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Crown Bees Indiegogo campaign...

 
Marty Mitchell
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Location: Chesapeake, Virginia
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Just got an email the other day stating that Crown Bees is getting pretty serious by launching an Indiegogo campaign for solitary bees. I have bought a few products from them and am a return customer. Something like this could be the "gateway drug" that brings masses of people around the country into both bee keeping... and planting for the pollinators(and everything else in nature). Then on towards permaculture. he he

Here is a link to Indiegogo. They still have a long way to go.
http://igg.me/at/crownbees/x

Here is a link to Crown Bee's website.
http://crownbees.com/


A while back I saw the owner in an online TV show called "Growing A Greener World". Here is a link to that show... from season 5 Episode # 503
http://www.growingagreenerworld.com/solitary-bees-pollinators/

EDIT: This is a link to a map where Solitary Bee Keepers are now starting to Network Together So you can find someone near to share bees and knowledge!
http://www.beewithme.net/
 
Todd Parr
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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I bought some bees from them in the past and would love to work more with solitary bees, but they are very expensive to buy. I built a number of mason bee houses I would love to populate if I find a cheap source for them someday.
 
Patrick Mann
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You only have to buy a small number of cocoons once - since they reliably increase every year, you never have to buy them again and can actually start giving away your surplus to friends (or sell them back to Crown Bees for a bit of cash).
 
Marty Mitchell
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They might even show up for Free @ some point if you set the bee trays out and have good nectar/pollin/and clay sources. I even had some sort of mysterious local pollinator move into my mason bee house last season(first season). They used chewed up plant material and not whole leaves though. Were about 1/4 the size of the mason bees and fit about that many more per tube. I think they may be sweat bees that were all over my 13 BlackBerry plants. I have not looked into it.

This season I am setting out some leafcutter trays. Did not buy any bees since I know I have seen them around already. The "new" trays were already Well seasoned for at least one season that I can tell... but are in mint condition @ the same time. That is an added bonus since the smell will attract even more bees to the nest. Did not know it would come from Crown Bees like that.

They did say they will buy excess bees from me when the time comes to either get more trays... or sell the excess/give away the excess to friends.

They keep surprising me in good ways. A business owner with a passion.
 
Kelly Smith
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Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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just supported this. this is a good business and Dave is a good guy.

we hope to havest some cocoons this year
we are trying to spread these around to others around us too. its so easy/cheap to keep these bees - it is also great way to get kids into bees
 
Todd Parr
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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@Patrick

That may be for some people, but not in my case. I bought 20 of them, 16 hatched. I put them out in my garden area where I have a number of houses I built for them. That was the last I saw of them. I'm sure I'll try them again someday.
 
Marty Mitchell
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@ Todd

I hope you do try again some day.

Are you leaving the houses out this year... just to see if the bees you released are having offspring come out this year... and possibly into your boxes? I bet they stayed in your area. As long as the females mated... they were probably laying eggs somewhere.

I bought 20 last spring. 10 Blues and 10 Horned. I was pretty depressed all Summer because I didn't see any action in my box. All of my fruit trees in the yard are still small though. Just surrounded by clover, ornamental cherries peaches & plums, and Cleveland pear trees that didn't get going till a few days after I released them. I did see a few flying around on a plum tree every now and again after releasing them.

Then last Fall I took my trays out and ended up having only about 15 mason cacoons(don't know type) and maybe 30 something other unknowns.

This year I am changing it up a little to see if I can get better luck. I will keep the bees cold and set them out at night so they cannot just fly away. I will put the cacoons behind the tray so the box can hold onto their scent better. They will have to crawl out and all over the box(hopefully scenting it up during the night). Then when sunlight hits the box early in the morning they can do their thing. I am waiting until the flowers get to kicking this time too. Even put my mud source directly below the nest box and set the mud in a way so as to give them options on how muddy of mud they want/need. I hear they are particular on how wet.

Also, the leafcutter bees seem to be drastically cheaper in price. I am betting that is due to them being much easier and more abundant. Might be a good route.

I bet that if you do the networking thing with other keepers in your area... they will have some ideas for you... or maybe even some free bees.
 
Patrick Mann
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
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Todd - here are a few things that might have caused your loss of bees:
- there was no good source of mud nearby. They need this.
- holes were the wrong diameter. Should be about 5/16"
- houses were poorly positioned. About head high, not swaying, with clear line of sight for approaching bees
- your bees starved because of bad weather
- not enough pollen sources nearby
- you moved the houses after bees had hatched
- cocoons were not hatched near the houses and bees did not find them
 
Todd Parr
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Next time I try I'll be more conscious of the mud. I think I have the other areas covered, and I was very careful to build the houses to pretty exacting standards.

On a happy note, mud daubers really like the houses. I haven't tried mason bees again yet, partly for that reason. My projects are many and I'm spread pretty thin with them all. If the mud daubers and maybe some others are using the houses, that's good enough for now.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Location: Chesapeake, Virginia
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+1

As long as something uses them then that is all that matters.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Location: Chesapeake, Virginia
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FYI Everyone...

As of now. If you donate $25 you will get 25 bees "to release into the wild".
 
Lana Wallace
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Off topic a little but I'm a new mason bee keeper. I put up two of the crown bee pvc pipe nests and tonight noticed that there seems to be a yellow jacket in one of them! I was using a flashlight to see as it is nightfall. There are bees sleeping in my other one. Any suggestions??
 
Marty Mitchell
Posts: 312
Location: Chesapeake, Virginia
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I saw a wasp sleeping in one of my tubes for a few weeks once early last spring. Ended up not being a problem. Just using the space as a shelter for the night and eventually left. I don't know if the Yellow Jacket is an issue though. Should not be. You may just be sporting a half-way house for it until it finds a good place to live.

I am interested in hearing what happens! Let us know.

Thanks,

Marty
 
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