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Spring Mason Bee Kit - Chalet or Cottage

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$114.95

Availability: In stock

Short Description

Raising spring mason bees is easy with our spring kit featuring your choice of Chalet or Cottage house. Includes reusable wood nesting trays, accessories and mason bee cocoons. Designed for gardeners seeking to boost springtime pollination.



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$114.95

SPRING Mason Bees available February—April

  • • Release spring mason bees when daytime temperatures are consistently 55°F (13°C) or warmer AND there are open blossoms for your hungry bees.
  • • Cocoons can be refrigerated until the appropriate conditions exist for release.
  • • Place cocoons outdoors by May 1 to help ensure that bees emerge in good health with sufficient energy to begin their work.
  • • NOTE: Spring mason bees are not recommended for AK or gulf regions of FL, AL, MS, LA and TX. Current agricultural restrictions prohibit the shipment of mason bees to the state of HI, and other countries outside of the continental United States.

KEEP BEES SAFE

  • • A hot mail box can be harmful to developing or emerging bees. If you are not home during the day to retrieve your bees, consider having them shipped to your workplace.
  • • Select the Monday when you would like your bees shipped, allowing 1-5 days for delivery. When the bees ship, you will receive a USPS tracking number by email.

DISCLAIMER

  • • We care about your success and do our best to provide healthy bees. While most customers successfully raise gentle bees, it is important to understand that bees are wild insects and may not nest in your yard, may be eaten by birds, and may not emerge from their cocoons. We cannot guarantee survival, pollination of crops, or reproduction of bees.
  • • These bees are gentle, typically non-aggressive and rarely sting, While there have been no known reported cases of anaphylactic shock in association with these bees, the use and handling of solitary bees may result in allergic reaction for some users.
  • • Please consider signing up for BeeMail, our monthly newsletter, designed to provide tips and reminders to help ensure success.

Description

Details

Spring Mason Bee Kit - Chalet or Cottage Includes:

  • Chalet House, cedar wood (10 1/4" height x 10" wide x 8 1/2" deep)
  • OR Cottage House, cedar wood (10 1/4" height x 7.5" wide x 8 1/2" deep)
  • 48-hole alder wood tray for spring mason bees
  • 20 mason bees acclimated to your region
  • Native Bee Guide: our step by step 26-page booklet
  • Total Accessories Package
    • HumidiBee: humidifier for overwintering mason bee cocoons
    • InvitaBee: exclusive mason bee pheromone attractant
    • BeeGuard Bag: fine mesh bag for protecting developing cocoons
    • Mason Bee Mud: dry mud to mix with your soil to enhance mason bee production
  • Instructions

 Chalet House Features:

  • Natural cedar wood sealed with protective clear coat finish.
  • Slanted roof to drain excess rain.
  • 2″ overhang helps protect nesting material from rain.
  • Keyhole slot in back for easy installation and removal.
  • Can be placed on secure shelf or mounted to wall or fence.
  • Convenient cocoon release shelf under the roof.

Cottage House Features:

  • Natural cedar wood sealed with protective clear coat finish.
  • Curved roof to drain excess rain.
  • 2″ overhang helps protect nesting material from rain.
  • Keyhole slot in back for easy installation and removal.
  • Can be placed on secure shelf or mounted to wall or fence.

Spring kit ships year round, however for orders received May through January, kit will ship without bees. Bees will ship in season on date selected.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Instructions

Placement of Chalet or Cottage Bee House

  • Hang the house on a wall or fence, or place it on any flat surface. A convenient keyhole opening in the back of the house makes it easy to mount on a structure using a nail or screw.
  • Select a location that faces the early morning sun to awaken and warm your bees.
  • Position the house height at about 5-7 feet above the ground so you can still view activity, and protect your bees from pests. If you have a bird house, position your bee house out of its line of sight. Birds love to munch on bee larvae.
  • Locate the house within 100 - 300 ft. of a pollen source.
  • Dig a hole and keep moist mud near the house. Your females need mud to build their nests. Without mud, they will fly elsewhere and not nest in your house.

Blue Orchard Mason Bees

Your bees will arrive safely tucked away in their cocoons inside a small cardboard box.  Feel free to open the box to take a peek at them.   If you pour them into the palm of your hand, you will see a combination of larger cocoons (females) and smaller cocoons (males).  Cocoons must be stored under refrigeration to prevent them from waking up from their long winter's nap before spring has actually sprung.

Return the cocoons to their carton/box, or you can transfer them to a slightly larger container.  Be sure the container has small air holes. 

If outdoor conditions are not optimal (meaning that daytime temperatures are consistently below 50 degrees, freezing conditions at night), store your bees in the refrigerator.  The cool, dark environment of your fridge is an important factor in keeping your bees in a state of hibernation.  You will also want to keep the container somewhat moist so the cocoons do not dry out and die.  DO NOT SOAK the container. (Consider using our HumidiBee (cocoon humidifier) to assist with your bees’ hibernation.) 

Also, to be safe, place a cotton-ball, soaked in equal parts of sugar and water, inside the container with the cocoons.   If any of the bees (typically the males) hatch early, they will have a ready food supply to sustain them.  

When daytime temperatures have reached about 50-55°F, you can place the box containing your bee cocoons (with the top open) outdoors with the house and nesting trays.   Place the carton or container on top of, or behind the nesting material with the top or lid open or removed.  The bees will emerge from their cocoons, crawl over the nesting material and head out into your garden, orchard, or yard.

Please note: In addition to warmer daytime temperatures, there must also be sufficient pollen available (blooming trees/shrubs/flowers) for your new bees.  Try to avoid holding your bees in hibernation past May 1st as they will begin to die in their cocoons or may emerge too weak to fly and forage.

 

48-Hole Reusable Wood Trays

Placement of wood trays in bee house
      1. Your wood trays will arrive with green elastic bands around them to hold the trays together. Leave these bands in place and reuse them for years. Note:  Cardboard on back of trays is for closing off the back side of holes and should not be removed.  This will help to keep pests from gaining access to nesting females and their eggs.
      2. Place wood tray set in Chalet or Cottage mason bee house with open holes facing out. 
      3. Put the trays out in Mid-March or early April when daytime temperatures are approximately 50-55ºF or higher and pollen sources (trees/shrubs/flowers) are beginning to bloom.  Emerging bees, looking for a place to call "home," will also be hungry after their long hibernation.
      4. Place the trays as far back in your mason bee house as possible to protect the trays and bees from direct rain.
      5. Females find their hole initially by sight and then by smell as they crawl into it. They will only lay eggs in their own claimed holes.
      6. For best success, provide a 3-D effect, or messy palette with your trays. Vary the length of individual tray. Place a stick, or similar object within a few holes to help the bees find their specific hole.
      7. Remove one  InvitaBee™ attractant sheet from cellophane package when mason bees are nearing emergence.  Place one scented  InvitaBee™ attractant cloth under strapping of wooden nesting tray with approximately 1/2" to 1" of the sheet exposed.  Place mason bee cocoons on top of, next to or behind nesting material.  After 3 weeks, add the second attractant sheet to nesting material being careful not to disturb the holes of nesting females. Leave both sheets in place for the season.  Discard attractant sheets at beginning of summer when mason bee activity has ceased and nesting material is removed from bee house.  
      8. Place the cocoons behind or on top of the nesting reeds and inside the house.  As the bees chew their way out of their cocoons, they will crawl across the nesting material and then fly.  Add the mason bee scent sheet (InvitaBee) on top of the nesting tubes to help draw them back home.
      9. When spring mason bee activity has ceased (early to mid-June) remove the nesting reeeds from the bee house and store in a garage or well ventilated shed (see below).

Summer Storage of Nesting Material

Store the nesting trays with mudded holes facing up.  We recommend storing the trays in a BeeGuardian bag or other sack or container that will allow air to circulate and will help to keep pests out.  Typical summer temperatures will help developing larvae to mature into fully formed adult bees.

 

Fall Harvesting and Cleaning & Winter Storage of Reeds

      1. Separate trays one at a time, removing cocoons as you go.
      2. Carefully scrape cocoons from wood channels to avoid crushing them. The shaft of a flat head screwdriver works well to gently push cocoons from the channels.  Separate the cocoons from other materials such as pollen and mud. 
      3. Clean blocks with a scrub brush, restack them and place the green elastic bands back in place.
      4. Store trays in garage or shed for use next spring.
      5. Refrigerate harvested cocoons at 34-37° degrees until next spring and put them out with unused or new reeds.  If stored in a modern frost-free refrigerator, keep your cocoons in a HumidiBee (mason bee humidity chamber) or the crisper drawer, making sure that they are kept slightly moist.
      6. Both leafcutter and mason bee cocoons can be stored within the HumidiBee.

 

ACCESSORIES 

InvitaBee Plus™

Prior to releasing mason bees or when you are looking to attract native mason bees, squirt InvitaBee container about 10 times onto the front of your nesting holes. The InvitaBee contents can be used for two locations. 

Keep out of range of children

Mix natural reeds included with nesting tubes when initially placing out nesting material in early spring. If using wood trays, natural reeds can be placed on top of or next to wood trays.

 HumidiBee™

  1. Open lid of HumidiBee™ and ensure that the isolating black pad is on top of the green water absorbent blanket in the bottom of the clamshell.
  2. Place unharvested tubes OR mason bee cocoons in HumidiBee™ on top of isolating black pad.
  3. Each month, place about 1-2 tablespoons of ordinary tap water into the chamber.  Water can be poured directly over the cocoons as the silk cocoons are waterproof.
  4. Close the lid and place the HumidiBee™ in your refrigerator away from the air supply vent that blows in from the freezer compartment.  The temperature should be around 38-41˚ F.
  5. After 2-4 weeks have passed, remove the HumidiBee™ from your refrigerator to feel and determine if the green water absorbent sheet is dry, damp or wet.  The moisture content of the pad may vary due to the air circulation in your refrigerator which can speed up or slow down water evaporation.  Repeat this process monthly, adjusting the amount of water added and/or the frequency when you next check.  
  6. Moldy cocoons can be a sign that there is too much moisture in the HumidiBee™.  Do no panic if you discover mold on your cocoons.  Simply remove the mold by giving the cocoons a short 2-3 minute soak in a mild bleach solution (1 teaspoon bleach:1 cup of water) followed by a gentle blotting before they are returned to their winter quarters.  Simply cut back on the amount of water that is added each month.
  7. Check off each month that you have added water on the front label of the HumidiBee™.
  8. Note:  Be somewhat cautious when storing cocoons in a refrigerator containing ripening fruit that produces ethylene gas.  As an example, a garage refrigerator containing delicious apples may need to be occasionally opened allowing gas to escape and fresh air to be introduced.  
  9. Your hibernating bees should be able to survive 6-7 months under refrigeration.  Be careful about extending the hibernation beyond 7 months (May?) as your bees will be running out of fat reserves on which nature allows them to survive. 

BeeGuardian

Simply open the  BeeGuardian™  bag and place larvae filled nesting material inside.  Secure the bag closed by squeezing the Velcro strips together.   Store the bag and nesting material (mudded holes facing up) out of direct sunlight (a garage or shed works well) in average temperatures for your area.  Developing larvae can be left in this protective environment until it is time to harvest cocoons.

Mason Bee Mud

Mason bees prefer to gather their mud from the sidewall of a hole in the ground rather than a bowl.  The groundwater also keeps the mud relatively moist.

Dig a small hole, about a shovel blade deep/wide. Locate it about 20’ distance from where your mason bees are nesting.   If you are concerned about frogs or birds eating your mud-gathering bees, place chicken wire or hardware cloth on top with holes no smaller than ¾”.

  Mason Bee Mud Mixture Ratio

Loamy or sandy soilNormal looking soilClayey soil
Equal parts of dry mason bee mud and existing soilOne part dry mason bee mud to two parts soilNo need to mix in mason bee mud

 In a bowl, mix the dry mason bee mud thoroughly with your soil. Add a bit of water so that the dry mason bee mud isn’t floating in the air.  If you add too much, that’s ok as the water will dry out later.

Place an inch thick of mud mixture on the southern side of the hole you dug. This reduces drying out due to sun exposure. Keep the mud on the south side of your hole wet/moist.  In dry climates or very sandy soil, water each morning with a hose. Your nesting bees will more than likely find this nearby mud.  Good luck with raising these wonderful and gentle bees!

 

Gardener's guide to raising solitary, native bees

Read through this informative booklet to better understand the ease and value of raising gentle mason bees. This booklet contains a broad overview of bees as well as tips on how to create a welcoming environment for mason bees and how protect your bees from pests.  An easy to read timetable describes seasonal mason bee raising activities and lays them out on a linear timeline.  Your success in raising these wonderful pollinators is important to us.

 

 If you have not already signed up for Bee-Mail, our monthly electronic newsletter, we recommend you do so on our website.

 We will instruct you  when  to do  what  to help ensure success!

FAQs

This medium-sized spring kit features your choice of our wood Chalet or Cottage house. Includes reusable wood tray holes, spring bee accessories and mason bees. Designed for avid spring gardeners.

This spring kit ships year round, however for orders received May through January, kit will ship without bees.  Bees will be held and shipped on date designated below.  Mason bee cocoons can be ordered early and easily stored in your refrigerator until daytime temps are in the low to mid-50's or warmer AND there are open blossoms readily available for them.  Be sure to set out your spring cocoons by May 1 to help ensure that bees emerge healthy with sufficient energy to begin their work.

Meeting your expectations: We care about your success and do our best to provide healthy bees. While most of our customers successfully raise gentle bees, it is important to understand that bees are wild insects and may find other holes in your yard. They may get eaten by birds and fly/nest best when in their appropriate temperature range. Native bees may not like the smell of chemical lawn/yard treatments or similar chemicals and might nest elsewhere.

Note:  Spring mason bees are not recommended for Alaska and gulf regions of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.  Current agricultural restrictions prohibit the shipment of mason bees to the state of Hawaii.

SKU1108
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