Every year we celebrate mason bees with a mason bee cocoon Harvest Party held at our office and warehouse in Woodinville, WA. Everyone is welcome to attend, even if you've never raised mason bees before. Our goal is to teach why we advocate for the harvest of mason bee cocoons and how to harvest, wash, and store cocoons.
Debbie serves snacks and hot cider but this is no ordinary party. This is a working party and opening mason bee nesting materials can be dirty work. After months of protection from rain, the mason bee mud has dried and as materials are opened the dry mud gets on everything. Harvested cocoons are then washed in a bleach solution to help ensure that chalkbrood and pollen mites won't spread.
The work is messy but it's fun and interesting. Sometimes other bees find your nesting holes. Solitary beneficial wasps either overwinter as long bumpy white larvae or as adults in a thin veil of a silky cocoon.
We'll be back with more photos and details soon!