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The live mason bees are supplied as 10 red mason bee cocoons [ Osmia bicornis], each containing a live mason bee. The cocoons are harvested from nester units in the UK. These are sent out during April in a special chamber. You can also carefully remove the cocoons from the chamber and place each one in separate tubes in your habitat. They will then hatch. Some will be males and some will be females. Mating takes place and the females will return to start laying eggs in the Solitary bee nesting tubes.
These tubes will also attract wild mason bees, so if conditions are good and the nester is facing south to south west it should quickly fill up with mason bee eggs. It is easy to observe as the bees will seal the tubes with sand, clay or soil, which shows that the tubes are occupied. One tube can hold several eggs. There are many types of solitary bees and the nesting box may also attract other species such as leaf cutter bees, which will cover the end of the tubes with a small piece of leaf. The Solitary bees will develop inside the tubes and emerge the next spring to repeat the life cycle. Information about solitary bees is also included and full instructions on how to place the cocoons in your nester box/tubes. There is a limited supply of the cocoons, so order yours early to avoid disappointment.