Happy Holidays from Crown Bees!
December 2016 | crownbees.com
What's in this Issue:
10,000 Bee Giveaway!
Help us get more leafcutter bees in summer gardens!
  • Leafcutter bees are great pollinators. We've heard from many gardeners of the increase of garden pollination these gentle bees did for their beans, tomatoes, squash, and other vegetables.
  • What better way than to help newbees learn by trying it out themselves! In this giveaway, every person is a winner. Not all people win bees, but we do have great prizes, like discounts and our e-booklet!
  • Please let your friends and family in on this giveaway. Bees or gentle bee kits are wonderful for your hard-to-shop-for gardener!
Spring Mason Bees – Hibernation
  • Check on your cocoons in the refrigerator. Make sure there’s sufficient moisture in your HumidiBee. Add a teaspoon or two of water if the green pad feels dry. 
  • Be wary of mold growing on your cocoons. Mold is a spore that starts from a source within your refrigerator and floats in the air until it arrives on living things... like our slumbering bees in cocoons! The solution is easy: rinse the cocoons and HumidiBee pads in a mixture of 1 cup cold water to 1 tablespoon of bleach for about a minute. Rinse the cocoons in cold water, pat the cocoons dry with a paper towel and place everything back into the HumidiBee. Try enclosing the HumidiBee into a paper lunch sack. Mold spores should have a tough time getting through the fine air holes of paper.
Gifting Bees for the Holidays
Tips for sending bees and Christmas gifts

Image result for christmas package bee
If you have too many cocoons and are gifting them to a friend, neighbor, or relative, consider this tip.
  • Bees can be shipped just fine in the mail in December without additional cooling needs. Send them loose, harvested cocoon vs. left in the holes. If unharvested you may spread pests from your yard to theirs. Also, reconsider sending bees acclimated in your area to a different one. Bees from cooler summer temperatures do not fare well in hotter summer temperatures. 
  • If the bee cocoons are to be left under a tree for a period of time, that's not good. Instead, wrap a certificate that directs them to the bees hiding in your refrigerator! (How about a box of raisins with the certificate?) Smile
  • Our bees are cleaned to prevent pest/disease spread and we are careful about sending out appropriate bees for each area!
If you order a gift through Crown Bees, our BeeGiving2016 for 15% off coupon is still valid through December 19th. 
If you want us to hold a shipment until the 19th, let us know in an email.  It's easy to do!
Unless you live in the NW, we believe the 19th is the best "last" day for Priority USPS shipment across the country.

Reflection on 2016
Dear Reader,
Depending on whether our glass if half full or half empty, we can focus on things that are going well or things that scare us.  At Crown Bees, we're optimitists. We are looking to restore some balance to our food supplies and missing bees. The world is a bright and shiny place with wonderful hope.Image result for sun characticature It's fun to work here and we have a lot to be thankful for.
 We also have to view reality as well. The world population is still growing. Food, where it magically shows up in our stores overnight, isn't so simple for many of our co-inhabitants on this small planet. Crown Bees has a solution that can add up to 25% or more food across the globe without GMO or chemicals.  (Solitary bees!!!) The only thing missing is awareness and willingness to try different pollinators.
There are some awesome researchers trying to help farmers learn about alternative pollination solutions. I met with them last week and am pleased to see their hope and good energy. (See next section.)
  Our BeeBuyBack program was a wonderful success. We received a record number of mason bees sent to us faster than ever before. (155,000 plus and most by late October). We hope to find new homes for them across the nation.
 Honey bees continue to be challenged with new pests, viruses, and diseases. While today honey beekeepers can replace their 40%+ losses, it's not easy to have your favorite insect do poorly. It has to be emotionally draining in these businesses. I hope that in the future beekeepers will be willing to have multiple solutions in their companies rather than just the one.
 Another reality is our consistent pressure to use toxic chemicals in lawns, gardens, fields and orchards. North America sprays and spreads way more toxic chemicals than our peers in Europe that have better chemical bans. Surprisingly, food still is grown, sold, and eaten over there. I'm hopeful that the Crown Bees message will spread and make small differences with healthy solutions. It would be great to have less chemical marketing to us telling we need perfect lawns and no bugs in our yards. To the insect this is a vast green desert (no pollen) and without pests, the beneficial bugs have no food and move elsewhere.
 Bumble bees were placed on the endangered species list. That's sad, but great news that people care enough and congress approved it.
 Crown Bees is finding some great partners that want to rethink the world towards good solutions. Permies.com, Territorial Seed, and Arbico Organic are a few new collaborators.
We're still here trying to make a difference.  Keep positive!  Help us spread the news that not only can we protect food-rearing bees, we can also raise them!
- Dave Hunter, Owner  
Reporting back from the USDA Integrated Crop Pollination project
Last week I attended the last (5th) meeting of a large USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative that is researching the use of alternative managed bees and the impact of providing enhanced flowers along crops and orchards. It is called Project ICP.
The project has brought together 75 researchers from the USDA, universities across both the US and Canada, and multiple advisors to provide insight.
After long years of gathering data from apple, cherry, blueberry, almond, and cucurbit fields, the final step is to create an app for farmers that will show savings through using bees other than the honey bee or how to provide flower enhancement.
Amongst the many things I learned as an advisor is that the honey bee is "everywhere" creating challenges to the data gathered. Picture an acre in an orchard with 1-2 hives of honey bees buzzing everywhere. That's about 20-30,000 honey bees. Next, you're trying to see the impact of maybe 500-1,000 wild bees amongst that cacophony. That's not so easy.
However, with the knowledge of ONLY honey bees in part of an orchard and BOTH honey bees and wild bees in another part of that orchard, you're able to subtract out the honey bees' influence to produce good data.
Your take home:
  • - Your taxpayer dollars are funding great research to provide more food using alternate bees than the honey bee.
  • - In a yard, having a lot of flowers in addition to your fruit trees or gardens is vital to attracting bees.
  • - Mason bees and leafcutter bees are great pollinators!
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