Our mason bees are chewing their ways out of their cocoons! The mason bees - native bees to North America- transform from eggs to adult bees in a matter of weeks, but then remain hibernating in their cocoons for nine or ten months.
In October, I bathe our mason bees and put them in our fridge. This is a fun step and is much easier than it sounds. I move them to their outdoor house when the blossoms on my apple trees begin to blossom. Mason bees are better pollinators than the domesticated honey bees that originated in other parts of the world. Mason bees go out earlier in the morning, stay out later in the evening, and they pollinate in cooler temperatures than honey bees do. Bumble bees are wonderful, native pollinators, too.
This year we removed a couple of hatching mason bees from their house and watched them exit from their cocoons. This too place right on our hands! Pretty cool. I feel grateful to these gentle bees and I hope they didn't mind.
If you have any questions about keeping and caring for mason bees, please leave your questions in the comment section.