- Help farmers increase their crop yield, improve their crop quality, and raise their profit margins.
- Help us show farmers that alternative managed bees really work.
- Raise mason bees and participate in our BeeBuyBack program.
Farmers have the most important job, that of feeding us and keeping us healthy, but they also have one of the most stressful jobs. Farmers work within narrow profit margins and this makes it hard for them to justify the risk of trying out a new pollinator.
When crops bloom in the spring is when farmers’ lives start to become really busy. Large farms usually outsource their need for pollination to honey beekeepers and managers of alternative bees. Farmers usually don’t have the time needed to know how to care for bees.
Honey bees and alfalfa leafcutter bees have the luxury of being long-time industry standards for agricultural pollination. Our native mason bees have not had the pleasure of being raised commercially and this creates a lot of questions and issues for raising them at large scales.
How do we manage mason bees on large farms? How do we deal with a potentially large population of pests and diseases effectively and safely? How do we protect mason bees during chemical sprays? And how do we increase mason bee populations so that farms can enjoy their superior pollination service, too?
The last question is one that you, as a gardener, farmer, or orchardist can answer. With the right conditions, you can typically double your mason bee population each spring. This means that you can directly help introduce other farmers to our favorite alternative pollinators. When you sell or trade your extra mason bee cocoons with us via our BeeBuyBack program you are helping to increase mason bee populations. You are an integral part of creating a new industrial standard for agricultural pollination.
Farmers need your help learning about the benefits of turning to our native bees for pollination. They need first-hand stories about higher yields and improved crop quality because they need to see the proof in order to believe it. Today we are focusing on Consumer Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms because they are typically organic, polyculture, and engaged directly with their consumers. Help us work with your farmer or CSA board by checking out our Bee Supported Agriculture program and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farmers need help understanding that mason and leafcutter bees are cheaper, easier, safer, and more effective than honey bees as farmland pollinators. Solitary hole-nesting bees actually help honey bees be better pollinators and they work together well. Solitary bees are also a great bee for use in u-pick fields because they are much less aggressive and their flight time as adults is shorter. By the time customers are visiting to pick on your farm the solitary bees are done flying as adults and the next generation of bees are developing in their nesting sites.
Introducing farmers to alternative managed pollinators like mason and leafcutter bees is a huge part of the future of sustainable agricultural practices. Help us reach them!