Monthly Archives: February 2011

Scoop tool

Scoops are modified screwdrivers and are a boon to harvesting cocoons.

The angle (more like a sine curve) of the scoop ensures that the tip of the scoop slides under each cocoon and lifts them out of each nesting tray.  No other tool does it so easily.  At the same time as removing cocoons, nesting tunnels are rid of the majority of mud and other debris.  This make the scrubbing process a lot faster.

Cocoons are scooped out of
nesting trays straight into
 a large bucket filled with water.

Scoop cocoons out of nesting trays over a large bucket filled with water.  After about 30 minutes, the water has softened the dirt around cocoons and the dirt drops to the bottom of the bucket.  This is the first step in cleaning cocoons.

Dave M. uses a sieve for the next step.  Using a sieve, a soft stream of water is sprayed over cocoons held in a sieve.  Water removes a lot of debris from cocoons.

Once cocoons are washed, and dried, cocoons can be candled
A bleach wash, drying, screening and candling are the final stages of cleaning cocoons.

A soft stream of water washes a lot of debris from cocoons held in a sieve.
This idea came from Dave M. from  Port Alberni, BC

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.

Since the beginning of this blog (Dec 12th of 2010) people have visited from 19 countries.  They have requested 1876 Page views. Below is a list of countries that have visited with the number of page views
USA 925
Canada 829
France 27
Malaysia 21
Turkey 18
Germany 11
United Kingdom 11
Australia 6
India 4
Slovakia 3
Israel, Denmark, India, Romania, Russia, Bulgaria, Brazil, Finland and Greece ( less than 3)

I find this interest quite fascinating.  I know there are Osmia species in Europe, Asia, and North America, but I am not sure if Osmia species exist in South America.  Osmia species do not exist in Australia.  If you have a story or questions please let me know.