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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
If one receives paper tubes of mason bee cocoons ready to emerge when placed in a house in the Spring, how does one know which end should be facing outward for the bees to emerge? I'm assuming that bees acannot emerge backwards, and I'm assuming they cannot turn around in those narrow paper tubes either.
Thanks for your help!
 

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They will emerge from the end with the mud seal. So this end should be pointing out. The tubes I ship will have paper tape on this end to keep the mud from being dislodged in shipping. Remove the tape and place this end outward. The rear end should have a black plug in it, so the bees will emerge from the other end.
 

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I have noted that some cocoons are not perfectly capsular but are more torpedo-shaped having a pointed end. I read somewhere that this is where the head of the bee is (I will try and find the source). So if the mud seal has been dislodged in transit, or if you have loose cocoons that you want to position in your habitat you may be able to orientate them with the head facing outwards.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wow, that would be very valuable information to know! It would be wonderful if you could find the confirmation of that. I think people would typically guess that the pointy end was the 'tail' end of the cocoon, so finding confirmation of this issue would be great- thank you for your effort. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Happily, my tubes of cocoons arrived today, very clearly marked as to which end the bees will exit from. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I know you folks in Wash. have plenty of flowers blooming already, right?
Not much going on here yet....only a few tiny crocuses! Bees not ready for hatching yet.
 

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The crocuses at our house are just finished. I have a flowering plum that is about finished and my peaches and a flowering cherry are just starting to open. So our fruit trees should all bloom in the next 3 weeks or so.

It takes mine about 2-3 weeks to hatch after I put them out for the year. Depending on the weather.
 

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Osmia cocoons are indeed "torpedo"-shaped as someone stated. The nipple is the last stages of silk thread that the larva exuded to finish off its cocoon so that is the head end. This is critical in having it oriented to the way out but actually cocoons should not be placed within the condo but instead in a separate container nearby or underneath the condo. Leave a small 5/16" hold in this container for the bees to escape from. The little light brown blobs is meconium, the adult bee's first poop and this will be at the outlet of the container showing evidence of them having left and flown away.
Incidently, the mud layer laid down within each cell by the female, has been "masoned" into position by her face which she has tubercles on the sides used in this process (how they're i.d.'d in fact), and the interior of this cell wall will be rough, where as the outside, or inside of bottom of next cell, will be smooth. This is supposedly useful for the larva(e) to sense its orientation before comencement of it spinning its cocoon. Pretty cool huh?
The very last layer of mud is a plug and the vestibular gap is just that, a gap before the end. The male progeny is laid at the last stages on the outside, and are smaller in size. They emerge sooner/before the females even though they were laid last. Another neat feature of nature's perfection.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks, that is good to know. :)

This will be our last weekend with night temps in the teens(F), and I will be putting my cocoons out after Monday. So far have not had 3 days in a row of 50F+ anyway, and very little is blooming yet- no fruit trees or even daffodils. It's been a very erratic Spring so far, temp wise, and that's been delaying many blooms.
But next week will be some real Spring action I think! :thumbsup:
 
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