Fresh beds, clean linen, and a small chocolate on each bee pillow. Okay, not quite that excessive, but I did get around to cleaning out the mason bee houses. The tube system ones are quite easy, just pull out the used tubes and pop in the fresh clean tubes that they will use to lay their eggs in this season. The other house I have is the other model wherein you take it apart, blast all the yuck out, and by yuck I mean, mites, dead bees and contaminated cocoons, and put it back together again. (There were no viable cocoons in that house.) I then moved the houses to a different location under the patio where I can keep an eye on them better. Several of the mud plugs have been broken on the tubes and I can't tell if the mason bees are coming out or if they fell prey to some inquisitive chick-a-dee. I had purchased two vials of mason bee cocoons and put those out near the houses to increase bee occupancy as I found that not all the tubes had been used last season.
Here are the cocoons in the pill bottles. That's how you get them. There is a hole punched out in the lid for their door. So when they munch their way out of their cocoons, they can fly out directly to early blooming flowers. Hopefully, they will return to the location ( they don't fly far from their home) and see the bee houses and the fresh clean tubes all ready for occupancy. The cocoons by the way are delicate, papery umber parcels with a soft sheen. Lovely. Last year, when handling them, I could hear the buzzing inside, but this year, nothing yet. Not awake yet. I just took them out of the fridge, where I had been keeping them dormant ( to imitate winter).
Behind the pill bottles, you can see the tubes from last season, and some have mud plugs indicating they are used and have cocoons inside them. The bees just eat and push through the plugs. They will even just push their way through dead bee bodies inside if necessary as there are several bee cocoons per tube.