Storing the Bees
Too soon, the warm weather ends and the bee season with it. The bees have laid their eggs for the next year. How you store these eggs through the winter is important to their survival.
Bee cocoons store well at cool temperatures and in a dry atmosphere. These conditions are great for the dormant bees as well. It’s best to store the bee house in a cool, sheltered spot, just above freezing. You could use a shed, garage or cold room for this. It’s not a good idea to store bees in a fridge. The humidity may cause mould to grow, which could harm you and your bees. It’s also too easy to lose things in the fridge (however that happens). If you are careful and have no better option, you can try a fridge.
The tubes are to be kept in the wood box they come in. They do not have to be extracted for the bees to hatch.
Hatching The Bees
It is time to plan the hatching procedure when you see the flowers start to bloom. Wait until the outside temperatures pass 70°F (20°C). You can then take the bee house out of cold storage to warm up. There is a big advantage to starting the bees inside your home or another temperature-controlled building. If the temperature varies drastically you will have a higher mortality rate.
Hatching takes patience as it can take several weeks to see any activity. You will want to keep an eye out for small parasite bugs (Pteromalus venustus) crawling around the bee house. The best solution is to squish the bugs so their population doesn’t grow unchecked.
Maintaining a bee population
A third of your new bees will be active female pollinators. (The rest will be males.) If you want more pollinators, you can get a replacement bee kit. We recommend getting at least one a year to keep your bee population strong. Each replacement kit comes with bees and a new tube box as the bees will need more tubes to fill.