It’s a gorgeous day in Seattle today and most of my mason bees have emerged from their cocoons. There are so many flying in and out of the nesting tubes, I fear I will need to buy more tubes or they will run out of places to lay their eggs!
Yesterday, I received more cocoons from Crown Bee Supply. Not that I really needed them…but Dave needed to find homes for them and I wanted to help my neighbor, Jeanette.
Jeanette put up a small bee house a few weeks ago and I had given her an attractant cloth. But, she didn’t have any signs of bee activity. I’m hoping to change that, so I too my new cocoons over to her and we put the box near her bee house and tubes. One bee (probably a male) immediately crawled out of the box and fell to the ground. We couldn’t find him, but hoped he just needed a moment to recover from the hard work of nibbling out of the cocoon. I plan to pop over later this afternoon to see if the rest of the cocoons have emerged.
While the fruit trees have lost most of their blooms, Jeanette does have an apple tree with a few blooms left as well as all kinds of flowering plants near the bee house. I hope it’s enough.
I just returned from Jeanette’s house. It looks like all the bees have emerged from the cocoons, but have flown off. We didn’t see any evidence of nesting. There’s a chance they migrated back to my nests, so I’m not too worried. I did suggest that maybe the nest be moved to a different location (and closer to mud) next year.
Yes, I feel like a proud mom! All but about 40 of my harvested cocoons hatched! Watching them first mate, then start laying eggs in the tubes has been so rewarding.
But let me back up a smidge…last fall, my Asian pear trees had produced more fruit than the previous year. Not only that, but the one variety that was typically bland tasting was the sweetest of the three trees! I really believe my bees contributed to a good fruit yield.
I added a nesting block from Crown Bees this year…and the girls have been so busy, I had to just order more tubes and reeds to accommodate them! I just have to find something to put them in (I think my husband needs to make a box for me this weekend).
I also got my neighbor to join in on the fun. She just bought a bee house and tubes, so I gave her a bee attractant cloth…maybe some of my gals will migrate over to her bee home. Crown Bees still has cocoons that need homes, so I ordered more of those, too. I plan to give some to my neighbor to really get her started. The fruit trees have pretty much dropped their blooms, but there are still plenty of flowers (lilac, roses, and others) around for them to continue making bee bread for their brood.
By the looks of things, I think I’ll have twice as many cocoons at last year. I plan to give the extras to Crown Bee (in exchange for nesting materials, maybe).
In preparation for after the bees are done laying eggs, I purchased a net sack to keep out parasites, etc. I also purchased a humidifier for the fridge, that will make it easier to store my cocoons.