Okotoks, Alberta 1-800-805-0765 | |

Neepawa, Manitoba 1-800-430-5955

Incubation Schedule for Alfalfa Leafcutting Bees

  • Cocoons are received in 10 gallon bags (100,000 live larvae) and are placed in incubation trays with the incubation temperature is set at 30°C.
  • Count day zero of incubation as the first day at which they are at 30°C.
  • This calendar of incubation assumes continual cool storage at 5°C prior to incubation, and continual incubation at 30°C.
Day 1

Cocoons are at 30°C. All are in the prepupal stage. Black tights and water traps are in place.

Day 3

Pteromalus (parasites) undergo their final molt into the pupal stage.

Day 7

Place dichlorvos (vapona strip) into the incubator at the recommended rate of 3/4 strip per 1000 cu ft. If the incubator is oily partially full use a lower rate.

Day 8

Leafcutting bees begin to undergo their final molt into the pupal stage. At this stage they are very sensitive to temperature fluctuations so maintain an even temperature – no cooling and holding at this time!

Days 8-9

First Pteromalus begin to emerge If the vapona is working they should die in the trays rather than making it to the water trap.

Days 9-12

Pteromatus continue to emerge.

Day 10

Leafcutting bee pupae begin to show some eye colour – the pink eyed stage.

Day 12

Leafcutting bee pupae continue to darker in colour in the eyes and over the back.

Day 13

Remove the dichlorvos strips. Actively air the incubator thoroughly and completely, using an exhaust fan and circulating fans for 24-48 hours. Maintain the 30ºC temperature if possible and desirable.

Days 14-15

Leafcutting bee pupae continue to darken in colour If cooling occurred during airing after vapona removal bring the incubator temperature back to 30ºC for continuation of development.

Days 14-15

Native leafcuttinq bees emerge (not to be confused with the males).

Days 14-22

At any time during this period, if incubation must be stowed due to weather or insufficient bloom, the cocoon temperature can be lowered to 10º-15ºC for up to two weeks. This virtually stops development. Once the temperature is increased, development resumes until the hatch is complete. The bee temperature must be at 10º-15ºC, not just the air temperature.

Day 16

Early hatching pupae (mainly males) are completely dark in colour later hatchers (mainly females) are darkening.

Days 18-19

Males begin to emerge. The bees are very susceptible to high temperatures! Make sure that your alarm system is working!

Days 21-22

Females begin to emerge. Male emergence peaks. Second generation Pteromalus begin to emerge.

Days 23-24

Female emergence peaks.

Trays are taken to the field for adult bee release once the females are 50% hatched. Trays may be returned to the incubator for completion of female hatch under controlled temperature conditions, then taken to the field again after two or three days.

Day 28

Hatch should be nearly complete at 30°C.

Call your local representative for more information