Can I move mason bee cocoons from furniture?
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  1. #1

    Question Can I move mason bee cocoons from furniture?

    I'm new here, as I have become an unwitting mason bee keeper. We have a covered porch with various furniture on it, and one item is a kid's wooden table that was supposed to only be on the porch for a messy project. I left it a little longer than that and soon became aware of a bee busily coming and going from underneath. I flipped the table over and saw multiple mud covered nests in the holes where the screws are sunken in to assemble the table. I left them at that point, and in the end, the bee filled 6 holes with nests (also the ground hole of an outdoor extension cord, but that's less of an issue).

    So, now bad weather has set in, and I'd really like to bring this table inside for my child to use. I only just bought it a couple weeks before the nests were built. I don't know if there's a way to move the bees out. I'm totally willing to put them in cold storage or whatever else I would need to do to help them overwinter, and I don't want to kill them. I do very much want to be able to use this table, though! If I bring it inside, I'm assuming the bees will think it's spring and will emerge and then die.

    Any ideas for me?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,102

    Default Re: Can I move mason bee cocoons from furniture?

    So, the answer is yes. You can carefully break the mud seal and if there are cocoons in there, gently pull them out. If there are more cocoons further in each hole, those will be harder. You can use long tweezers to help. Mason bee cocoons are fairly sturdy. I've often gently washed them to rid the cocoons of mites before drying and storing them and they hold up well. Once you have intact cocoons out, you can overwinter them in the refrigerator in a container with some moist tissue or paper towel near them so that they don't dry out. Put them out in the spring somewhere protected just before fruit trees begin to bloom. If you have further interest in mason bees, acquire or build a mason bee house this winter and put it out near where you put the cocoons in the spring and they'll likely use it next year as their new home.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,923

    Default Re: Can I move mason bee cocoons from furniture?

    I am a little envious. I recently purchased a 400 pack of Sipstix, the paper straw that Rusty Burlew recommends for mason bee nesting tubes. Building the nest is going to be a winter project.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  5. #4

    Smile Re: Can I move mason bee cocoons from furniture?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenseye View Post
    So, the answer is yes. You can carefully break the mud seal and if there are cocoons in there, gently pull them out. If there are more cocoons further in each hole, those will be harder. You can use long tweezers to help. Mason bee cocoons are fairly sturdy. I've often gently washed them to rid the cocoons of mites before drying and storing them and they hold up well. Once you have intact cocoons out, you can overwinter them in the refrigerator in a container with some moist tissue or paper towel near them so that they don't dry out. Put them out in the spring somewhere protected just before fruit trees begin to bloom. If you have further interest in mason bees, acquire or build a mason bee house this winter and put it out near where you put the cocoons in the spring and they'll likely use it next year as their new home.
    Thank you, I'm so glad to hear this is possible! I'm going to try it out right now. Do I need to keep the moist paper towel away from actually touching the cocoons, so they don't actually get wet?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,102

    Default Re: Can I move mason bee cocoons from furniture?

    Yes, you just want to add some moisture to the surrounding air. I lay moist paper towel sheets on the bottom of a plastic container then I put cocoons in an open topped plastic bag on top of the moist towels. I put a cover on the container but I don't seal it up tight. Every once in a while, check to see if the towels are still moist.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

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