When you set out a “bee hotel” to attract mason bees, you’re also attracting invasive predators. In nature they find natural holes in their environment that are camouflaged and harder for predators to find, but a bee hotel has a sign hanging on it that says “VACANCY COME ON IN”
Using the proper nesting material and fall maintenance is a key component to a healthy and thriving bee population. Pollen mites, houdini fly larva, chalkbrood and mono wasps are invasive predators that will eventually overrun your bee hotel and cause your bee tenants to perish.
Nesting material that can be opened so that cocoons can be extracted is the best kind to use. Blocks of wood with holes drilled in or bamboo reeds cannot be opened and over time will be a breeding ground for predators.
If you have old nesting material that has never been cleaned and you have holes that are plugged with mud, you have baby bees inside. In the video below we’re going to teach you how to transition your old nesting blocks to provide a healthier habitat for your mason bees and save the bees inside.
Here’s a picture of the inside of nesting block and mites on a bee. You can see how many larvae the houdini fly lays and the thousands of pollen mites inside these blocks.
Please do your part to clean nesting blocks and cocoons EVERY year. If this is something you’re not able to commit too, then you can rent from us and we can do all of the cleaning for you.
HOW TO CLEAN THE BABY BEES YOU RESCUE FROM YOUR OLD BEE BLOCK:
If you did not harvest in the Fall and want to Change to Proper Nesting Material (Yaaa… thank you) and are Now Harvesting Right Before Spring, here’s what you can do.
If you can open your nesting material, carefully remove the viable cocoons and dispose of any pollen mites or houdini fly larva that you find. You can wash them (1 cup of bleach to 20 gallons of water), but they need to be completely dried before going into cold storage, otherwise you’ll have mold issues. You need to make sure bath and drying doesn’t warm them up or you’ll have emergence. Then, dry them in a non heated garage or shed. Can you find a window screen you can spread them out on. Then elevate and put a fan blowing under them? They should all be dry over night under a fan. Then, you can place in your refrigerator or if spring is close and temps will soon be 50, you can place them outside with your nesting block. Do not place loose cocoons outside. Get a pudding or jello box, place cocoons inside and make an emergence hole they can crawl out of.
What is that inside my block?? Please watch this video to teach you what you may find