Drying Cocoons

Fall Harvest

I just spent the past 2 1/2 hours harvesting about 2/3 of the cocoons from the nesting tubes, washing away the dirt and letting the cocoons sit in a bath of (weak) bleach water. I’m happy to report that I saw no parasites this year and no evidence of mites (it there had been mites, I would have seen orange or red spots on the paper towel where the cocoons are drying). Once the cocoons are dry, I will be putting them in the special humidifier box I bought from Crown Bees and storing them in the refrigerator until spring. I will finish harvesting the rest of the cocoons later this week.

Block & tubes

A partially filled block and a mesh bag of filled tubes.

Cocoons

A partially filled tray with viable cocoons that are separated by the hardened mud plugs.

Larvae

Some of the larvae never spun cocoons and were discarded.

Drying Cocoons

Washed cocoons drying on paper towels.

Nesting Trays

Unstacked nesting trays drying after being scrubbed and disinfected.

Still a little activity

I still have about a dozen bees working away and filling tubes. Since all the tubes were filled in the first bee house, I went ahead and placed them in a mesh bag so parasites can’t get to them. I also bought a new bee house for the nesting block (which is 75% filled). I’m going to have at least a 1,000 cocoons this year and will be giving at least half of them to Crown Bees. They will then place them in orchards in eastern Washington, helping the farmers with their fruit trees.