BEE BUY BACK
Due to overwhelming response, the BeeBuyBack program has been suspended for the 2016 season. Please read below.
BeeBuyBack is Crown Bees' core program that empowers you, the backyard gardener, to help raise mason bees with the goal of growing more food, directly supporting our mission to help protect our food supply. Through this program we have developed wonderful relationships fostered through the raising of gentle bees.
We have worked tirelessly this past year to encourage the use of solitary bees in orchards, community farms and organic fields to help meet their pollination needs and increase yields due to efficient pollination.
Supply and Demand
Our vision of the future is crystal clear. Farms and orchards across North America will need mason bees to augment their pollination. There will be an increasing demand for mason bees. Unfortunately, the present demand is still relatively low. We are diligently working to “market” mason bees to organic orchards and farms. This takes time and requires that farmers be willing to think outside of the normal pollination box. Until farmers learn the value of these bees, need for these bees on a commercial level will lag.
As awareness of solitary bees has increased, so has the response to our BeeBuyBack program. We would like to thank you for your commitment to not only raise these gentle pollinators but for your willingness and desire to encourage others to do so as well. This past spring appears to have been a banner year for mason bee activity. Favorable conditions combined with increased awareness and participation resulted in a program response that has greatly surpassed our expectations and forecasts for the season. The question now becomes one of present supply and future demand.
Over the next several months, we will earnestly continue our efforts to promote the use of solitary bees by commercial growers as well as backyard gardeners but the truth is that we have quickly amassed a supply that may exceed this coming season’s demand which in turn has caused a significant strain on our cash flow. This fact has resulted in the decision to suspend the BeeBuyBack program for the season. We realize that for some, this decision may come as both a surprise and a disappointment. Please accept our sincerest apologies.
What to Do
We ask that you distribute any cocoons that you planned to submit through the buyback program to family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Put the bounty from your harvest to good work by sharing with and encouraging others. If you're up to it, host a community workshop or ask a local beekeeping organization if you can talk about mason bees. We have even created a presentation you can use to help spread the word! We thank you for your understanding and hope that you will consider us next season as a source to share your bees. We project next year’s demand for mason bees to be much higher than this year.
Thank you for your understanding.
HOW IT WORKS
- Fill out the form below (Normally available October 1 through January 15) letting us know that your cocoons should be arriving soon. Tell us where you live (so we can share your cocoons in your area) and what you’d like in exchange for your cocoons.
- If you have harvested your cocoons (preferred), please send us cocoons randomly selected, not just small or large ones. We like to ensure there are natural ratios of male and female bees. Please send us UNWASHED cocoons, it’s okay if they look a little dirty. If you have aleady washed your cocoons, that's okay. We will still take them. We wash ALL cocoons received as a precaution so no need to wash cocoons before sending them.
- Package your loose cocoons or filled tubes/reeds in a paper towel, pad a small box with a bit of newspaper or paper towels, nestle the cocoons or tubes in the box and mail them to us. Don’t forget to include a copy of the form you filled out (we emailed it to you) in the box. Standard US Postal Service Mail is fine. Expedited shipping is NOT necessary.
- We’ll send you an email when your bees arrive. We will harvest the nesting material (if applicable), wash and inspect the cocoons for pests and disease, and count the number of viable cocoons.
- About 2 weeks later, once the cocoons have been processed, we’ll send you another email telling you what we found (quantity of viable cocoons, pests) and let you know when we’re sending your nesting material, gift card, or check. (Depending on the amount of pests found in your cocoons, we may have to adjust numbers).
- Your bees will be placed into bins in our coolers by geographic region. (For example, Puget Sound bees will only mix with Puget Sound bees, while Eastern Washington bees will be kept separate, Minnesota is kept apart from New Jersey, etc.)
- We re-home your bees to gardens, farms, and orchards in similar regions with similar climates. Your amazing pollinators will go on to help produce more food in the future!