Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Having not checked the cocoons for a while I was concerned about the warmer weather we have gotten lately in Seattle.  It has been in the low 50's and I have been keeping the cocoons in my garage which is probably a few degrees warmer than the outside.  Males bees emerge first after a few consecutive days around 55 F.  Sure enough when I checked inside the cardboard box there was a least two male bees slowly crawling around.  I released them outside and placed the rest in my refrigerator.  Where the temp is in the low 40's.  I also placed a damp sponge nearby to keep the humidity slightly higher.  Unfortunately my vegetable crisper is too cold.  
If you are keeping your cocoons in an uncontrolled environment be sure to check them every now and then, and be mindful of the temperature they are experiencing. 
There are no flowers blooming yet and it would be a waste to release any this early in the year, at least here in the Pacific Northwest.  


  1. Hello there. I live in Sumner, and this year my kids and I decided to put our mason bees out. They are 6 and 4 and almost to their birthday, so I wanted them to learn about these hardworking little guys. I put my cocoons out about 2 days ago and I am waiting for them to hatch. Hopefully all 20 cocoons will hatch (we bought them from McClendons). I like your blog and look forward to seeing more posts. Perhaps you can give some advice as we need it!-Jason

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Your tray system seems to be successful. I want to make my own trays for this next rearing season. Last season I drilled 5/16" holes in blocks of wood and filled them with Mcdonalds plastic straws. We did have many, many, bees, but I think the routed trays are better. My question is; your routed grooves are in one piece of wood, so the groove is round at the bottom, but square at the top. Most trays show a full circular cross-section for the groove. Do you think the difference matters to the bees? I live in Auburn, south of Seattle.

  4. Reply from another mason beekeeper.

    I have used a very similar design - round grooves and a flat top. The bigger concern is keeping the flat board bottom fitted on top as tightly as possible to the grooved board. Even small thin gaps are enough to allow pests in and out. But the bees are very versatile, and will also use boards grooved out with the straight sides of a dado blade. A curved channel is a bit easier for the bee to fill, but not manditory.

    Glen Buschmann
    (Olympia, WA)