Make Your Own Cocoon Release Tube
You want to keep your mason bee cocoons safe when it's time to release them in your bee house.
For first-time mason bee raisers, all you need to do is slightly open their cocoon shipping box and set the box on top of your nesting materials and towards the back of the bee house. If you've been raising mason bees for a few years you need a protective container while they emerge from their cocoons.
Mason bee cocoons are lightweight and can be carried away by the wind. Cocoons are also vulnerable to hungry birds and other critters. Setting them out in a container with an open top is not the safest way to release them in the spring.
You can make your own protective release tube with an empty toilet paper or paper towel tube and a stapler. Your homemade release tube will protect the cocoons from birds, wind, and sunlight.
How to make your cardboard release tube:
1) Staple one end closed. Make sure this end is securely closed.
2) Pour some mason bee cocoons into the release tube.
3) Staple the tube in the middle on the open end. Make sure there is at least one opening on this end for the bees to crawl out.
4) Place the release tube in your bee house with the open end facing the side or the back of your bee house. It's important to keep mason bee cocoons out of direct sunlight and doing this helps them stay in the shade.
5) Tuck the release tube as far back as you can into the bee house.
Remember, the best time to release mason bee cocoons is when your weather is warming above 50F and your blooms are starting to open. Be patient and give the cocoons a couple of weeks to emerge. Happy Pollinating!