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!

ash-tree-bees-nest-honeycomb-1
Looking up into the lower crown of this majestic ash tree, we can spot to the right hand side…
ash-tree-bees-nest-honeycomb-2
…something quite freaky! Is it a claw? Is it a geocache?
ash-tree-bees-nest-honeycomb-3
No, it’s part of a bees’ nest. Such a ‘lovely’ texture to it, too!
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Bees’ nest extrusion from an ash tree

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