We’ve thought this through carefully. It is simple in concept…
- The gardener learns to successfully raises solitary bees for their yard and winds up with too many bees.
- These excess bees are consolidated with other local gardener’s excess cocoons.
- The bees are then used wisely in regional orchards/crops.
Let’s go a bit deeper:
- We’ve already reached you. We’re trying to reach others through blogs, magazine articles, FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. These bees are gentle, easy to raise, and are needed for our future food supply.
- Crown Bees has a lot of information in our website to teach you how to succeed raising mason bees. It’s free, and designed to help you be successful. We update it regularly!
- Bee-Mail is our means to connect with you today. Later, we’ll help implement a program called “Bee University” that will help you think through your yard, your bees, and your individual successes.
- Be successful with raising your bees.
- Share your bees with friends, family, and neighbors. Help them learn and get connected.
- Team with us in the Bee Buy Back program. Today, we’ll exchange nesting material or other products for your cocoons. We also buy your bees back from you if necessary.
That’s the easy part. Here’s where, today (2013), it gets a LOT tougher.
- Today, orchard managers predominantly know how to pollinate with honey bees. Bees are typically rented and brought in for two weeks. Farmers spray fungicides and pesticides before and after the honey bees are introduced for pollination. They may even have to spray during their presence if necessary.
- Wild flowers are mowed down due to their potential conflict with pollinating blooms. In many fields, dirt floors are preferred.
Research is needed to properly use solitary mason bees in orchards.
- What spacing should the nesting material be placed in each acre/hectare?(A hectare is 2.471 acres or 10,000 square meters.)
- Where is there adequate mud?
- How should the bees be released?
- Who owns the bees, the farmer or the bee manager?
- Who’s providing consultation to the orchard manager?
- How does one handle bees that will be in place for six weeks when there’s only two weeks of bloom?
- How does one spray a crop when mason bees are spaced throughout the trees?
- What chemicals can be used near or on mason bees? Different chemicals kill different bees.
- Who handles the bees after they are all dead, and there are eggs to tend to?
Crown Bees and other members of BeeGAP will not just give mason bees to orchard managers. We will insist upon proper consultation so that the bees are used wisely in their fields. We need EVERY bee to live and provide eggs for the next generation. If an orchard manager kills the bees due to ignorance, they may very likely say the bees aren’t worthwhile and tell their peers and neighbors. We can’t have this.
We’ll be teaming with peers of ours in Orchard Bee Association to ensure that what we present to the orchard manager is sound data.