Release box and shelters
|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.
|Small and large release box with
piano hinged lids
|Small release box with simple lid. Plastic containers are
good for interim storage, but predation dictates a
more sturdy wooden box.
Hazelnut is in bloom, bulbs are poking out of the ground…..spring must be near! (Vancouver BC)
When setting out cocoons in large numbers, safety from predation has to be a key consideration.
Rodents can chew through plastic and paper. Dave M.from Port Alberni, BC uses a box with a piano-hinged lid to hold cocoons.
When spring arrives, mason bees emerge from the box ready to start pollinating.
The small box easily holds 2-300 cocoons. The larger box holds about 1000 cocoons.
It is best not to layer cocoons more than 1-2 deep. More than 1-2 layers of cocoons make it more likely that newly emerged bees pick up the rare mite from cocoons as the bee exits from the box.
Before we used corn nesting trays inside yurts, we used wooden nesting trays in wooden structures (picture below). Here, we are dealing with thousands of cocoons. How to release them is a good question.
With alfalfa leaf cutter bees, cocoons are set out in open trays (see previous blog), bees emerge and then fly to nearby nests. I have tried this method, but gusts of winds or something upsets the trays and all cocoons end up on the ground.
The system I normally use for setting out cocoons is to place them into small wooden shelters as seen in this photograph. On the upper shelf in this picture there are 3 shelters on the left hand side and 3 shelters on the right hand side. Each shelter contains between 100- 250 cocoons. The little door on the front of each shelter has a hole from which mason bees emerge. I find this shelter system the most secure way of releasing cocoons, no matter how many cocoons I have.