- Learn more about the gentle, summer bees you're going to receive.
- How to redeem your certificate for bees and when to order them.
- What to expect with your BeeHaven.
- How to create a BeeReady garden
Each female summer leafcutter bee is a fertile queen and does all of the work to take care of her young. No honey, no need to aggressively defend her nest or eggs. These bees are gentle! Summer bees build nesting chambers in small pre-made holes. Each nesting chamber is made of a protective cocoon that the female bee builds out of leaves or petals. The female bee gathers pollen and nectar into a pollen loaf to feed a single egg within each chamber. After she lays an egg she seals each chamber with more leaves. A female bee will build approximately 10 chambers in each six inch nesting hole. If the weather is still warm enough, she’ll choose another nesting hole and continue pollinating.
Most bees, including honey bees, are only actively flying as adults for 5-6 weeks. A honey bee queen can live for about a year producing eggs for her hive and she rarely flies. A female solitary bee such as the leafcutter bee, can lay an egg a day and will continue to do so until her wings become too worn and tattered. Learn more about our alternative to honey bees
Your summer bees gather pollen differently than honey bees. Honey bees pack wet pollen into pockets on their hind legs with little falling off. While honey bees are not good individual pollinators, they are better through sheer numbers. Summer bees gather dry pollen and carry it on their hairy abdomens. The dry, loose pollen falls onto each flower they land on and virtually every flower they land on is pollinated!
Steps For Success
- Sign up for BeeMail: We really want you to succeed raising solitary bees. Our monthly BeeMail specifically tells you what to do and what to expect each month with your solitary bees. We also include a little bit of science or other fun news.
We promise to never sell or share your email address.
- Schedule Your Bees: Your bees are pollinators and should arrive when your target plants are in bloom. If you plant beans in May, but they do not blossom until late June, have your bees arrive in late June! We mail leafcutter bees each Monday, May through August, via the USPS (First Class mail).
Your summer bees prefer warm temperatures. They fly best when daytime temperatures are consistently in the high 70’s through lower 100’s (21°-38°C). They can fly in lower 70°F temperatures but they will be less active.
- Redeem Your Garden Bee Certificate: When you are ready, visit crownbees.com/certificate and enter the unique code found on the back of the BeeHaven product label.
- Complete Your Contact & Shipping Information: If you are a worker bee, consider having your bees mailed to your work rather than to your home. We don’t want bees sitting for hours in a hot mail box and they would prefer to spend a day in the office with you. You will receive an email with your USPS tracking number on the day your bees ship so you will know when to expect delivery.
- Install Your BeeHaven House: Bees prefer early morning sun, the warmth waking them up early and off to work. If you live in a particularly warm region, +100°F/28°C, locate your bee house in some afternoon shade. Leafcutter bees are not long-distance travelers and will fly 300ft (100m) from home. Install your BeeHaven house close to the center of your garden on a stationary surface where it can be left for the entire season.
Consider mounting your BeeHaven at eye level, allowing for easy viewing. These bees can be very entertaining to watch as they fly in and out of their nesting holes covered in pollen or carrying leaves or petals. The BeeHaven house is equipped with a keyhole for easy mounting on a post, fence or wall using a nail or screw. Watch this video on how easy it is to set up your BeeHaven house and get started raising gentle summer bees! [VIDEO]
- When the Bees Arrive: Finally, your summer flowers are blooming for your bees! Place the entire package in your refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to slow down any eager bees that have emerged. While summer bees are gentle and typically not aggressive, they are bees that can sting if they feel life-threatened. Handle them respectfully.
- Releasing the bees: Placing the bees into the BeeHaven is easy. Open the chilled bag of bees and place it on top of the paper tubes in the BeeHaven. Ensure the bag opening is facing out and doesn’t interfere with the paper nesting tubes. Push the bag gently into the BeeHaven with one of the paper tubes so that it is protected from the sun. Emerged bees should begin crawling out immediately. Those still be in their cocoon will emerge within the next few weeks as the warm weather completes their incubation.
What to Expect From Your Summer Bees
When they emerge from cocoons, the males can be easily identified by their green eyes and their overall lighter body color. Males will emerge first and females will emerge a few days or even a week or two later. Within a day or so of emerging, you should find females beginning to nest in their nesting tube. Be patient and remember that it can take time to see evidence of female bees using their BeeHaven.
Female summer bees will be active for about 4-5 weeks until their wings are so ragged they cannot fly any longer. The eggs they laid are next year’s bee cocoons! Summer bees are small and you may or may not see them on your garden flowers but your garden's yield should be higher. Consider sharing your harvest with a local food bank or neighbors.
For warmer summers, you may find that your leafcutter bees may emerge a second or third generation as the heat encourages the newly formed eggs to hatch, develop, and then emerge.
Please remember that all bees are wild insects. We can do our best to encourage them to nest and work within our yards and gardens, but they are free to fly and nest where they choose. Bees are part of a natural system that includes predators and prey, and sadly, some bees may be eaten by birds or other animals.
We have seen evidence that lawn treatments and sprayed chemicals in yards repel most bees. The fumes from your neighbor’s chemicals may drift into your yard and could discourage the bees.
Create a BeeReady Garden
To a bee, lawns are vast green deserts that lack nectar, pollen, and nutrients for themselves and their eggs. Reconsider the function of your lawn and create a BeeReady garden with native trees, bushes, shrubs and perennials. If you haven’t done so yet, try raising some food to share. Tomatoes, beans, squash, or peas are all easy-to-raise.
The leafcutter bee is a generalist and gathers her pollen from most flowers, but the best pollen sources are native plants and food-growing plants. Consider planting flowers in large clumps. Bees are energy conscious and would rather gather pollen in one area rather than individual flowers.
Leafcutter bees use small bits of leaves or flower petals to line and separate each egg chamber. The optimal leaf is similar in thickness and texture to a rose leaf. It is slightly flexible so that the leaf cuts easily and can be curled and carried back to her nesting hole. Semi-circular holes in leaves are a natural sign of a healthy garden. You may be surprised that you do not find any bee-cut holes in plants within your yard and wonder where they are gathering leaves.