Mason bees

Look at mason bee cocoons then place them in a mason bee house installed near early flowering plants.
Science content
Biology: Features, Adaptations of Living Things (K, 1, 3, 7)
Biology: Classification of Living Things, Biodiversity (1, 3)
Biology: Life Cycles (2)
Biology: Food Webs, Ecosystems, Biomes (3, 4)
  • mason bee cocoons e.g. West Coast seeds product
  • mason bee house e.g. bought or home made
  • an East facing tree or wall, where the house can be placed out of reach

Hand out magnifiers and practice using them by looking at fingerprints. Take time to make sure every student is using it correctly.

Tip the cocoons out of their box and place on students' desks, so that they can look at them closely.
Before half an hour is up, return the cocoons to their box, and take outside to place in the installed mason bee house.

Explain how the bees will hatch within a couple of weeks (the males first). Then they will mate, and the females will lay eggs in the tubes of the house. Over the following months, into the Fall, the eggs will hatch, a larva will grow, and eventually make a cocoon to protect it through the winter. The adult bees will hatch out next early Spring. (Cocoons that have been harvested and sold are kept at fridge temperature, so that the bees do not emerge until the cocoons are placed outside.)

Grades taught
Gr 2
Gr 3