I have been watching the weather forecast, to see when its a good time to put my bee cocoons outside. Looks like we should have days above 55F for the next week or two. So I have taken my bags of Mason bee cocoons and started letting them adjust to the outside.
If all goes well in the next few weeks the adult bees will emerge from these cocoons and start flying around. It takes a few weeks it seems for them to go from dormant to active, so I put them up in some good spots to keep them safe as they warm up.
Put out about 1/3 of all my Mason bees at this point, you never know if the forecasts may be wrong and the weather will be nasty. In a week or two ill put out the rest if things are still looking good.
My friend used his 3D printer and made these incubation chambers for the cocoons. They just hold them and protect from predators until they hatch and leave the little boxes.
Also used some old snack bar boxes and filled them with cocoons. Just enough to cover the floor but not really piled on top of each other.
Left overs from the last bee hatchings, will have a bunch more on it When these new cocoons hatch.
Using another snack tray, it used to hold some microwaveable sausages. I cleaned it good and now use it to hatch the bee cocoons.
I try not to tightly pack them, so just enough to loosely fill each of the little spaces.
Not all the cocoons will make it, some look like they have holes in them as the wasps found their way in, though the wasps should be dead from that bath I gave them after harvesting.
The 3d printed bee incubation chambers can be seen with their lids off. They are pretty small so only hold a few dozen cocoons. But between using all these other trays I should be hatching a few hundred.
After these hatch Ill remove the empty cocoons and place another batch in, but waiting to see how the weather plays out. Since I live in the South our winters can end around this time of year. But you really never know for sure.
A peak inside the snack bar boxes, ill open the door a little more when I start seeing them emerge.
With the trays prepared I get my ladder and put them up around the bee cubby. I want them to hatch near where the homes I made for them are.
Some are placed near my old 2x4 homes. Im going to throw those away this year since they are a couple years old now and are making homes for pollen mites and those wasps.
The other tray was placed on the opposite side but near the bee boards I made for them. I completely filled the cubby with these boards so really curious to see if I have enough bees to completely fill the boards.
So in the next few weeks the cocoons should be chewed through by the bee that is inside. And they will start flying around, drinking nectar and then mate and the females will build homes. Looking forward to the bee cubby getting busy, I will be live streaming it once the activity picks up.
More info on the bees I raise: