Monday, March 28

Dave Hunter on Solitary Bees-Guest Blogger

Are you raising solitary bees? It’s easy, fun, and extremely important for you to do so! The honey bees and bumble bees face an uncertain future. You may be needed to help keep food on your table in a few years!

Spring has arrived for both coasts. Social and solitary bees are here just in time to pollinate our flowers and fruit trees. Social bees are what we typically think of when we say “bees”. Honey bees and bumble bees are two popular bees that live in hives and work “socially” towards a common purpose; to rear their young and keep the hive humming. Whether they’re in a tree, a box, or underground, social bees work as a team. Solitary bees are just that… they each live a life by themselves. The females do each need a male to mate with. But once mated, each female performs her queenly duties by herself for about 4-6 weeks until she dies. For the spring “blue orchard” mason bees, their life begins when the day temperatures reach about 55 degrees (March-April) and finishes in late May. Because these solitary bees have only a hole to be concerned with, they are extremely gentle. Only when caught in a life threatening position will they sting. They make the perfect garden companion!

Both coasts are home to the native blue orchard bee with the Rockies separating two “cousins” or sub-species. What about the honey bee and bumble bees facing severe challenges? Within this decade, many scientists suggest that our commercial crops may not achieve adequate pollination. Costs of food will rise because we won’t have enough produced. This could happen to many orchards within 5-7 years. What can you do to help? Consider successfully raising solitary bees, beginning with the blue orchard mason bee. All it takes are a few correctly sized holes in your garden, a bit of pollen, some nearby mud and you’re good to go. You can buy mason bees online or try to find them in your yard. Crown Bees is teaming with gardeners across the US to help them be successful.

Read more at Within 5-7 years, depending on where you live, your excess native bees may be vital to your regional orchards or crops. Crown Bees’ far reaching newsletter “Bee-Mail” helps gardeners know “when to what” so that you can be more successful. Your success with mason bees may be critical to help pollinate your local orchards! If you’re lucky enough to already be raising them, please don’t use drilled holes in blocks of wood. Why? Read our FAQ section in our website Happy pollinating! Dave Hunter O. 425.949.7954 C. 206.851.1263

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