6. How to Raise Wild Bees & Bee Hotels

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6.7 Early Spring: Harvest Wild Cocoons

6.7 Early Spring: Harvest Wild Cocoons

Harvesting cocoons is one method to ensure bee health because it prevents the spread of potential diseases and reduces pest populations.

Naturally occurring nesting holes are spread across the landscape. Unfortunately, man-made nesting holes are close together and it's easy for pests and diseases to spread. To reduce the spread of pests and diseases, open your nesting holes to harvest cocoons and provide fresh nesting holes each season.

Top three reasons to harvest wild bee cocoons:

  1. Sneaky gnat-sized parasitic wasps that lay eggs inside of developing bee larvae.
  2. Pollen mites, microscopic mites that eat the pollen loaf, starving and killing the bee larva.
  3. Diseases like mold or fungal infections.

Left unchecked, these parasites and disease can kill your bee house population. All of these threats to wild bees naturally exist in your garden. Diseases and pollen mites are spread when healthy bees must walk through an unopened and infected nesting chamber. To minimize these problems, harvest your bee cocoons in the spring and provide fresh and clean nesting holes each season.

Harvesting wild bee cocoons is easy, quick, and allows you to:

  • Ensure the health of your wild bee cocoons
  • Take inventory of your bee population
  • Get to know your local native bees
  • Share extra bee cocoons with local friends and neighbors

You will harvest your wild bee cocoons in the early spring. If you are also raising spring mason bees, a good time to harvest wild cocoons is around the time that you are starting to release mason bee cocoons. For full instructions go to Harvest Wild Bee Cocoons.


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