In fall the pupae that were laid by the adult bees during the summer have developed into adult bees in their cocoons. We harvested these cocoons for safe-keeping over the winter. Otherwise they would be susceptible to mites and mice.
Harvesting involved a 4 step process:
- We collected the cocoons by scraping them out of the wood blocks.
- We gently washed the cocoons in warm water to remove most of the mud.
- We rinsed the cocoons in a .05% bleach solution to kill off any mites that might still be attached.
- We stored them in a ventilated container and will keep them in the refrigerator over the winter.
During the winter the cocoons will have enough food to keep the bees growing until they are ready to be placed in the garden next spring.