Pets

Raising Bees

Raising Mason and Leafcutter bees in the city
A cozy home for our Mason bees and Leafcutter bees

Bees are truly amazing little creatures. My family has always been fascinated with them, so when a friend of mine who lives on the West coast mentioned that there were these little bees called Mason bees that you could raise in your back yard, I couldn’t resist.

I started by searching online for a local provider. I ended up choosing National Insect Control, a local, organic, environmentally friendly supplier of insects. They sold these neat little kits that include the house for the bees along with a box of Mason bee and Leafcutter bee cocoons.

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I bought the kit a bit early so I ended up having to keep the cocoons in the crisper of my fridge so they wouldn’t hatch too soon. No one in the family seemed to mind keeping the celery and carrots with the bees!! 🙂

When the temperature got warm enough outside (consistently +10° C) and the blossoms started to appear, we put the bees out in the back yard.

The children placed the cocoons in the “nursery” which slides into the top of the bee house. It’s designed to protect the bees while they hatch.

How to raise Mason bee and Leafcutter bees
Mason bee and Leafcutter bee Cocoons

We secured the bee house to a fence post in a nice sunny spot and all there was left to do was wait and see.

How to raise mason bees and leaf cutter bees

The Mason bees hatch in the spring and the Leafcutter bees hatch in the summer. So we will be able to see what happens over the next few months.

how to raise mason and leaf cutter bees

After a week or so, we opened the nursery and saw that some of the cocoons had hatched. The bees are supposed to come back to the place where they were born to lay their eggs. You can harvest the cocoons in the fall for the following year. Only time will tell. Hopefully in our next blog post we’ll have pictures of our tiny new pets!!

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