Fall: Remove, Protect & Store Wild Bees
When temperatures cool to 60°F/15°C, most wild, native bees and wasps will have completed nesting for the season.
By late fall, adult bees and beneficial, solitary wasps have finished nesting and left their offspring to hibernate over the winter. You'll want to remove, protect, and store all wild, native bee and wasp nesting materials to keep the hibernating larvae safe from parasites, ants, birds, and other predators.
Once you no longer see females moving in and out of your bee house or daytime temps drop to 60°F/15°C, it's time to remove the filled nesting materials from the bee house. Use rubber bands to bundle loose nesting materials together in groups that have the same end-cap material (leaves, resin, pebbles, mud, etc.) and same diameter (6mm, 8mm, etc.). Check out our Capped-End Guide to help you identify what species are taking up residence in your bee house!
Pro Tip: Unlock your inner scientist! Add a note with any interesting observations or questions about your bee house guests while they were active. When the new generation emerges in the spring/summer, you'll be able to look back at your notes. Observation is essential in science. Scientists use observation to collect and record data, which helps them form and then test hypotheses and theories.
Place all filled nesting materials in a BeeGuard Bag or another breathable, transparent bag, with the capped-ends face up. The bag will protect the developing larvae from hungry predators.
You may consider using multiple bags for each bundle of unique materials. The separation will help you know which bees and wasps emerged from which bundle.
Pro Tip: If rodents are an issue, place nesting materials into a thick plastic or metal chew-proof container. Don't forget to add a few air holes to the container!
Store the filled nesting materials in an unheated and un-conditioned garage or shed. If you don't have an unconditioned indoor area, they can remain outside but must be protected from the rain, snow, and predators. The development of bees and wasps is temperature-dependent, so make sure you store the bag in a dry area with natural outdoor temperatures.
Regularly check the BeeGuard Bag for the first few weeks and look for any parasites that may have emerged. Kill any pests and parasites to keep them from attacking developing bees and beneficial wasps.
Pro Tip: To extend the life of your bee house, uninstall and store indoors over the fall and winter.