Tis the season to store bee cocoons

first_imgClark County – Keepers of mason bees should start collecting and safely storing their cocoons to increase the bees’ chance of surviving the winter, according to the Master Gardener program at Washington State University Vancouver.Mason bees forage through the spring, then the adults die as the larvae are metamorphosing into pupae. The pupae become adults in the fall, but during the winter remain inside their cocoons until they emerge the following spring.Cleaning and storing the cocoons properly protects them from parasites and keeps them dormant through the winter. Keepers can increase mason bees’ seasonal survival rates by transferring their cocoons into nesting blocks. These work best when made by drilling holes in blocks of wood, then inserting cardboard tubes lined with paper in the holes. Beekeepers can also use laminated block systems that form tube-shaped slots when banded together.They should then overwinter their cocoons in the refrigerator, at around 39 degrees.A mason bee workshop will be put on by the WSU Clark County Extension Master Gardener Program 1 to 3 p.m. on Oct. 27, when Master Gardener Vione Graham will lead an introductory workshop. For more information on the workshop, visit www.extension.wsu.edu/clark/gardening/workshops-events/.last_img read more