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.
5 replies on “Candling cocoons“
I've candled bantam chicken eggs many years ago to see if they are fertile, but never heard of this.
Very interesting. Can you tell me what is a petri dish?
I've had a lot of duds the last couple of years. Disappointing and this year's weather has wreaked havoc with wildlife.
Hello! I have candled pet bird eggs before and will now try it out on our Mason bee cocoons this fall. My question is, what does a cocoon with parasitic wasps look like? Is it really distinctive from a bee shape in the cocoon? Thanks! 🙂 Nora
yes it is very distinctive. When cocoon is filled with wasps- you can see individual wasps – usually up to 10 per cocoon. The bee inside a cocoon is curled up in a fetal position and looks very different from the parasitized ones.
What do you do with the cocoons with live bees after you have candled them
After candling cocoons need to be stored in a safe place. Please refer to our Nov newsletter. The newsletter will be published shortly by mid November. I will be writing on the advantages and disadvantages of either storing them outside in a rodent proof container or keeping them refrigerated.