And now a leaf-cutter bees incubation question
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Stoneham
    Posts
    4

    Default And now a leaf-cutter bees incubation question

    Our mason bees are out, and hard at work(if you remember my previous post, we were a bit worried when the first males came out while not much flowers were bloomed yet, but it seemed they more than managed ) and now we have just received our leafcutter bees. My question is, I read they require an incubation period in the 30Celsius range, but how do you do the incubation at home? Do you simply take them out of the fridge and leave them in the shed(in a mesh bag with daily checkup) starting in june and when the temperature is high enough the process will start by itself? This is our first year trying to help the bees population and pollination and there sure is alot to learn.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    2,082

    Default Re: And now a leaf-cutter bees incubation question

    don't have an answer, I'm trying to figure out when to refrigerate my mason bee block, but in chasing the ants out I viewed larva so I know it isn't time yet.
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, flood and strange weather. The bees are still alive.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Honey Brook, PA, USA
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: And now a leaf-cutter bees incubation question

    Quote Originally Posted by Gypsi View Post
    don't have an answer, I'm trying to figure out when to refrigerate my mason bee block, but in chasing the ants out I viewed larva so I know it isn't time yet.
    Be careful on the refrigeration (I understand being in Texas you want to make sure they've had enough cold exposure). When I first got Mason bees over 15 years ago, I was warned that refrigeration could dehydrate the bees. Although I've never refrigeration because of that, if you were, I would consider enclosing the nests in some sort of enveloping material, and within that enclosure putting a damp sponge or damp paper towel (the damp object should not be touching the bees or nesting material(tubes), just supplying moisture to the environment.

    I've considered this for delaying the release of bees, but have never done it myself.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,095

    Default Re: And now a leaf-cutter bees incubation question

    If I order mason bee cocoons, I put them in the fridge with an old sponge that's damp...but not dripping. A tupperware container works fine. They stay moist enough without problems. Once I place them outside, nature takes care of the rest.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    2,082

    Default Re: And now a leaf-cutter bees incubation question

    beeblock.jpgwell in the course of getting carpenter ant nests (2) out of my block, on different levels, I accidentally opened a layer with larva busily eating pollen. I got them lined back up in their rows with their pollen, got the 2nd ant nest off a different layer, and put the occupied and uneaten parts of the block back together, ziptied solid, stuck it in a clear plastic breadbox with a couple of vent openings on my kitchen table, and I put a damp sponge on top of the block. That should give them a bit of humidity, a bit of ventilation, and hopefully they will make their cocoons ok.

    I also put the unused levels outside for more bees to lay in. Our season is so long. Last time I put them in a pest bag in the garage they hatched before winter and died. At least this way if they hatch I can see them, there are no ant hills, and my kitchen is 20 to 30 degrees cooler than my garage
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, flood and strange weather. The bees are still alive.

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