Busy Masonry Bees

I was appointed to undertake a full building survey (structural survey) of a Grade II listed cottage in Essex.

The property was generally in satisfactory condition. Defects were commensurate with a building of this nature and age, however some are a result of a lack of regular maintenance. It should always be born in mind that the maintenance requirement to keep a listed property in good condition is generally greater than that of a modern property.

When inspecting an outbuilding at the rear of the site, some areas of masonry were repointed using hard cementitious mortar. This had caused the relatively soft bricks to erode and I recommended that the cementitious mortar should be carefully removed and replaced with a lime based mortar. This is a fairly common defect however more unusually I found that some of the brickwork joints had Masonry Bee cavities.

Some of the cavities ran along bed joints and appear to be fairly deep, however, did not appear to be affecting the performance or durability of the brickwork.

The bees are opportunists and will re-use old nest sites. They are solitary insects and, like wildlife generally, are efficient pollinators. I therefore advised my client that wall should be periodically monitored and should it start to deteriorate the cavities can be repointed with a compatible lime based mortar.

Artificial nesting boxes can also be placed on or near to help entice bees away from the masonry cavities and prevent recolonisation. These can be home-made or, alternatively, proprietary kits are available.

Project reference code 147.

Busy Masonry Bees

I was appointed to undertake a full building survey (structural survey) of a Grade II listed cottage in Essex.

The property was generally in satisfactory condition. Defects were commensurate with a building of this nature and age, however some are a result of a lack of regular maintenance. It should always be born in mind that the maintenance requirement to keep a listed property in good condition is generally greater than that of a modern property.

When inspecting an outbuilding at the rear of the site, some areas of masonry were repointed using hard cementitious mortar. This had caused the relatively soft bricks to erode and I recommended that the cementitious mortar should be carefully removed and replaced with a lime based mortar. This is a fairly common defect however more unusually I found that some of the brickwork joints had Masonry Bee cavities.

Some of the cavities ran along bed joints and appear to be fairly deep, however, did not appear to be affecting the performance or durability of the brickwork.

The bees are opportunists and will re-use old nest sites. They are solitary insects and, like wildlife generally, are efficient pollinators. I therefore advised my client that wall should be periodically monitored and should it start to deteriorate the cavities can be repointed with a compatible lime based mortar.

Artificial nesting boxes can also be placed on or near to help entice bees away from the masonry cavities and prevent recolonisation. These can be home-made or, alternatively, proprietary kits are available.

Project reference code 147.