Insect pollinators need our HELP!
The slogan of "Save Our Bees" usually gives honey bees all the attention. Our wild native bees need our help too and up to 40% of all insect pollinator species are facing extinction!
Raising hole-nesting native bees
not only increases the managed native bees' population, it also provides much-needed nesting habitat for other native bees. Learning how to care for native bees helps us care for all other bees. And because they make up about 70% of bee species diversity, we would love to raise awareness of the importance of our ground-nesting bees as well.
So, how can you help to raise awareness and help us find more innovators like you? It's simple: act on the knowledge you gain here and help us raise mason bees. Help us refine what we know about native bees. Help us teach children, communities, and the public about the vital role of native bees in our food systems.
BEE TIP 1
Native Bees rock
Beyond honey bees, native bees have been pollinating our food and flowers for millions of years. They are the original and best pollinators and we've chosen two great bees that are generalists (love all types of flowers), easy-to-raise, gentle, and superior pollinators. Our favorite springtime bee is the mason bee, which emerges in cool 13°C and our favorite summertime bee is the leafcutter bee, which emerges when the weather starts to reach 24°C. Both are super pollinators that carry pollen dry on their underside which falls off on each flower visited. The honey bee carries pollen wet and sticky on their hind legs, with little pollen falling off.
BEE TIP 2
Not all Bees sting
90% of the world's 20,000+ bee species live a solitary lifestyle. A fertile female bee that has the sole responsibility of gathering pollen and nectar, laying eggs, and gathering or packing mud or leaves does not have the time or desire to sting you. As a last resort is the only time a solitary bee will sting, like if you accidentally squish or step on her. Male bees of any species don't even have stingers!
BEE TIP 3
Bee diversity works
In 2016 Cornell University published a study that measured the pollination of wild and managed bees on New York state apple orchards. Introducing alternative managed bees and supporting wild bee populations increased pollination and seed set but increasing the number of honey bees at the orchards didn't show the same improvement. A variety of bees in a variety of sizes, shapes, and nesting habits work together to enhance crop yield and crop quality.
BEE TIP 4
More Bee diversity = food for more people
When we diversify our portfolio of bee species on farms we increase pollination of our crops and we get healthier, bigger, and better fruits and vegetables. As the world's population grows, issues of food security and food justice will become more and more important. Pollination is often overlooked but it's an important solution to the problem of our future food supply.
Spread the Word, let your family, friends and neighbours know the bees need a little help.
Garden with Wild Flowers
Plant wild flowers in your garden. If you have the room, create cute meadows of wild flowers in your lawn or yard. You can plant wild flower seeds in early spring. Our wild seeds come in packets as well as bags and they look fantastic!
Now is the time to start growing your own pesticide-free fruit & vegetables. Fruit and vegetables not only make a ton of flowers but eating local means you are not contrib-uting to global pesticide use. This helps the bees in your neighbourhood and around the planet. Even a few pots of vegetables outside makes a big difference! If you cannot grow your own, then select as much organic produce as you can while getting the groceries.
You too can help save the bees! Plant your flowers so that there are flowers from early spring to fall. Use bulbs, perennials, annuals and you can also let your some of your vegetables go to seed.
Get a bee house and give our native bees some shelter. Bee houses are one of the top sellers last summer, but you can also build a bee nesting site. It is as easy as drilling holes in a log.
Go Old School
When choosing bee friendly plants, try the old standbys. Simple old fashion flowers are better than highly cultivated ones. Don't worry about being traditional, these flowers never go out of style. Don't forget that herbs that flower are the bee's favorites!
Set out a bowl of water or fill a bird bath, but fill it with gravel, so the little guys don't drown. Pebbles make it easy for them to get the water without putting them in further danger.
Support your local beekeeper. Buy local honey from a beekeeper you trust who cares about their bees.
Grow Au Naturel
If you want to help save the bees, use natural methods of pest control. You might be surprised how many insects birds can control. Put up birdhouses and feeders. For aphids, use ladybugs instead of chemicals as a natural solution. Ladybugs can clear out aphids in no time at all
Spread the word about helping to save bees and share John's tips wherever you can.
Along with bees in a box, we have a full line of Crown Bee's habitats and everything you need to keep some of your own bees. Know as gentle bees mason and leafcutter bees are residents native to North America. They are considered gentle as they are very shy and only sting if they perceive serious danger. They do not attack to defend themselves. The stinger is actually an egg guide. Because of their docile behavior, mason bees are preferred by people who desire pollination in urban settings.
Female alfalfa leafcutter bees have stingers, but both sexes will usually use their mandibles as a defensive mechanism, usually only defending themselves when squeezed or antagonized. Therefore, bee suits, such as those required with honey bees, are not necessary when dealing with these bees. When these bees do sting, however, they do not lose their stingers or die after stinging.
Mason bees are named for their habit of using mud or other "masonry" products in constructing their nests, which are made in naturally occurring gaps such as between cracks in stones or other small dark cavities; when available the preferentially use hollow stems or holes in wood which are readily available here.
They are active from spring through late summer. Once you have habit in place for your bees will be ready to get into your garden. Just follow a few steps and you will have your very own pollinators buzzing about.
Bee cocoons arrive inside a small cardboard box. Larger cocoons are female and smaller cocoons are male bees.
Keep cocoons in their box or transfer them to a slightly larger container that allows some degree of air flow.
Cocoons must be stored under refrigeration to prevent them from waking up from winter hibernation. Consider using our HumidiBee (cocoon humidifier) to keep your bees moist in the fridge.
When daytime temperatures have reached about 10-13C, you can place the bee cocoons into the bee house. Place the box of cocoons top of the nesting holes with the lid open. The bees will emerge from their cocoons and crawl over the nesting material.
Please note: Bees also need sufficient pollen available from blooming flowers. Try to avoid holding your bees in hibernation past May 1st as they will begin to die in their cocoons or may emerge too weak to fly and forage.
Pollen, mud, fresh nesting holes, and correctly located houses are all key factors for successfully raising your bees.
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