Starter Cottages, available from my on-line Beediverse.com web site, are by far the best little box for use as a release box/emergence box. I have tried all kinds of boxes, made from cardboard, plastic and wood. Cardboard is too fragile and predators can get at the cocoons too easily. Plastic sometimes overheats and is slippery for the bees to walk on while exiting. Starter cottages are bee proof, can be washed for next year, and are relatively predator proof. I usually place 100-200 cocoons per cottage. One day before setting the cottage out into the field and adjacent to nests, I set the cottage out in the kitchen table. It gives the bees a head start on emergence. I don’t want bees to fly around my kitchen, so I need a bee proof container= Starter Cottage.
I used this plastic container to carry 5 Starter cottages to the field site. Each has about 100 cocoons. The door to the cottage is secured with a pin, sometimes two. The entrance hole is temporarily plugged with a cardboard straw until the starter cottages are set up in the yurt or other structure. These Cottages have been out of the fridge and into a kitchen environment for 24 hours. This means that some of the males will have emerged.
The D27 Yurt is set up with 9 Highrises in the upper part of the yurt. Each Highrise has Eco-Corn Quicklock nesting trays with 72 nesting holes. Note these Highrises do not have a cedar roof.
Starter cottages are set on top of each Highrise.
This is a Charly- Yurt containing many different
nesting trays, wood, plastic and eco-corn.
Once Starter cottages have been set in place,
the cardboard tube is removed.
Three males have emerged and are examining their new abode. Note their long antennae- nearly as
long as their wings.
They now have to wait for the girls to appear.
|Cscavenger type Beetle larvae are reddish brown and can be recognized by their long bristles on each larval segment.|
- This pest is a carpet beetle (Page 90 Pollination with Mason Bees by M.D Dogterom. These beetles feed on pollen provisions and nest debris.
- Yes, a book in colour would be awesome. Like you mentioned, budget permitting. It is definitely in the works for a future edition.
- Yes, I have heard about the sand/abrasive technique to remove mites. I have not used it myself. I use a metal mesh as an abrasive surface to remove mites, and do a final rinse in bleach to remove any molds and parasitic fungi. Using an abrasive surface like a metal screen works very well. The sand is also used as an abrasive technique to scour mites from the cocoons. I prefer not to deal with sand and find this a definite advantage.
The reason for setting out cocoons within the protection of a house that shelters nesting tunnels, is to provide the cocoons, and the mason bees inside, a place that is protected from predators like mice, protected from the sun and protected from rain and snow.
|Royal house with predator guard|
|Temporarily remove predator guard from the front of the Royal house,
and set vial on its side, with tab removed, underneath peaked roof.
Replace predator guard.
|Lodge without predator guard.|
|Chalet with predator guard.|
|Unwrap bundle of nesting trays by removing electricians tape. Remove
one set of trays, and re-tape remaining nesting trays.
The vial can now be inserted under the roof and adjacent to the nesting tunnels.
|Replace the predator guard of the Chalet after vial has been set
inside the house. When all bees have emerged- about 2 weeks
after first bees emerge, remove vial, tape up the individual tray
and set above other trays.
|If you buy a vial of Beediverse Mason Bee cocoons
from a store, the cocoons need to be set it out adjacent to mason
bee nesting tunnels. Cocoons are
washed, screened and candled before packaging them into vials.
|If you have a Starter Cottage
with cardboard tubes it is best to set the vial of
cocoons inside the cottage amongst the nesting tubes.
|Temporarily remove front door to access
|Remove a few cardboard tube to make room for one vial
containing mason bee cocoons.
Remove red tab covering the exit hole of the vial, and place
vial amongst tubes.
|Replace front door and hang Starter Cottage on an East facing wall,
in the sunshine and out of the rain. This cottage can also be
set down on a shelf. Make sure it is secure so the wind
or predators do not knock it off the shelf.
|Retail stores sell Beediverse mason bee cocoons in snap-cap vials.
Cocoons were harvested from nesting tunnels and cleaned.
|Loose cocoons harvested from nesting tunnels can also be placed
underneath the roof of the Highrise-”the attic”
|Move cocoons towards the back. of the Highrise
so they dont roll out the exit gap.
|Drop roof over attic in readiness for spring.|
|Dave M.’s emergence box with nests on either side.
Emerged males are clustered on the outside of the emergence box waiting for females to emerge.
Dave uses stacked pieces of routered wood as nesting tunnels. The emergence box removes the problem of predation during emergence. Photo credits Dave M. Port Alberni.