Dave Hunter

+ Follow
since Sep 17, 2010
Merit badge: bb list bbv list
I work to understand native bees, how they work, and how they help the planet survive.  I team with researchers, peers of mine, and then bring all of that together to a website (Crown Bees) that explains what we've learned in thoughtful words.  We focus on "cavity nesting bees", or those that "nest in reeds."  About 25% of the bees of the world are like that.

I can't specialize in all 20,000 bee species of the world because I wouldn't get much done...

I do like Paul and appreciate his touch to the planet. We need more Paul's of the world with their unique views, opinions, and actions.
For More
Woodinville, WA
Apples and Likes
Total received
In last 30 days
Total given
Total received
Received in last 30 days
Total given
Given in last 30 days
Forums and Threads
Scavenger Hunt
expand First Scavenger Hunt

Recent posts by Dave Hunter

Solitary bees that nest in holes protect their pollen/egg chamber with something. Some spring bees use mud, others use leaf bits, chewed up leafy material, resin, cotton from flowers, etc. What is in the area that the bees evolved with is what they'll use for protecting that chamber.
Only honey bees use wax like this. Bumbles will as well.
and nope... solitary bees.

Glad you're asking!
5 years ago
Hi Korsz,

here are solutions for you:

#1- all bees start from eggs that consume pollen and turn into larva. some bees are larva through the summer and metamorphous into bees by the end of summer. They are typically spring mason bees. Other bees overwinter as the larva and do their development to bees in the early spring through early summer. This is what you have here. All good bees, just needing a bit of energy to become summer bees.

#2 - exactly what you said. parasitic solitary wasps that are optimal predators to your acreage.

#3 - carpet beetles. Scavengers that shred through everything living. kill them.

#4 - don't recognize the species... if they were found in a chamber for each, then solitary bee, on the tiny side. if multiple in one chamber, then potentially wasp, though could be a parasite that nuked the bee that should have been in there.
5 years ago

I don't believe there are any Osmia (aka mason) species in the southern hemisphere. I know you have the European leafcutter bees that were introduced to Australia decades ago. Your best bet is to not worry about the clay, but focus where there is abundant pollen. place out holes that range from 4mm-10mm ID and about 15cm's long. keep these facing morning sun.

Bees use mud, resin, cotton, leaf bits, etc. to close off their egg/pollen chambers.
5 years ago
Just a small yellow flag Bryant, I've heard that cedar has natural insecticides built into it while still wet. Using it for a house is great. Using it for the nesting holes might not be wise. I'd wait a few years prior to doing that.

Do consider using holes that you can open up,like reeds, paper tubes or wood trays. Pest management.

Dave, Crown Bees
5 years ago
Howard invited me to teach about solitary hole nesting bees at the PDC via Skype. It would be best to do this in person, but I'm running short of time. So... my hour with you will be restricted to a face on a big screen in front of you.

Permies, and especially the PDC, is a wonderful environment to learn. I truly wish I could be there.

What we'll cover in this session:

I know a lot about pollination and how to make food pollinated. I've worked with researchers and commercial mason bee and honey beekeepers. It may surprise that we're doing things wrong. Monoculture started the whole honey bee mess...

here's a rough outline:

Outline honey bees... why we use them today as pollinators. Small history and digging into "why the bee gathers honey, stings, and how it operates." You're going to lose some assumptions you made here.

Introduce you to solitary bees. In particular, hole nesting bees that are super-pollinating bees. No honey, but great pollinators. Again... we'll look at the "why's" of the insect, not just "how to."
And some how-to's on both mason and leafcutter bees.

Why should you know about different types of bees? Less problems, they're native, and once you understand how and why they live/pollinate, you'll be able to use them in your gardens to produce more food.

How to live with the land and how to work with the land is important. How to get the most food from your land involves working with bees.

Dave Hunter, Crown Bees
When we use something simple like DE to get rid of our bugs in the yard, aren't we getting rid of all bugs, both pest AND beneficial? When we look to use a broad spectrum insecticide, natural or chemical, we're taking our yard out of balance.

I must be missing something but this seems like a basic "out of balance with nature" solution. I understand non-chemical... help me understand how having a yard devoid of bugs is a good thing?
8 years ago
Zach, the blue orchard mason bee is native to most of North America. We raise them in Washington as well as multiple states throughout the US. Try placing out wood trays or reeds to see what uses them. Visit our website to learn more about these awesome little pollinators. Signing up for "Bee-Mail" has you being reminded when to do what!

Nicola, bamboo is not great to use as it's brutal to harvest from. Try phragmites or teasel. The EasyTears work well. Wood trays are the best as they retain the nesting scent from the previous season and are extremely easy to harvest from.
9 years ago
That's exactly what I do as we come across any chalkbrood. EVERYTHING that touched it, the trays, the counter, any tools, our sieves, rock tumblers, etc. are all dunked into a 1 cup to 1 gallon tub of bleach water. Rinsed, and then dried. All cocoons are as well. The bleach will kill the spore, but leave the bees fine. Don't leave the cocoons in the bleach water longer than a minute or two. Total water bath time can exceed 15 minutes, but 3 or so is fine.

Glad you're out there raising these bees Patrick. Spread the word!
10 years ago
Chalkbrood looks like a larva-cadavor shaped spore... Look at my website for pictures of. http://www.crownbees.com/chalkbrood/

The dead larva is crescent shaped and when touched, the outer shell of it breaks apart easily. This is the nasty part about leaving your mason bee nests unharvested. If the chalkbrood is left in the tube/hole, mason bees inside of the chalkbrood have to brush past it to emerge in the spring.

The chalkbrood spore is now on wall of the hole, on the outside of the house, and on blossoms nearby. 3 grains of this left in a chamber for the next season's larva to lick up will perpetuate the cycle.

Harvesting is a must if you want to increase your production.
10 years ago