Crown Bees

Written On: by Theo The Beekeeper

If you don’t know about Crown Bees, you will, after this article! They’re a company situated in the US with an honorable reputation for educating the populace on the pollination of solitary bees and helping thousands of people produce healthy foods. I and many others find their contributions invaluable, so let’s get involved and learn how we can give back.

Crown Bees is a US company founded by Dave Hunter. They have an online and retail presence and sell bee-safe products to promote the pollination of solitary Mason and Leafcutter bees to produce healthier foods. They work with researchers, schools, and government agencies to achieve their goals.

There is much more to Crown Bees than their products; they work tirelessly to educate communities on the importance of pollination of solitary bees. Let’s explore some of their efforts, the products they offer, and how their work and research can contribute to an increased food harvest for the entire country.

Who And What Are Crown Bees?

bee landing on flower
bee on crocus,Eifel,Germany. Please see more similar pictures of my Portfolio. Thank you!

Crown Bees is a company that focuses on teaching communities how to produce more plants and food through the pollination of wild solitary bees. What was once a garage business has since flourished, and founder Dave Hunter, along with his wife, works selflessly with researchers, peers, and community groups to promote the best practices in solitary bee raising.

Crown Bees’ motivation for discovering the why of wild solitary bee pollination has them providing cavity-nesting bees & supplies, quality support, and even educational programs to help thousands of people across the United States and Canada produce healthier foods. Through extensive research, they design bee-safe products that focus on practicality.

How Does Crown Bees Approach Their Work?

Crown Bees puts a lot of emphasis on their values, as it directly impacts their staff, customers, bees, and the environment.

Bee Health Is The Number One Priority

bee getting pollen
bee gathers the flower. Under rays of sun

Through meticulous planning and consideration, they prioritize a criterion that involves harvesting techniques to remove pollutants & pests and educate their community on the most effective methods for raising bees, as proven by their research and fieldwork.

They also teach about bee-safe products and the importance of sorting cocoons by ecoregion to maximize bees’ chances of survival once they emerge during the spring.

Raise Healthy Food Awareness

Home gardens are a fantastic source of sustenance for communities and provide more people with access to healthy produce. Educating communities and raising awareness of cavity-nesting bees in gardens offers thousands of people the opportunity to increase their yield of crops during spring and summer. 

Work With Nature, Not Against It

Crown Bees understand that their successes are a gift from nature and that by respecting that relationship, they can continue to prosper. As such, they continuously strive to update their business practices to benefit the environment. They make a habit of looking to the environment first to find a solution to an obstacle.

Furthermore, they believe in absolute transparency regarding their ambitions and goals for sustainability and make their progress and targets known.

Crown Bees Acknowledge The Value Of Community

Together with beekeepers, researchers, landowners, K-12 schools, universities, government agencies, and nonprofits, they build a network of information to combat the challenges that face their bee colonies.

Collaboration Is The First Step To Innovation

Crown Bees’ collaborative efforts help yield solutions to challenging issues that are both inspiring and contribute to much of the excitement of the work. They continue to inspire and create a prosperous bee-raising community with a passion for sharing the knowledge learned.

Success Is Achievable For Bees And Humans

In as few words as possible, Crown Bees aims to help people help bees. They believe that by sharing valuable educational knowledge of pollination by wild solitary bees through specialized programs, resources, blogs, newsletters, and schools, they can address food security and solitary bee conservation.  

How Can You Get Involved With The Crown Bees Community?

If you feel inspired to contribute to the Crown Bees community, you can find them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube. Don’t forget to visit the Crown Bees website and peek at all the goodies on display for improving your next harvest!

What Can You Expect On Their Youtube Video List?

bees on hive
Bee on honeycomb with honey pieces of nectar in cages. Beekeeping for beginners concept

As you would expect, the Crown Bees Youtube channel is overflowing with educational videos, instructional guides, and uploaded streams that detail various topics. You can expect to find informative videos on how to raise Mason bees, harvest cocoons and invasive Houdini flies, upgrade your bee house for summer, and even interviews & QnA sessions with founder Dave Hunter!

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Crown Bees post new topics regularly, and in fact, founder Dave Hunter plans to host an online webinar on Youtube for anyone interested in learning how to raise Leafcutter bees. Dave Hunter will talk in-depth on topics that cover successful bee-raising habits. The webinar takes place on Wednesday, 18 May 2022, at 12 PM PDT – you don’t even need to register!

Let’s Talk About The Crown Bees Website

When you first arrive, you’ll notice the clean and professional layout combined with a collection of alluring bee visuals!

You can choose to navigate to their online shop or visit their extensive knowledge base if you have any bee-related questions. The “Programs” section of the website has information on collaborative programs between the community and Crown Bees.

If you would like to learn a little more about the origins of Crown Bees, you can visit the “Who We Are” section. They also have a handy “Help Center” that gives you specific information on operating hours and product orders. For more insight into their current affairs, you can also check their blog.

Now, let’s take a closer look at each section of the website.

Crown Bees Have An Online And Retail Shop

Crown Bees’ online store and a retail store boast a superb selection of beekeeping products. You can expect a myriad of helpful bee-raising products, including complete kits with bees, bee houses, nesting materials, and even Mason & Leafcutter bees!

Complete Kits With Bees

These kits cater to Spring, Summer, or double as dual season kits, a real boon for raising leafcutter and mason bees.

The summer leafcutter bees and spring mason bees carry pollen dry and loose on their bellies and graze near their nests, making them excellent cross-pollinators for gardens.

If you were to purchase a Spring Kit, for example, you could expect the following:

  • A well-built cabin bee house made from Paulownia wood.
  • A collection of Spring natural reeds for mason bees, 70 count (8mm) or 48-cavity wood trays (8mm).
  • 20 Mason bee cocoons, acclimated to suit your specific region.
  • A helpful 26-page booklet about native beekeeping

Additionally, you’ll also receive a Spring Total Accessories Package that helps to maintain the bee colony and includes:

  • HumidiBee: keeps hibernating mason bee cocoons hydrated.
  • InvitaBee Plus+: an exclusive mason bee pheromone attractant.
  • BeeGuard Bag: fine mesh bag that protects developing cocoons.
  • Mason Bee Mud Mix: dry clay-rich mud that’s easy to use by just adding water.
  • An easy-to-follow instruction sheet detailing a step-by-step guide on how to care for your bees. 

Setting up the bee home, placing nesting materials and bee cocoons inside, and watching the bees pollinate and construct their nests is all it takes to get started. So easy, in fact, that it would only take about two hours per year to raise these gentle solitary bees!

Purchasing Bees From Crown Bees

If you were interested in purchasing either Summer Leafcutter Bees or Spring Mason Bees, note that at the time of this article, Crown Bees can only ship bees to the United States and Canada. Furthermore, they are unable to send bees to PO Boxes.

Accessories

Looking for something that can make your bee-raising experience a little easier? Crown Bees have a lot of innovative accessories to enhance your bee colony and help you make a success of it.

Spring Mason Bee Mud

For instance, you can purchase Spring Mason Bee Mud, an invaluable resource for female mason bees. Their natural instinct is to construct the walls of their nesting chambers out of mud or other “masonry” materials so that each growing bee gets its own area in the nesting chamber.

The female bees will then cover the nesting chamber with a thick mud end-cap to keep predators away until their progeny emerges to pollinate the following spring.

Since mud is such a vital part of their reproductive processes, female bees will refuse to reproduce unless they have a reliable source of mud nearby. Furthermore, the mud must also contain a high concentration of clay for consistency.

Bee Wayfinders

Bee Wayfinders, also available at Crown Bees,is a helpful accessory that gives Leafcutter bees visual cues that help orientate themselves to the nest.

Females do an orientation flight after emerging from their cocoons. During this journey, they look for a good nesting place and learn about the local area to assist them in finding their nests. After selecting a nesting hole, the female bee will fly in a zigzag pattern in front of the nest entrance and memorize the location and path.

Females can find it challenging to move their nests in beehives with many nesting holes that all appear the same, which leads to them nesting elsewhere. When a colony splits, it may reduce its chances of survival, so Bee Wayfinders prevent this problem and help bees make their way back safely. 

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They serve as visible road markers to assist females in swiftly locating their nesting holes. Bees can’t perceive red since their color combinations derive from ultraviolet light, blue, and green. They can perceive reddish wavelengths like yellow and orange, though. Consequently, each Bee Wayfinder has a distinct, bright hue that bees can easily distinguish.

Nesting Materials

Avid bee-raisers will find a treasure in Crown Bees’ nesting material collection, especially their natural and reusable wood trays.

Crown Bees’ wood trays are durable, reusable, and simple to open for the cocoon harvesting season in the fall. Their craftsmanship is precise and boasts the very best in quality, deriving from Pacific Northwest alder. Every tray is also safe for bees to use as natural nesting material.

The reusable wood trays come with the following helpful features:

  • Reusable wood trays let you save money year after year.
  • The wood is an excellent insulator that protects Mason bee cocoons from overbearing temperatures and mold from excess moisture.
  • Side notches latch into adjoining trays, keeping the nest aligned and preventing pests from entering from the side.
  • Every wood tray comes with a detachable cardboard covering and a special cloth that blocks pests from entering from the back.
  • The front of each tray has light charring that creates a visual aid for female bees to find their nest, plus it removes splinters that may be harmful to bees’ wings.
  • Since wood is naturally porous, it retains natural nesting scents that serve to attract bees for the following season’s bees. 

It’s also possible to purchase Cardboard Bee Tubes for Mason Bees (8mm). These tubes are the outer guard tube for their paper inserts. Combining them with inserts helps to protect the developing mason bee larvae from parasitic wasps and other intruders.

If you’re concerned about harvesting cocoons in the fall, don’t be; removing inserts is as easy as dropping them into a bath of lukewarm water and waiting 10 minutes for them to separate.

Books And Merchandise

If you’re a reader and you’re buzzing for a new bee-book, you’ll find a handful of tiny treasures in the Books and Merch section of the website! There are books about the life and revolution of Mason bees, suggestions for plants to feed bees, and how to handle bees in your backyard.

Each reusable tote replaces hundreds of plastic shopping bags, which helps protect wildlife. You can even order a reusable Cotton Tote shopping bag titled Raise Native Bees. It measures 15.5 x 15 inches & the handle measures 26 inches.

Additional features include an easy-care 4-oz cotton fabric and fold-flat construction, making it easy to store after a shopping trip. The handles   

Bee knowledgeable

Thanks to their hard work and collaborative efforts within their community, they could construct a knowledge base of information equivalent to a treasure trove. If you need information on raising solitary bees or activities that you can teach in a classroom, you’ll find it all here!

Upon further exploration of the knowledge database, you can learn about Mason bees, Leafcutter Bees, product instructions, and lawn & garden care, plus there are free educational resources for educators.

Are you new to beekeeping and looking for a Mason Bee beginners guide? Perhaps you’re interested in buying bees, but you’d like to know a little more first? If you want to know why Crown Bees do not use bamboo in their products, you can read about that, too.

Their passion for sharing their knowledge about bee-raising has them sending out a monthly BeeMail newsletter (or their educational program, as they like to refer to it) where they talk about helpful topics to benefit the community. You can expect details regarding important bee-raising issues, timely seasonal information, and tips & tricks of the profession!

Furthermore, you’ll also have access to educational opportunities within the community, facts about solitary bees, and read about discussions regarding partnerships and behind-the-scene programs.

Programs

Here you can find information on some of Crown Bees’ community programs and how you can be a part of the excitement. 

The Community Garden Pollination Program aims to raise solitary bee awareness by having community and school garden organizers build bee houses. Members of this program are privy to special discounts on Crown Bee products and updates on the progress of the program, plus they also receive free access to educational materials to use within the community and school gardens.

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Mason Bee Edu is an exceptional tool for high school educators looking to enhance their curriculum with pollinator biology. It focuses on the role that solitary bees play in food production and their ecosystem and why their conservation can have significant positive results.

Solitary cavity-nesting bees are very unfamiliar to most people, and this program is a lovely way to introduce these super-pollinators to the community. You’ll stimulate curiosity, educate the public, and increase awareness of some of nature’s most vital pollinators by planting a single bee home in your yard.

Solitary bees are also non-venomous and rarely sting, making them safe to keep around children, families, and pets. If they sting, the discomfort is minimal and similar to that of a mosquito bite.

Solitary bees pollinate plants and crops more efficiently than honey bees, and research shows that they enhance agricultural yields. Rising garden yields may make food more accessible to a more significant number of people in the community.

In one of their programs, Our Bee Buy Back, they encourage their community of farmers and gardeners to sell any additional mason bee cocoons back to Crown Bees. Their goal is a country-wide endeavor whereby they wish to increase food production through natural pollination.

Who We Are

It’s always nice to learn a little more about the people around you, and Who We Are is all about Crown Bees – the story behind how they came to be, what drives them to achieve their goals, and where they hope to be in the future.

It’s sometimes easy to look at someone and think they have it all figured out,  but we don’t see all the obstacles, difficulties, and fights that came before – and this section of the website is ideal for reading Crown Bees’ story.

Furthermore, this is also the place where they go into great detail about their values, so it will undoubtedly splash a lot of color onto the canvas of Crown Bees that you think you know. You’ll also get an opportunity to meet the team behind the magic and finally put to rest those thoughts about bees running the show.

Help Center

The Help Center is all about times, days, and dates regarding the business aspect of Crown Bees. More specifically, you can access your account information, orders, shipping, and policy information.

The My Account section allows you to view information regarding accounts, like benefits, store credit, creating & updating your account, or resetting your password. If you are interested in tracking an order, you can also do that here.

If you want details about orders, visit the Orders section. You can learn about BOPIS (Buy Online Pick Up In Store) or change & cancel shipping orders and dates. Have a bee certificate you want to redeem or purchase for someone else? Do it here as well! Lastly, the Order list also has specifics regarding Crown Bees’ return policy and instructions.

Shipping can help you track any orders’ progress, plus you can get detailed instructions on what to do if you believe your package got lost during transit. Furthermore, if your item arrived damaged or it’s not the product you ordered, you can report it here.  

Finally, the Miscellaneous section contains information regarding Crown Bees’ privacy policy and an option to provide feedback if you have any suggestions regarding their website.  

Blog

Crown Bees have a blog where they discuss the most up-to-date news on their programs, science relating to solitary bee conservation, food security, and initiatives like No-Mow May that aim to promote the colony growth of bees and other pollinators.

You’ll also have the chance to get involved with community contests, like Crown Bees’ first annual Backyard Buzz Content. This contest has gardeners, farmers, and other bee enthusiasts sharing pictures of their bee-friendly habitats.

Whether they’re sporting bee houses surrounded by native plants or have recycled DIY projects, everyone is welcome to compete for gift certificates at Crown Bees!

Conclusion

Crown Bees offers not only great bee-safe products, but they also sow into the community to promote bee conservation and people’s sustainability. They share their knowledge with anyone willing to listen and often host events and webinars and make videos to raise awareness of how pollination of solitary bees can positively impact our environment. 

Author

Theo The Beekeeper

When I was a kid, my dad used to keep bees around the small farm we had, and I absolutely loved helping him. In the past few years, we’ve picked up the hobby again, and I’ve been doing a lot more research. This website is the accumulation of things I’ve learned along the way! You can learn more about my journey and the resources I’ve developed on my about page.

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