Jim, sorry I can't make any suggestions for ordering cocoons at this late date.
solitary bees that are existing naturally in your area may well be attracted if you put up tempting nesting boxes for them. The odds are encouraging that some of your local population of solitary bees will find your nesting tubes and start laying them! You might consider providing nesting tubes of varying diameters so you can discover what solitary pollinating bee species are actually already living in your area. Go to town with different drill bits and have some fun! Provide a source of fresh water, and a source of mud as well. All this may 'lure' your local population in and you might be surprised to find you get some wild tenants moving into your nesting sites.
Getting the nesting tubes/boxes up quickly will be important- your season is well underway already I imagine, unlike where I am and it is colder, almost ready to begin.
The Europeans sure know how to show the way: solitary bee house designs (click on all the little green arrow links to see some really beautiful hand crafted designs).
Are the holes you are making like 5/16" ? That's supposed to be ideal for mason bees. I think leafcutter bees use slightly smaller if I'm not mistaken.
Also, mites and fungus can be a problem if you don't do one of the following:
Use replaceable paper liners in the nesting tubes.
Discard and replace nesting boxes/sites each year after use.
Clean/disinfect nesting tubes after each year's use.
Jim, Dave has posted a really nice video on making bee nesting boxes and making parchment paper liners- it's easy!
Most cooking stores and some supermarkets sell rolls of cooking parchment paper, by the way.
Dave's a member here and he has a good website. Here is his video: http://www.davesbees.com/buildblock.html
That is a great link in your first post. If you keep finding sites like that I’ll never get anything done. I have noticed that in Europe they like to bundle many different size tubes. If you have a favorite pollinator in your area that would let you know what size they like. In my area a ¼ inch hole will attract leaf cutter bees. There is no mistaking them since they plug the hole with a cut leaf. I may have to make a block with ¼ inch tubes just for fun. If I do I’ll video the results.
If you build it they will come.
Give them a mud source near your nest block.
If you just want to experiment the first year you can skip the paper tubes and just drill some holes in a block of wood. Try 5/16 and 1/4 inch for a start.
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