EMERGENCE CHAMBER/BEE NEST TUBE CLEANING
Our bee nest was designed to be mostly maintenance free, but over time debris and mites can build up in the nest tubes and cleaning may be needed.
To clean the nest, an Emergence Chamber is required. This is a dark box/cover with a small hole at the bottom which allows the new bees to emerge from the nest but does not allow them to return.
HOW TO USE THE EMERGENCE CHAMBER:
- When all the tubes have been filled, or activities die down, slide the emergence chamber over the end of the nest.
- Leave the emergence chamber over the nest until spring. The new bees will be ready to emerge about 12 months after the eggs were laid. If you use the nest log provided to note when the tubes were filled, you will know when this is.
- Place a new (or a previously cleaned) bee nest near the one covered by the emergence chamber to allow the emerging bees to find a new home straight away.
- Once all the tubes are empty, remove the nest and emergence chamber from its position in the garden, and take somewhere suitable for cleaning. This avoids bees trying to use the nest while you are cleaning it).
CLEANING THE NEST*:
- Clean out each tube with the appropriate size reamer** or drill bit; (reamer or drill bit sizes are 3/16″, 1/4″ & 5/16″).
- Blow out the debris with an air hose or a gravy baster.
- Use a pipe cleaner dipped in a solution of 1 tsp. bleach to 8 oz. (230 ml) of water to lightly dampen the inside of each tube, being careful not to get them too wet.
- Allow a minimum 2 hours drying time, preferably longer.
- The nest is now ready for another season.
*Clean the nest only when the nesting tubes are empty
**Reamer set included with purchase of emergence chamber
As in nesting areas like hollow stems or holes in tree trunks, mites and parasites can build up in the pollen bee nest as well, even with an annual cleaning. In nature, wood and other natural nesting sites will break down, resulting in bees having to find new nesting sites and thus eliminating the bees' exposure to disease or parasites. Even with an annual cleaning, we suggest the nest be replaced after 2-3 years to completely eliminate the exposure to any potential build-up of parasites.
Purchase Emergence Chambers with cleaning kits here.
Download the Mason Bee Nest cleaning Instructions (pdf) here.