Things to know about your bees
Here in the Seattle area, the emergence tube and nesting box will need to go outside in late March or early April - depending on daily temperatures. Consistent daily temperatures in mid 50's will trigger the bees to emerge from their cocoons. Why near the end of March? Too early and we might have a late cold snap which would kill the emerged bees. Too late and the blooms may have come and gone before the bees have emerged and done their thing.
Males emerge first - they need nearby blooming things to eat such as dandelions or cherry trees within 100 yards of the box. About a week or two later the females start coming out, are fertilized by the males, and they also need the blooms to complete their growth. Within a week they will start pollination and egg laying in earnest.
Hang your box in a spot where the bees can get the morning sun, they love the warmth. Hang it out of the rain if possible, tip the front of the box down slightly if it is exposed to rain. For a better idea for their care please read our "Care of" page for more information or our "printer friendly page of simple instructions".
Regarding the boxes and tubes that we are leaving with you:
We will be collecting the hexagonal wooden boxes with tubes and the emergence tube in July. Please DO NOT empty the emergence tube as we would like to see how many bees were viable. Also, do not remove or jostle the tubes in the box or you may dislodge the eggs from their pollen bed.
When the tubes are filled or you don't see any more activity for a while please remove the box (with tubes) to a cool, dry place such as your garage to better protect them from mice, birds, wasps, mites, mold and fungus.
If you take one of the black wooden boxes with the paper tubes you are welcome to keep it for starting your own bee hatching program. We can help in harvesting and cleaning your bees in the fall, ...OR we can take everything off your hands if you wish.
At this time there is NO CHARGE for any of this. (ie. FREE) We are just at a stage of trying to get bees out to friends, family and acquaintances and we'll see how all this goes in the future. In addition to supporting our ecosystem, we think mason bees have a big future in assisting our commercial food production. So, if you like to eat, you can do your small part simply by hosting and propagating mason bees!
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us. We care about the bees and appreciate your interest and sharing your experience with others.