True story of the Beestra Native Bee Nursery
Hello native bee lovers,
Ames and I believe the Beestra is the best native bee nursery you can buy. Maybe that’s only true for ten more minutes while we wait for some giant mega-corp to announce a breakthrough on the SuperBowl. But right now, the Beestra does more to raise baby bees than any other product and it does it simply, safely, cheaply, without plastic, using recycled/recyclable materials in an easy-to-ship package.
And that’s our marketing problem.
Because the Beestra doesn’t look like any of the other ‘Bee Hotels’ on the market. The Beestra comes from a garage: the Mysterious Building 137 on our small Ozarks tree farm.
It took a failure to get us here.
We need pollinators on our farm, like all farms. After building a bunch of wooden bee hotels, we worked for almost a year to perfect and produce the radical BeeFoster Blue3 Native Bee Nursery. We talked to literally thousands of people at farm shows, Lawn&Garden shows, farmers markets and small gardener clubs across our region.
Alas! The Blue3 was too large, too complicated and it used plastic fasteners. It needed a stand to support it and a separate corrugated box for shipping which was expensive.
It actually did perform well, but people stayed away in droves. So, we shook the small-change cookie jar and worked for another year to start over. We got advice from entomologists, the farmer’s market perambulators and our own experience to create the Beestra.
So, where’s the bees?
Some people who install their Beestra will be disappointed. Most of the flying insects in Germany, for example, are dead and that is true of many countries including parts of the U.S. where bees suffer from habitat loss, pesticides, insecticides and lawn companies that kill everything that crawls or flies. If you mount a Beestra in the wrong place or if you live somewhere that lawn companies or chemical companies have sprayed deadly poisons in all directions, you will be disappointed.
Or in our case, amazed.
Ames and I take our walking sticks and Bingo the Wonder Dog and we inspect our Beestras daily. We feel downright maternal about the tiny residents of our nurseries. We rarely see them coming or going, but we see the mud caps and that means 7-10 bees live inside each straw. We know we are giving these hard working ladies a fighting chance to survive.
But the Beestra won’t save the world.
We all hope technology will help solve the terrible climate change mess we’re in and maybe the Beestra is a very small argument for that hope. After all, bee nurseries are only a tiny slice of the worldwide economic pie. But our tiny segment includes 30% of our food supply and 100% of America’s native flowers. We know the most important steps are carbon pollution reduction, habitat restoration and the end of indiscriminate pesticide spraying.
But in the meantime, Ames and I would be grateful if you start a Beestra tradition. Put one up in a good place and do the same for next season and the season after that. Bees tend to return to their homes and we hope that each year, your small step to save native bees will mean more mud caps each year. If your Beestra doesn’t show mud caps, move it to another spot and use best practices to show the bees you really care.
You can Visualize World Bees from your own garden and it can start with a Beestra. Thanks for your support…