Bees are eating Lichfield Cathedral

From Christopher Howse’s article in The Telegraph: Bees are eating Lichfield Cathedral.

Bees are eating Lichfield Cathedral. It sounds like science fiction, but it is science fact. I might take back the kind words I had for bees in this column (June 28), except that the cathedral-eating kind are not our beleaguered honey bees.

The vandals are masonry bees, of which there are nearly 20 species in Britain. Who’d have thought it? Normally they do little harm, as readers have reported in the Telegraph letters page (July 26). But Lichfield cathedral is built of soft old sandstone, which crumbles like cheese. The bees take advantage of exfoliating stone, and where one lays her eggs, others are attracted. Their little mandibles can burrow a system of galleries, and the holes fill with water, which freezes in winter, splitting the stone, and providing yet more desirable residences for bees.[continue]

While you’re thinking about Lichfield Cathedral, stop in at their website to have a peek at Lichfield Angel, the St Chad Gospels, and Herckenrode Glass.