Leafcutter bees in a box

Harvested leafcutter bees cocoons

Hello Margriet, I received this interesting and unique gift last spring- “Bees in a box”. I put the box out once the weather got warm with bee cocoons in the small cardboard box inside. I opened the cardboard box, closed the wooden box and placed it in a warm spot, 5′ above the ground with the hole facing east.

At first it looked like nothing happened and none of the cocoons seemed to “wake up”. However, about six weeks later, a friend noticed a bee going into the hole. As time past I noticed that it looked like there was cotton plugging up the main in and out hole.

Has one bee blocked the hole with it’s cocoon?
When should I open the box to try to take out the cocoons, put them back in the cardboard box and put that cardboard box in the fridge?

Thank you for you help,
Heather S.

Hello Heather,  It does take the leafcutter bees about 4-6 weeks of hot weather to develop into adults and  start their nesting.  and yes, it sounds like another type of insect has plugged up the hole- perhaps a carder bee.    Open box in the fall, push wooden dowel thru nesting holes and push out cocoons.  Store them loose in this box outside and the cycle will start again in the summer.  Dr Margriet

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