search the Beediverse Blog


Candling

A comment on this blog asked for more pictures on candling cocoons. 

Just today I candled 4000 cocoons.  It seems like an awful lot, but when they are in  petri dishes it is easy to do candle them- about 30 mins or so.  I did see some duds that are of some interest.  I call anything that is not a fully developed bee a ‘dud’.  The percent ‘duds’ in this batch was 2.5%.  Anything under 5% is excellent.  But even with 107 duds there are some interesting ones.  Few had fully developed parasitic wasps- ready to emerge in spring.  Others were bee larvae that had not completed development into an adult. In the next day or so I will take some photos and put them on this blog.

I was teaching a group of people about candling the other day.  It is a straight forward procedure but the conditions have to be right.  The room that you do the candling in has to be completely dark- a bathroom without a window for example.  Any extra light besides the flashlight is too much light and you cannot candle the cocoons.

I have had some questions about candling mason bee cocoons.  Joe Sadowski from Burnaby, BC thought of this idea- and it works.  Candling is just like candling eggs.  In a dark room you shine a bright light under the cocoon.  With some experience, you can see the adult mason bee in a fetal position inside the cocoon.  You can also see empty cocoons or non- viable cocoons, where the larva has died and not developed into a adult bee. 

Here is a batch of mason bee cocoons.  Mud has been washed off, and mites have been removed.  After washing them, cocoons take about an hour or so to dry and then candling can be done.

Place dry cocoons on a petri dish or similar container,over a 6 Volt flashlight.  It is easiest to do the candling in a room without windows.

Turn the lights off in the room and look at the cocoons.  You will be able to see right through empty cocoons.  In normal light, these cocoons look like normal viable cocoons.

You can also see the viable cocoons with the bee inside the cocoon.

Rock, move and rotate petri dish over the light.  The light scatters and allows you to see the non- viable cocoons.

All cocoons sold at Beediverse are candled and non-viable cocoons removed.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Popular Posts

Optimize your cocoon production by candling

Optimize your cocoon production by candling

December 11th, 2013

Here is something else to do besides cleaning and preparing for spring.   A nifty conversion of a 6v[...]

Parasitic wasp of mason bee cocoons

Parasitic wasp of mason bee cocoons

December 10th, 2013

Margriet, Can you verify that this picture is a Parasitic Wasp (or not)? Thanks. Valeri W[...]

More mason bee tray harvesting pictures from Frank

More mason bee tray harvesting pictures from Frank

January 24th, 2014

Thanks Frank for the great pictures.  This will help a lot of folks when they open up their nesting [...]

Nesting with abundance- Frank

Nesting with abundance- Frank

January 23rd, 2014

"Hi Margriet .. I'm a little late in sending you my usual "annual report" on the cocoon harvesting b[...]

What Mason bees are these?

What Mason bees are these?

December 10th, 2013

Hi,  I put out a box of 7mm tubes next to my normal 8mm  tubes for the Orchard Mason Bees or O[...]