Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - Leafcutter Bees
CHRISTMAS DELIVERY FAQS:
If you've ordered or received Leafcutter bees for our December dispatch dates — whether as a gift for yourself or someone else — you might have some common questions. We encourage you to read through this entire FAQ page for specific information. Additionally, explore our educational pages under the "Learn" section on our website for more valuable insights. Happy beekeeping!
1. How long can I keep Leafcutter Bees in the package for Christmas gifting? Due to potential delays in customers being able to open and install their bees, we have taken precautions for our December dispatch dates. The cocoons have been incubated for a shorter duration to allow extra time before emergence. This is to prevent bees from emerging while wrapped under the Christmas tree or in case of courier delays during the holiday season. Please note this means your cocoons may take longer to emerge - please bee patient! Yes your cocoons are viable, no we can't speed up the emergence process!
3. How do I attract Leafcutter Bees to my garden? Our Leafcutter Bee Home Garden Starter Kit is designed to introduce and nurture leafcutter bees in your garden. The kit includes a wooden bee home, leafcutter bee cocoons, biodegradable paper nesting tubes, and an instructional guide. By providing a suitable nesting environment and food sources (flowers), whether they nest within your bee home or within your natural garden environment you can easily entice these incredible pollinators.
4. When should I order the Leafcutter Bee Home Garden Starter Kit? To ensure you receive the kit on time, we recommend ordering ahead of time, as our kits operate on a pre-order system. The kits will start shipping out in November. If you plan to give it as a Christmas gift, please select delivery for Christmas to avoid cocoons hatching too early.
5. Are Leafcutter Bees safe around children and pets? Absolutely! Leafcutter bees are non-aggressive and rarely sting. They are one of the safest bee species to have around your family and pets. You can enjoy observing their activities without worrying about stinging incidents.
6. How do I care for Leafcutter Bees? Leafcutter bees are low-maintenance pollinators. Once the Bee Home and nesting tubes are set up, there is minimal intervention required. Replace filled nesting tubes with new ones to provide space for the next generation. If your Leafcutter Bees chose to nest naturally within your garden rather than your bee home, no further maintenance is required. Consult our instructional guide for detailed care tips.
7. Can I reuse the paper nesting tubes for the next season? While the biodegradable paper nesting tubes will naturally decompose over time, they are designed for single-use. To ensure the health and hygiene of your leafcutter bee colony, we recommend replacing any filled nesting tubes with new ones each season. This allows for a fresh nesting environment and promotes the well-being of the bees and their developing offspring. By using new nesting tubes, you provide the best possible conditions for a thriving leafcutter bee population in your garden year after year. However, you may harvest any cocoons created during the season and store them for the following season. Consult our instructional guide for detailed instructions on how to do this.
8. How long do Leafcutter Bees live? The lifespan of leafcutter bees varies, but generally, the adult bees live for a few weeks to a couple of months. Their focus is on foraging and nesting during this time to ensure the survival of the next generation.
9. Can I use the bee home and nesting tubes for other bee species? While our bee home and nesting tubes are designed specifically for leafcutter bees, they can also attract other solitary bee species.
10. How do I get started with my Leafcutter Bee Home Garden Starter Kit? Our comprehensive instructional guide, included in the kit, will walk you through the setup and care process. Follow the guide to create a thriving habitat for leafcutter bees and enjoy the wonder of nature as they pollinate your garden.
11. Are Leafcutter Bees aggressive towards garden pests? Leafcutter bees are not known for their aggressive behaviour towards garden pests. Their primary focus is on foraging for pollen and nectar to support their nesting activities. While they may sting if directly handled or threatened, they are generally docile and do not pose a threat to pests or humans during normal garden activities.
12. How far will Leafcutter Bees travel from their bee home to forage? Leafcutter bees typically forage within a radius of about 100 to 300 meters from their nesting site. They are efficient pollinators and will visit numerous flowers during their foraging trips, making them valuable contributors to your garden's pollination needs.
13. Can I move the Leafcutter Bee Home to a different location in my garden? It's best to avoid moving the bee home during the active nesting season to prevent disruption to the bees and their nesting activities. If necessary, try to move the bee home gradually, inch by inch, over several days. However, we recommend placing the bee home in a permanent and suitable location within your garden from the start.
14. What plants do Leafcutter Bees pollinate? Leafcutter bees are versatile pollinators and visit a wide range of plants, including various fruits, vegetables, and flowering plants. They are particularly effective at pollinating crops like tomatoes, peppers, and melons, as well as various wildflowers. By attracting leafcutter bees to your garden, you promote the pollination of these important plant species, leading to healthier harvests and increased biodiversity.
15. Will leafcutter bees still exist within my garden if they don't nest in the Bee Home? Absolutely! Leafcutter bees are versatile and independent pollinators. Even if they choose not to nest in the Bee Home provided, they will still be attracted to your garden if you have an abundance of suitable nesting materials and flowering plants. Leafcutter bees have diverse nesting preferences, and some may prefer natural cavities, hollow plant stems, or other small crevices as nesting sites. By creating a welcoming environment with ample nesting options and a variety of blooming flowers, you can encourage these amazing pollinators to visit and enrich your garden's pollination efforts.
16. How do I know if Leafcutter Bees are nesting in the Bee Home? You can observe leafcutter bee nesting activity by inspecting the paper nesting tubes inside the Bee Home. Look for tubes that have been sealed with circular leaf pieces, as this indicates that the bees have laid their eggs inside. You may also notice bees coming and going from the Bee Home with leaf cuttings, a sure sign of nesting behaviour. It's important to note you will likely only see 1 or 2 Leafcutter bees at a time due to their solitary nature.
17. Can I use pesticides or insecticides in my garden if I have leafcutter bees? We strongly advise against using pesticides or insecticides in your garden, especially when you have leafcutter bees or any other pollinators present. These chemicals can be harmful to bees and may lead to their decline. Instead, focus on natural and organic gardening practices to control pests and diseases while creating a safe and welcoming environment for your leafcutter bees.
18. What types of plants do Leafcutter Bees prefer for nesting materials? Leafcutter bees are selective when it comes to nesting materials. They prefer soft, pliable leaves with a specific texture. Some of their favourite plants for cutting leaf pieces include roses, lilacs, redbud trees, and various soft-stemmed plants like roses.
19. Can I use non-flowering plants for Leafcutter Bee nesting materials? Absolutely! Leafcutter bees are resourceful and will use a wide range of plant leaves for nesting. Non-flowering plants like raspberry bushes, grapevines, and certain shrubs provide excellent leaf options for the bees.
20. Are there any plants with leaves that Leafcutter Bees avoid for nesting? Leafcutter bees tend to avoid plants with tough or waxy leaves that are difficult to cut and manipulate. Examples of such plants include holly, eucalyptus, and many conifers. Instead, they prefer leaves with a softer texture, making it easier for them to construct their nests.
21. Can I purchase Leafcutter Bee cocoons separately from the Home Garden Starter Kit? Yes, we have Leafcutter bee cocoons available to purchase separately. If you already have a Leafcutter Bee Home and wish to expand your leafcutter bee population, you can do so by obtaining additional cocoons from our website.
22. Why do you weigh your Leafcutter Bee Cocoons instead of counting them individually?
Q1: Why do you weigh the cocoons instead of counting them individually?
A: We weigh our Leafcutter Bee Cocoons for practical reasons. Individually counting the cocoons for each order would be extremely time-consuming, and to expedite the process, we would need to hire additional staff, incurring significant expenses. We prioritise transparency and efficiency in our operations, and weighing provides a practical solution.
Q2: How do you ensure the quality of the weighed cocoons?
A: Before weighing, our cocoons undergo a sieving system, removing approximately 90% of loose leaf matter and debris. While some debris is inevitable due to the nature of these cocoons, we take it into account during the weighing process. Each box of cocoons typically contains around 1g or less of debris which causes no negative impact to your cocoons. This ensures that any debris present is within expectations and does not impact the quality of the cocoons.
Q3: What can I expect in terms of the composition of the cocoons in a set?
A: Each set of cocoons includes a ratio of approximately 40-45 males and 20-25 females. Additionally, there is a 10% allowance for non-viable cocoons, which includes both loose leaf matter and debris. This thorough process guarantees that you receive a balanced and viable set of Leafcutter Bee Cocoons for your needs. It is for this same reason we do not accept requests from customers to purchase less than 7.5g of cocoons - your success is important to us and we know that with any less cocoons the correct ratios of males: females becomes harder to determine.
23. Are the cocoons included in the Home Garden Starter Kit pre-incubated? Yes, the leafcutter bee cocoons included in our Home Garden Starter Kit are pre-incubated before delivery. This ensures that you can expect to see the cocoons hatching within the coming weeks after receiving them. This way, you can witness the fascinating process of leafcutter bee emergence in your garden.
24. Can I combine Leafcutter Bee cocoons from multiple kits into one bee home? While it is possible to combine cocoons from multiple kits, we recommend using separate Bee Homes for different sets of cocoons. This allows each bee colony to have its dedicated nesting space, ensuring a more harmonious and successful nesting experience for the bees.
25. Will the Bee Home and Nesting Tubes be sent separately if I purchase the Home Garden Starter Kit? No, when you purchase our Home Garden Starter Kit, the Bee Home and Nesting Tubes will be shipped together as a complete package. This ensures that you receive all the essential components of the kit in one convenient shipment.
26. What can I expect in the Home Garden Starter Kit when it arrives? When your Home Garden Starter Kit arrives, you will find the Bee Home, Nesting Tubes, leafcutter bee cocoons, and a full instructional guide. The comprehensive kit is carefully designed to provide you with everything you need to introduce and nurturing leafcutter bees in your garden.
27. How will the Home Garden Starter Kit be packaged to ensure its safety during shipping? We take great care in packaging the Home Garden Starter Kit to ensure its safe delivery. The Bee Home and Nesting Tubes are securely packed to prevent any damage during transit. The leafcutter bee cocoons are carefully enclosed in a protective container to safeguard their viability.
28. Can I track the shipment of my Home Garden Starter Kit? Yes, once your Home Garden Starter Kit is shipped, you will receive a tracking number that allows you to monitor the shipment's progress. This way, you can stay informed about the delivery status and anticipated arrival date.
29. How can I tell if my Leafcutter Bee cocoons have hatched? You can identify hatched leafcutter bee cocoons by examining the cocoons. Once the bees have emerged, you will notice that the sealed ends of the cocoons are opened, revealing the emergence holes left by the newly emerged adult bees.
30. Do Leafcutter Bees produce honey? No, leafcutter bees do not produce honey. Unlike honeybees, which are social insects living in colonies and store honey in large quantities, leafcutter bees are solitary bees. Solitary bees, including leafcutters, do not produce honey or have large hive structures. Instead, each female leafcutter bee independently builds her own individual nest to rear her offspring.
31. Are Leafcutter Bees native to New Zealand?
While leafcutter bees (genus Megachile) are not native to New Zealand, they have become well-established in the country and coexist harmoniously with native solitary bee species. The positive aspect is that they do not pose a threat to the New Zealand ecosystem. In fact, they play a crucial role in pollination, and their presence is beneficial for the diverse plant life in the region.
The versatility of non-native pollinators, such as leafcutter bees, becomes particularly important in New Zealand, where many plants are not native. These bees contribute significantly to the pollination of both non-native and native plants, fostering biodiversity and supporting the health of the ecosystem. Their integration into the local environment underscores the interconnected nature of ecosystems and highlights the collaborative efforts of various pollinators in sustaining New Zealand's floral diversity.
32. Where should I position my Leafcutter Bee Home? To optimize the habitat for your Leafcutter Bees, consider additional factors when choosing the placement:
Morning Sun Exposure: Choose a location that receives morning sunlight. Leafcutter Bees are most active during these hours, and the warmth from the early sun is beneficial for their activity.
Northeast Facing: Position the bee home facing northeast for gentle morning sunlight, creating an inviting environment for the bees.
Eye Level for Observation: Mount the bee home at eye level for easy observation of your Leafcutter Bees, allowing you to witness their fascinating activities and important pollination work.
Garden Fence or House Wall: Ideal locations include a garden fence or the wall under the eaves of your house, providing stability and blending seamlessly with your outdoor space.
Attached to a Post: Secure the bee home to a stable post, ensuring a solid foundation for the nesting structure.
Away from Irrigation: Position the bee home away from direct irrigation hitting the front of the nesting area. Leafcutter Bees prefer dry nesting conditions, so avoiding constant moisture helps maintain a suitable environment for them.
Away from Prevailing Winds: Consider the prevalent wind direction in your area and place the bee home on a side of the house or structure that offers some protection from strong winds. This helps shield the bees and their nests from potential disruptions caused by gusts.
By taking these additional considerations into account, you can create an optimal environment for Leafcutter Bees within your garden, enhancing their nesting experience and promoting successful pollination in your garden or outdoor space.