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     Marijke & Piet.

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Nasty insects in buxus (box)

Insects can cause a number of pests. Here we address two insect specimen that, this year, caused a different type of harm. Honeybees and ants. During the work described in my post Trimming the topiary O-karikomi (buxus) sculpture  the following strange things occurred.

honeybee-in-buxus IMG_3949

Bees, more specifically honeybees are frequently visiting the boxwood all over the garden. When they get out of the box again they appear to be drunk. Most of them are not capable of flying and need some time to recover. I have previously read about insects, including bees, that eat something that ferments in their stomach, and thus produces alcohol that causes the drunkenness.

The buxus are not in bloom and close inspection does not show anything eatable in there. We do not have a hint of what this is about.

What I do know is that they where very aggressive and that I was stitched three times this week without any provocation by me. After the first sting, that was in my upper arm, I started wearing long sleeves. No luck. After the first one, two days later I got two stings, on the same day, in two fingers on my right hand. And that hurts. This also happened in September 2009.


While removing dead leafs from under the box I suddenly hit, what I first thought was, a molehill. Wrong ! Further investigation showed something very unexpected an ant-hill. As a result of the heavy rain-shower the ants must have gotten wet feed and developed this strategy to keep dry and build a skyscraper.

How clever can ants get ?

Although not very well visible on this photo (I needed an additional hand) inside the box I found two more of these constructs that I removed.

Related: Main garden karikomi and hako-zukuri objects, Shrubs.