears that the woodpekcer cavity was too small to accomodate the entire nest, and thus this extension of the nest – either to store food or for where larvae will be born and grow – was produced, due to the amenable conditions (warm and sheltered – this ash was a woodland edge tree and the nest faced in to the woodland).

Undoubtedly, it’s a curious thing. Quite alien, in fact. Granted, it’s a great example of ecological succession within a single tree limb: after the woodpecker leaves, bees enter. Who knows how this cavity will further rot in the future, and what else shall use it once the bees no longer have a use for it. I’d also hazard a guess that Inonotus hispidus decay is abundant in the area, so perhaps the limb will even fail around this area. Who knows…

They live!

Looking up into the lower crown of this majestic ash tree, we can spot to the right hand side…
…something quite freaky! Is it a claw? Is it a geocache?
No, it’s part of a bees’ nest. Such a ‘lovely’ texture to it, too!
Bees’ nest extrusion from an ash tree

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