Mason bee care/information
Mason bees are sold as winged adults hibernating in their capsule like cocoons
REFRIGERATE OR RELEASE MASON BEES ONCE RECIEVED
After receiving the bees, they can be stored in a fridge around 40 degrees unless it's time to release the bees when ordered. To keep the cocoon from getting dehydrated keep a slightly moist paper towel in a slightly opened plastic bag next to the cocoon container. Do not put the container of bee cocoons or reeds of bees inside of the bag. An older fridge would work better as it does not have the frost-free feature newer ones have.
- Be careful not to get the cocoons themselves wet so they don’t get moldy or expose them to direct sunlight, it will kill them.
- Temperatures around 40 degrees are preferable to keep bees alive and dormant while storing the bee cocoons.
- When it's time to release the bees. Gently push in cocoon in the reed with a q tip. For mason bees be sure to put the nipple end, the head of the bee, at the outward facing part of the reed or mason bee house hole.
- Be sure to put it far enough in so birds and other animals do not get to the cocoon, and only put one cocoon in each reed. Attach some chicken wire around the mason bee house to help protect the bees from birds and animals if needed. Keep the bees up high enough off the ground to help keep the bees safe from predators.
- Mason bee cocoons should be placed in reeds close to expected blossom time of your crops. There must be several bee friendly pollen sources before the bees are released. Early native spring summer, wildflowers, native weeds, flowering fruit and native trees and bushes are needed close to the mason bee home so that bees prosper and keep coming back. The bees need a lot of food sources (pollen, nectar) or the bees might fly away looking for better place to nest.
- Fruit trees blossom for a short time so it is important to have a lot of other of the above vegetation for the bees for the bee's entire life cycle is around 2 months.
- DO NOT release bees if weather is bad or too cold otherwise the bees will not get to the pollen sources. Do Not use insecticides, fungicides around these bees or put close by any else using poisons in their yards.
- Bees should be released in mid-March to mid- May
- Place cocoon filled reed(s) in a mason bee house with some fresh, empty reeds to fill the house then place the house so it can be reached by the sun to hatch the bees and to keep them healthy and active, place the house where there is some day shade, protection above the house to protect it against rain and scorching hot summer suns.
- It is best to have the house facing southeast, so the bees warm themselves and become active in the early morning
- For Californica bees: place the orange pollen covered cocoons with blue orchard cocoons. recommended to have some unharvested bees inside of reeds to go with any mason bee loose cocoons you may have for the pheromones to help attract the bees back to the mason bee house. The californica mason bees work well pollinating together with the other bees, but will need a box, can, or bottle with at least a 9mm opening due to not being able to determine which end is the head of the californica like other mason bees.
- Leafcutter bees should be kept inside of the reeds and not harvested. Place the reeds with leafcutter bees inside directly inside of a mason bee house in the springtime. Leafcutter bees need good bee friendly flowers, bushes, trees. We highly recommend having native flowers, roses, bushes, trees around for all the bees to be successful. Leafcutter bees need more time of time to finish turning into adult bees from the larval stage. We put our leafcutter bee reeds out in April and May. The leafcutter bees usually hatch out in July here in Utah.
- Be sure to keep a moist soil source like mud near their nest, blue orchard females build their nests in it
- Keep house in place until fall after the bees’ flight. DO NOT change the surroundings of the bee house after bees have hatched, disturb the nest or cover it as this will scare the bees and never return to the nest.
- Store nest in garage or shed when positive bees are not around the nest for a few months Its best to keep your bee house in place until fall so the bee larva does not get knocked off the pollen balls they feed upon inside the reeds, holes. Try to protect the bee larva with netting, or something to keep pests out or gently take the mason bee house down with the holes facing upward to keep the larva from falling off the top of the pollen and place into a garage.
- To harvest cocoons out of nesting reeds (around the end of November) simply insert a thin knife into end of reed and twist it to break the reed in half
- Remove cocoons, inspect the cocoons for pests then gently clean the cocoons and put in the fridge until next spring when you repeat the process, use new nesting reeds each year to help the health, success of the bees.
PEOPLE WITH BEE AND/OR POLLEN ALLERGIES SHOULD NOT PURCHASE THESE PRODUCTS
The bees need to stay cold in order to stay healthy and hibernating, we have shipping cold packs to (help) keep the bees cool and dormant during shipping. These bees should be ordered during the cold fall, winter, spring months and will start to come out of dormancy when exposed to temps above 55 for a prolonged time. These bees are from the intermountain region in Utah. These bees are for organic gardens that are pesticide, poison free. These bees are not recommended for hot arid, humid tropical climates. The bees need a lot of good bee friendly pollen sources for the bee's entire lifespan of around 2 months. The use of quality house nests with natural habitat nesting materials are highly recommended for the bees to survive and reproduce.