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Author Topic: Something learned  (Read 958 times)
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Al
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« on: September 22, 2011, 07:33:26 PM »

So I get a crown bees e-mail today. In the body of the message it says the following:

Our mistake:

    We had been using a modern refrigerator as a temporary means to keep some cocoons cool rather than run across the yard to the "bee cooler."  We probably had 400-500 cocoons in this situation between early April and early May.  Cocoons would be quickly bundled in shipping tubes with cooling packs and then mailed nightly.

    Early May, we stopped shipping and placed all remaining cocoons outside to emerge.  Very few mason bees emerged.  (We sent refunds to a few last customers.)  A commercial peer had his mason bee cocoons in a cooler similar to my bee cooler.  60-70% mason bees emerged from his late stock.  Hmmm.

 
Analysis of the mistake:

    Modern refrigerators pull the moisture out the air so that frost doesn't build up in the freezer.  It's a nicety of our ages!  ...unless you're a hibernating mason bee.

    We placed a humidity reader in the modern refrigerator and found readings of 25-30% humidity.  This is too low for hibernating bees and we more than likely dehydrated these poor bees.  Hibernating bees should have between 45-75% humidity.

    Science has studied and confirmed that bees kept at a constant temperature during hibernation have higher survivability than those left to variable outside winter temperatures.  We want every bee to survive if possible.  Our long term food chain will depend on "non honey bees" in the near future.

So I guess most of my bees died a death of refrigeration. Bummer. I know I kept mine in the fridge a few weeks after I got em.
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2011, 07:42:52 PM »

 bee smiley  Thanks Al.  I find that failure is always an opportunity for future success IF you think it through.

Having bees in straws in the frig are probably fine for a month or so.  There would be less moisture disappearing through the walls of a tube.  In my situation, it was exposed cocoons on a cookie sheet probably very near the cool vent. 

I placed my hygrometer in various places throughout the frig and in general, found the humidity too low everywhere.   So...  thus the "mason bee humidity chamber" as something for people to think through.

Dave
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