Mason bees are a highly efficient pollinator for many crops across the country. The management of blue orchard bees can be very simple and rewarding for the home gardener and agricultural specialist. The following list is a recommendation for care and release of mason bees.
- After you receive your mason bee package, immediately place the container of cocoons in your refrigerator and store at a temperature between 40-42 degrees until your desired crop is ready for pollination. The bees should be released between mid-March and early May. You may want to help keep a higher humidity near the cocoons by placing them inside a partially open plastic bag with a damp paper towel triple folded inside. Not touching cocoons. Be sure and keep the cocoons dry to prevent any mold from growing.
- Within 6-10 days before anticipated blossom time for your desired crop remove the cocoons from the fridge and place in a dark area (out of direct sunlight) and allow the bees to warm up to room temperatures. 68-70 degrees.
- After 3-4 days or if they begin to emerge, place the cocoons outside next to your nesting material in some type of emergence box. (some bees may hatch within 1-2 days after being removed from the fridge others may take 10-12 days) Ensure that birds and other animals cannot get to the cocoons. The nest should be placed to be protected from rain or other water and facing south east as the bees like to sun themselves in the early morning.
- Leave the emergence box and nest in place even after the bees have hatched and they’ve completed their flight one month later. You don’t want to change the surroundings of the nesting area.
- Ensure a mud source is close by (within 300′) of the nesting area. The females will need mud as they build their nests.
- About 2-3 weeks after you do not see any more bees working the nest you can carefully take down your nest and store it in a cool or shady area. This can be a basement, garage or garden shed. By early October you should be able to open your nesting material, remove your cocoons and refrigerate them for next spring.
WARNING: BEE PRODUCTS MAY CAUSE ALLERGIC REACTION IN SOME PEOPLE. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.
The bee cocoons we ship are from the intermountain region of Utah and Idaho and are most likely not native to your area. We strive to provide our customers with healthy, disease and pest free mason bee cocoons. Once the cocoons are shipped, we do not guarantee survivability, pollination of crops, or reproduction of more bees. If you have further questions or concerns please contact us and we will respond as soon as possible.