Here’s the story, and it’s a modified version of what I sent out to the 20 members of my sharegroup.
One of my guys took 35 of his cocoons to Duncan for his brother-in-law to set out. Which he did. He had a stack of five trays with eight galleries per tray. That’s 40 galleries. The yield from these trays was 330 cocoons!! That gives a multiplier very close to 10 .. which is possible, ’cause I had results like this back in the late 90′s. But in this case I’m told that there were already lots of bees flying around his brother-in-law’s garden, so he undoubtedly captured many members of the natural colony .. just like I’m doing at Ten Mile Point.
Image B shows what the bees did in the gap behind the lowermost two trays. They built a sheet of chambers on the wall behind the two trays.
I now have three examples of nesting boxes interacting with natural colonies. This one, where the bees from the set-out cocoons plus bees from the natural colony were happy to populate the nesting box together.
The opposite situation is the nesting box and cocoons that have been set out for three years at one of our Victoria sites where there is also a natural colony, and every year so far the bees have emerged and joined the natural colony, with absolutely no interest in the nesting box.
And the third example is a site I have in Victoria (the Ten Mile Point site referred to above)with a very large natural colony in a large garden, and where I set out nesting boxes each year and harvest lots of cocoons.
I’ll have a report on our cocoon harvesting to you soon, and by the way, please feel free to use any of these images and the ones coming with the report - with an acknowledgement of course.
Best wishes for all good things in 2014.