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Of the 20,000+ bee species on Earth, only about a dozen are used by farmers in commercial agriculture, and these crucial populations of managed bees have been declining at an alarming rate. Several factors, including increased use of pesticides, habitat fragmentation, emerging diseases, and reduced genetic diversity may be responsible for such bee losses. In response to this pollinator crisis, recent conservation efforts have led to stricter regulations on insecticide use. However, other agrochemicals such as herbicides and fungicides that do not directly target insects (such as bees) continue to be applied to in-bloom crops without much scrutiny. Curiously, past research shows that while certain fungicides may pose a lower risk for adult honeybees, they appear to be quite harmful for larval bees. Such findings were somewhat unexpected, and we at the Steffan lab wanted to find out why. 

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Harvest your leafcutter bee cocoons to reduce pests like grain moths, earwigs, and parasitic wasps, take inventory of your cocoons, clean your nesting trays, and control the development of your bees. 

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You want to keep your mason bee cocoons safe when it's time to release them in your bee house. For first-time mason bee raisers, all you need to do is slightly open their cocoon shipping box and set the box on top of your nesting materials and towards the back of the bee house. If you've been raising mason bees for a few years you need a protective container while they emerge from their cocoons.

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The story of our gingerbread bee hotel and how you can make your own. 

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Here’s the fun part about joining the Native Bee Network - checking out the wild native bees and wasps that nested in your site over the spring and summer.

Use the Native Bee Network Map App on your smartphone to locate and retrieve your registered wild bee house or Native Bee Network BeeHut and all of the nesting materials inside.

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Wild bees and solitary beneficial wasps can both move into your bee house or bee hotel. Each bee and wasp species has their own nesting preferences and their own way of building their nests. Here are our tips that can help you understand some of the most popular or common guests.

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Leafcutter bees are adorable.

Watch them carry home rolled up leaves to swaddle their baby eggs in this fun slow motion video.

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In Everett, WA, Everett Community College has installed 35 Native Bee Network BeeHuts across the college campus.

The Native Bee Network (NBN) program helps individuals and community members across the country support and find their local native hole-nesting bees. 

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Pollinator Week June 18-24, 2018

National Pollinator Week celebrates and raises awareness of insect and animal pollinators and how to support them. To celebrate this year, we are sharing a series of educational informative graphics, each teaching a concept or fun fact related to our native hole-nesting bees.

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Blue orchard mason bees (Osmia lignaria) and horned-face mason bees (Osmia cornifrons) both only produce one generation of bees per year.

Knowing this fact makes it easier for us to protect the developing larvae from one of the biggest threats that hole-nesting bees face: gnat-sized parasitic wasps.

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