Preparing for Winter

The inevitable!

The inevitable!

Well, we are jumping the gun by a few weeks for those of us who live down low, but since we live in Colorado, we know it will snow sometime very soon. Some of you at higher elevations may have already been visited by Jack Frost or Susie Snowflake so it’s time to discuss what happens next for your bees and their bee block homes.

It’s sad to think about the fact that all the bees and wasps that were busily pollinating your flowers this summer will soon die. But it’s an amazing thing to realize that every bee you enjoy next summer is currently a larva or adult, and that your bee block is harboring many of next year’s pollinators. It’s a veritable pollinator nursery, so how can you take care of it?

Winterizing your block is easy – just leave it be.  These insects have evolved here and expect it to get cold.  In fact, if it doesn’t get cold enough for long enough, they won’t properly develop into adult bees to pollinate your garden next summer. If your block is cracked or damaged, after the first frost is a reasonable time to try repairing it. Just don’t bring it into a warm, indoor space for any length of time to avoid shocking the young inside.

If you want to move your block to a new location in your yard, now is a great time to do that. If you’re moving, or don’t think you want a bee block in your yard next year, please send us an email (thebeesneeds@colorado.edu) and we’ll make arrangements to take your block.

And what do you do with your block next summer? Just leave it be.  Once the adults emerge next summer, some will move back in while others will move on to find another place to nest.  Since the tunnels are full of baby bees and wasps, you don’t want to “clean them out”.  The bees are great housekeepers and will do that themselves.

Note: we won’t ask our current citizen scientists to monitor their 2015 bee blocks next year, so it will simply be yours and the bees’ to enjoy for as long as they last.

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