Blue Orchard Mason Bee on Flower

Crown Bees is a small company and one of the trail blazers of the solitary bee industry. We are proud to guarantee quality mason and leafcutter bees, a high level of customer support, and research-based resources. Your success is important to us! 

Now, the solitary bee industry is taking off and unfortunately, some uninformed people/companies are selling bees and products. Poor bee rearing practices or a poorly- designed bee house can wind up doing more harm than good.

In the short term, poor practices make for unhappy customers who receive:

  • Empty nesting materials
  • Unhealthy bees
  • Bees not acclimated to their region (which may not be able to pollinate efficiently or whose next generation isn't strong enough to survive winter hibernation)
  • Bees riddled with pests/diseases

In the long term, poor practices can set back acceptance of solitary bees as farm and garden pollinators and contribute to the increased spread of pests and disease.

Even if you don't purchase bees or supplies from us, we want you to know how to find reputable producers, vendors, and information so you can receive healthy bees and create safe nesting habitats.

So, why are Crown Bees' Bees the Best You Can Buy?

1. Our mason bees are certified by the Orchard Bee Association (OBA).

The OBA is a team of independent businesses, farmers, and USDA-ARS Pollinating Insects Research Unit scientists. OBA's Sustainable Orchard Bee Certification Program aims to sustain managed orchard bee populations while conserving wild bee populations. There are strict requirements that need to be met in order to be OBA certified, which is why Crown Bees is 1 of only 4 certified vendors!

Orchard Bee Association

2. We practice loose-cocoon management.

The advantage of loose-cocoon management (rather than unopened nesting material) is that individual cocoons can be inspected and treated for parasites or diseases. When you buy or rent from a company that ships cocoons in unopened reeds or nesting blocks, you risk buying empty nesting materials or spreading pests and diseases like chalkbrood, Houdini flies, and pollen mites—not what you want in your garden!

Avoid Buying Unharvested Reeds
Empty and pest ridden reeds

The image above shows why you should always purchase loose-cell cocoons. 1) mostly empty reed, 2) reed filled with pollen mites, 3) moldy cocoons and pollen mites. Without opening materials, you can't be sure what is inside.

At Crown Bees, we individually inspect and clean every cocoon at our Woodinville location. Instead of bleach, which can damage cocoons if not used properly, we use our exclusive Clean Bee Solution to target the spread of the fungal pathogen Chalkbrood—the single most destructive disease of cavity-nesting bees. Any diseased or parasitized cocoons are appropriately disposed of to prevent the spread of these destructive pests.

Loose-cell bees are better than unharvested reeds

3. We sort cocoons by region.

We source and sort cocoons by region and then send our customers cocoons that originated from their location. This method gives the bees and their offspring the best chance of survival based on the local climate, and it also reduces the risk of spreading diseases or parasites that can be overlooked.

We overwinter cocoons in our industrial temperature-controlled cooler to help the bees maintain their energy stores. Beware of companies that ship cocoons any time of the year and request you store them in your refrigerator until spring. We have learned that temperature and humidity variations of personal refrigerators can result in bees either starving inside their cocoons, dehydrating, or emerging early. Your home refrigerator conditions aren't so much a problem when you harvest your own bees because you have control the entire time. For our DIY harvesters, don't worry. We'll help you learn what to do through our monthly BeeMail!

Mason Bees Mating

4. We take a research-driven approach to bee-raising.

We have ongoing partnerships with researchers, universities, nonprofits, and government agencies to stay informed on the current challenges facing our bees and bring together the best practices for solving those challenges.

Our recent work includes:

  • In partnership with the USDA, Crown Bees holds the patent license for InvitaBee™Plus+ Mason Bee Attractant. The attractant is used to encourage the nesting of all bees in the genus Osmia (about 350 species worldwide) and reduce the incidences of dispersal.
  • In partnership with Pollinator Partnership, we are working to boost membership in their Bee Friendly Farming GARDEN program. If you haven't already, check it out! We think you'll love it!
  • We are a member of the US National Native Bee Monitoring RCN. This group of native bee biologists and organizations from across the U.S. are working to develop a much-needed national plan for native bee monitoring.
  • In partnership with The Bee Conservancy, we provided nesting materials for their Sponsor-a-Hive Native Bee Homes program. Each year they offer bee homes, support, and educational materials to schools, gardens, and other community groups to help foster local native bee resilience.
  • We are continuing to provide chalkbrood samples to Jessica Maccaro, a Ph.D. Student in McFrederick Lab. Her work is focused on chalkbrood diseases and how the pathogens cause disease in the host—bees. 
Chalkbrood Research

Left: A mason bee cadaver that died of chalkbrood disease, Right: Jessica Maccaro, Ph.D. Student in McFrederick Lab at UC Riverside.

5. We believe in the power of education and support our bee-raising community!

Whether you raise bees yourself, teach others, or simply want to improve the pollinator habitat in your yard or garden, we are always here to help.

If you haven't already, check out our FREE resources and unique programs to help you along the way.

  • If you have questions about a product or want to talk to a member of the Crown Bees staff, visit our Help Center
  • Subscribe to our monthly BeeMail for timely advice about what to do each month
  • Are you a teacher (or know a teacher) looking to enhance their curriculum? Check out Mason Bee Edu

We care about the health of bees and your success.

Happy pollinating!

~The Crown Bees Team