Beginning the Pivot to Do What's Natural...
February 2017 |
What's in this Issue:
Beginning the Crown Bees pivot
Native Bee Network, Support Wild Bees in your Backyard
As I listen to, read from, and discuss with native bee experts, I have learned a lesson that I hope you find intriguing as well. "Life is easier when you work with nature rather than try to control it."
Here are two concepts that steer how we look at our bees.
  1. Humans need nutrient-dense food that is pollinated by bees. 
  2. Most of our crops are grown in an artificial way as monoculture. Monoculture crops force us to manipulate honeybees into pollinators. 

The world is full of many different kinds of landscapes, climates, and ecosystems. Each place is home to a huge variety of bees and we shouldn't rely on one bee for all crops and all places.
North America is home to about 1,000 species of hole-nesting bees. These bees thrive in their natural ecologies. Their regions are just right for them: weather patterns, plentiful nearby nest-building material (mud, resin, leaf, etc.), flower variety, and nesting sites.
We want to learn what bees work best in each region, for each season, and for each yard and crop. The best bees are already around you, just unknown and not well understood yet.
Crown Bees will begin pivoting now. Soon, we will launch the Native Bee Network, a citizen science project that will involve many gardeners over the next few years. We'll be working with researchers and sharing what we learn with them.
Search for bees in your backyard >> Find and gather data >> Share data with Others
Our goal is to find the right bees that thrive best in your backyard, learn how best to raise them, repopulate and rehabilitate, and share bees regionally for more backyard and farm food.
Join us.
Dave Hunter
Tips and Reminders for Bees
  • Through February, your bee's stored fat reserves are beginning to run low... say at about 25% left. It's important to preserve as much of that fuel as possible. Cool your refrigerator down to about 34 degrees or so. 
  • Continue to be wary of mold growing on your cocoons. If you find mold, 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.
  • Don't harvest your bees now if you haven't. Just before you are ready to release them, harvest at that point. If you don't harvest, you are more than likely releasing pests in your yard that will impact this season's bee performance and next year's eggs.
  • Your leafcutter, summer bees and other summer wasps (which are now larvae) should still be tucked away protected outside in an unheated garage or shed!
House placement
  • This month, evaluate where to place your native bee house. It should be placed about head height and facing morning sun. You don't want direct wind/rain into the front of the house.

  • For those that already have their house location, consider what trees or bushes might be blocking the morning sun. Either move the house location or trim your branches. Realize that while your trees may be bare now, they will spread their leaves and flowers through the spring bee flight time.

Painting a house

If you will be painting or staining your native bee house, do so now. Let the house sit outside for the month prior to the bees using it so that any fumes or VOCs will dissipate.

A New InvitaBee; We're excited to share what this is!
Over the years, we've watched the USDA conduct experiments answering the question of "what makes a mason bee attracted to an old nesting hole." After two years, they found the exact answer and tried it out on multiple species of bees in the Osmia genus.

Surprisingly, all Osmia species of bees (more than 350 species) should be attracted to this pheromone as the Osmia bees all share this one common trait.

To make this as easy as possible to use, we placed the pheromone into a small spray bottle which has enough pheromones to cover two habitats. 10 little squirts here and 10 squirts there covers the nesting holes.

If you're interested in the commercial InvitaBee, we have enough attractant to cover 5 acres. It's more concentrated with 1 squirt equal to one application. We'll have that available later this month. If you need it sooner, call us please.

We have replaced our old attractant just now and will be placing this new spray in our Total Accessories Pack and with each BeeWorks kit.

This is only the first of many attractants. We will hopefully be able to develop 6 more attractants to match the 6 other hole-nesting bee genus. (There is a 7th genus that is made up of the cuckoo bees. We don't want to create an attraction for these bees as they lay their eggs in place of pollen gathering bees.) 

We also have leafcutter bee InvitaBee spray that we'll have available in April. 
Connecting the Native Bee Network
Check out our first draft of the Native Bee Network. Please keep in mind that this is a work in progress and many components are not ready yet.
Search for bees in your backyard >> Find and gather data >> Share data with Others
The initial 4 pages are:
  • NBN Home
  • How To & Bee Hotel Materials
  • Bee Finder & Steward Profile
  • Advisors & Resources
We realize that you, the BeeMail reader, already know much about solitary bees and are learning to raise them with us. As we look to attract many more gardeners and homeowners to help us find and raise native bees, we need to create an experience that is simple, informative and catches their attention. Once they're hooked and scouting for bees rather than Pokemon critters (Sorry, we couldn't help this!), we will need to keep them engaged because the project should be fun.

The network components are not quite done but there are steps you can take now so that you're ready to run once the network launches. Take a peek at the "How To & Bee Hotel Materials" and start thinking about the notes you're going to take this coming spring.
Please do us a favor: let us know if this Project is something is you would suppoert and use. If it is or it isn't, please tell us why. This will help us fine-tune and organize the project. Please email us at We'll read each and consider how best to integrate the thoughts along with other opinions and criticism we receive.
This isn't about us, rather it's about you, the bees around you, and the importance of food for our future. They are all connected.

Next month, we'll ask that you begin telling your friends about this project. What we're launching is realistic, simple, and extremely important. 

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