The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

By Winnie Lowsma
WSU Master Gardener, Wahkiakum County 

Calendar of Mason Bee management


January 26, 2017

Dr. Margriet Dogterom, located in British Columbia, Canada, is a leading expert in Mason Bees. She has done extensive research on Mason Bees and has written several publications on the subject.

Dr. Dogterom has created a Calendar of Mason Bee management:

Early Spring:

1. Get nests and mason bee homes ready.

2. Hang bee home on East facing wall of garden shed or house, in the sun and out of the rain.


1. Place mason bee cocoons next to the nesting funnels, protected from rain.

Early Summer:

1. After flight (6 to 8 weeks after start of spring flight) place bee home inside a Net Bag to prevent wasp parasitism.

2. Store bee homes outside, out of the rain, under cover and protected from direct sun.

3. Protect cardboard nesting tubes from rodents in early fall.


1. After mid-October open nests.

2. Harvest cocoons.

3. Wash and dry cocoons.

4. Candle cocoons to remove parasitized cocoons.

5. Store cocoons in cool dry place.

Early Winter:

1. Scrub and rinse nests.

2. Rinse nests in 0.05% bleach to remove any parasitic fungi.

3. Dry nests thoroughly before stacking.

4. When dry assemble nests ready for spring.

Late Winter:

1. If extreme cold temperatures persist, move cocoons inside, preferably inside a humidity cooler and place inside fridge.

2. Check bi-weekly for moisture inside humidity chamber.

Master Gardner notes: Dr. Dogterom has developed biosafe channeled bee boxes that can be easily dismantled for access to the bee pupa and for cleaning. It has been noted that while the larva are pupating they should not be jostled. Fine mesh bags that some fruits are sold in are convenient for protecting the boxes from wasps and flies. Pupa should be handled very gently, it is easy to see healthy pupa as they are intact and plump, any that are withered or have holes can be discarded. Dr. Dogertom's houses have an attic in which the cleaned pupa can be stored until the bees emerge.

Channeled bee boxes are now sold by many garden suppliers.

For more information go to


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