2 Responses to More bee attractive flowers, Quadra Island, BC Canada

  • Debbie says:

    My husband and I just opened our bee condo's to find many larva without cocoons. The larva were white with a dark strip down the “back”. The cocoons that were there were thin and white. I suspect Clorox would had gone right through. We were very disappointed as we had just spent $30 on bees this year. What happened? Did we remove them too early? Was it the weather? Please advise.

  • Margriet says:

    Hi Debbie,
    Bee development from egg through to the full adult mason bee (inside a cocoon) may take 2 or more months. This time frame depends on air temperature and how warm it gets, but this is not the whole story. If spring and summer temperatures are consistently over 80F for example, it still does not mean that faster development occurs to the adult stage because there are several resting stages between developmental stages(egg, larvae, spinning,adult).

    If you opened the nesting tunnels in July, the bees would still be at either the larval stage with the black strip down their back, or the early spinning stage, where the cocoon is not fully spun. Yes, at these early stages even straight water will kill the developing bee. At harvesting time, the cocoon is impervious to water and cocoons can safely be washed in water and mild bleach wash.

    My recommendations are to harvest cocoons no earlier than October 1. My rule is to do this before Christmas.

    Do set out your mason bee house next spring to invite some of the mason bees that nested elsewhere this spring.

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