LEAFCUTTER BEES IN THE RETAIL ENVIRONMENT - A BUYER'S GUIDE
Managing Leafcutter bee cocoons in your retail store is not as difficult as you might think but, as with any live creature, there are considerations.
LEAFCUTTERS ARE NOT MASON BEEES
You may be accustomed to keeping your Mason bee cocoons in a refrigerator at or near your bee display. It's easy. Right? You just toss the tubes or boxes of cocoons in the refrigerator where they patiently wait to be purchased and taken home. That could happen tomorrow or a month from now. As long as you are within the timeframe for Mason bee cocoons to hibernate, there are no issues. (NOTE: Mason bees should be released by the first week of May, as they are running low on their stored fuel supply.)
But guess what happens if you toss Leafcutter cocoons in the fridge. They expire, and we don't mean like a carton of milk that goes bad. The cold will kill them within the hour. What do do!
LEAFCUTTER BEE LIFECYCLE IN BRIEF
Understanding the Leafcutter lifecycle helps you make key decisions with confidence.
- In late summer and early fall the eggs hatch, partially develop and spin cocoons,
- They remain dormant in this pre-pupal stage until the next spring. Our Leafcutter cocoons are kept in cold storage at carefully monitored temperatures to preserve them in this state.
- Approximately three weeks before we ship to a retail customer, we place the cocoons in an incubator, where they will finish their development into adult bees.
WHAT A BEE NEEDS
- Temperature - Leafcutters are considered a summer bee because they love the heat. They fly in daytime temperatures that consistently fall between 75° and 110° degrees Farenheit, and they are tolerant of even higher temperatures short-term.
- Incubation - Unlike Mason bees that are happy to rest in their refrigerated cocoons until time to go home, Leafcutters are champing at the bit to be released. We incubate them for two to three weeks before we ship them. They are then ready to be released within one to two weeks depending on the incubation period.
FOR YOU, THE WHOLESALE CUSTOMER
We need to work together to ensure that your cocoons arrive in a state of maturity that suits your needs, which is why careful communication and planning are important. Questions to consider:
- Am I planning one or more pick-up dates and taking pre-orders?
- Am I planning one or more Leafcutter sale days, where I have notified my customers that Leafcutters will be available for sale and pick up?
- Do I want to make Leafcutter cocoons available every day throughout the season, without having to manage the cocoons myself?
Knowing the answers to these questions initiates planning on Crown Bees' part.
- Which purchase option will work best for you?
- By what date(s) do we need to have the cocoons packaged and shipped or certificates printed and in your store?
- How many cocoons do we need to incubate to ensure we can fulfill your orders?
THE BEST WAY FORWARD IS TO PLAN AHEAD
We are happy to work with you to plan purchase options and ship dates. Just contact us via the chat button (bottom right) or text us at 425-949-7954 and request a callback.