How we released our baby bees in the Spring
Fall is the time to collect your Beestras, Pods and/or Strawmats from the BeeFoster Nurseries.
This is not essential, but we believe it helps them survive in the paper tubes. Last year we collected Pods from all our BeeFoster nurseries. None had all the tubes filled, but almost all had some of the tubes capped with mud.
That means there were 7-10 bees in each tube on average, for a total of hundreds of tiny bees waiting for Spring. We decided to store all the Pods in containers in one of our unconditioned barns. This protects them from the worst elements of Missouri weather while keeping them cool and dormant.
The Nursery is pretty beat up, but it’s only designed to last for one season. Last year, our farm saw the wettest year in history, but the Nurseries did their job protecting the bees!
On the right you can see our inventory of bees from Year One. It was fun seeing all these Pods stacked together, but we knew we had one more step to take before they would be safe to release.
We stored the bees in a plastic case that we sealed to keep rodents and other critters away. We made sure there was ventilation and safety from extreme weather.
At the end of March, we set up a table outside a stone building on our farm that was once used for a trout hatchery.
We don't want the new mother bees to return to the old tubes and we want the children to survive the emergence.
We up-cycled a box big enough to hold all the Pods. Then we closed the box and poked a 3/8" diameter hole in the side. The small hole protects the bees from predators, allows them to see the light and emerge at their own pace, but discourages them from trying to come back in.
The box got great morning sun from the South and the overhand protected them from all the rain we've been having. We decided this was a good place to locate some of our new Beestras.
Ames is shown here locating new Beestras on the posts of the stone house. Even in the absence of many flowers we saw some of the paper tubes being filled by what we imagine are the new bees.
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