By Master Gardener Ranee Webb
Getting Cocoons out of liners and laminated blocks.
Gently push cocoons out of the laminated block channels.
Keep the tool parallel to the block. If the tool is at an angle, you will squish and even pop and destroy the bee in the cocoon. If the dried mud is very hard spray with some water to soften the mud.
Note: Prevent warping- clean in bleach-detergent solution & clamp blocks back together.
Wash and Clean Cocoons
Bleach kills chalkbrood fungus. Dish detergent kills the mites.
Not recommended: Sand washing - does not kill chalkbrood.
- Add to 2 oz. (4 Tblsp.) Bleach to one Gallon of COLD water or 1 Tbsps. Bleach per Quart of COLD water
5. RINSE TWICE in COLD water to remove Bleach and Detergent.
-Use fresh water and a gentle cold stream of water
-A strainer of some sort can help contain the cocoons while rinsing.
Drying Cocoons - Put the cocoons on a dry paper towel – wait a few minutes- then transfer to a 2nd dry towel for better drying. Let the cocoons air dry for about 1 hour.
Do not use hair dryers or other sources of heat.
Storing Cocoons Over the Winter
Once you have harvested your cocoons, you will need to store them until it’s time for the bees to hatch. Store them in the vegetable drawer of your fridge from October until March.
The containers should be checked periodically.
6. Final step: BLEACH - DETERGENT WASH YOUR TOOLS & BLOCKS.
DO NOT soak your wooden blocks and tools - prevent warping. Rinse!
You can dry surfaces with a hairdryer on high temp after you clamp laminated blocks back together to help eliminate warping.
Putting your cocoons out in the Spring Usually Mid-March – Mid April
- Do you have trees, shrubs, and plants in bloom? Watch the weather - Wait until there are several days in a row with 50-55-degree temps and no heavy rains forecast before putting out your cocoons.
- Put a minimum of 25 cocoons out at a time. Put out ½ or 1/3 of your cocoons each time. Wait about 14 days and put out the next batch (hedging our bets on weather). Do not fill the emergence tube more than half full.