Finding the Perfect Pollinator For You

Looking for the Perfect Pollinator

Say, you want to begin beekeeping to not only help support one of nature’s greatest pollinators, but to also help support your own garden. You begin your research to find some honey bees; but none of them fit the bill quite right. Something or other just doesn’t make them the perfect pollinator for your yard


So, you get yourself  some Blue Orchard Mason bees instead. That’s great! We need all the pollinators we can get. It’s not just the honey bees that are suffering, and the mason bees are a great choice for localized pollination (their range is much smaller than a honeybee’s). They are little pollinator powerhouses.


But they do have a downside. You see, whereas honeybees pollinate plants from early spring and into the fall, Mason bees only pollinate the fruits, nuts, and early flowers of the spring. By the time summer rolls around, they’ve built their nesting cells, laid an egg in each, filled each with pollen, and capped the cells over. Having assured the continuation of their species, the adult Mason bees die. Their young will hatch the following spring, to continue the cycle.


So, how do you assure pollinators for your summer vegetable garden, and all the summer and early fall flowers if all your mason bees are now gone?

A Different Kind of Pollinator

Enter Megachile rotundata, the Alfalfa Leafcutter Bee. This bee was naturalized across the country in 1940, and was credited with saving the American alfalfa industry. Alfalfa is used as a high protein feed for a variety of livestock. These bees saved the industry, because it turns out that they are 15 times more efficient at pollination than the honeybee.


Megachile rotundata are known as leafcutter bees because the female bees cut ¾ in circles out of leaves to use as nesting material in their nesting houses. They prefer the leaves of rose, josta, lilac, and pea plants, but have been known to use other leaves. Though the circular holes on the leaves aren’t pretty to look at, the circles of leaf material taken do not harm the plant, and are invaluable to these bees.

Leaf-cutting Bee (Megachile species) female in flight with cut leaf section









Just like the Blue Orchard Mason bees, Leafcutter bees are solitary bees.  They do not live in large hives, and there is no queen. Instead, they build nests in hollow stems, and small holes in trees. People can provide suitable nests for leafcutter bees, if they would like to raise them in their yards.  As with the Mason bees, a house that can be disassembled, or one that holds paper tubes, is preferable. This allows you to gently harvest the cocoons for safe keeping over the winter. Do not get the leafcutter cocoons wet – they are not waterproof.


Also as with the Mason bees, pollen is carried on the underbelly, and not in pollen sacks, making this bee a very effective pollinator. A really interesting thing about these bees is that they are bivoltine. This means that they are capable of  producing two generations of offspring in a single season. After the female lays her eggs in the prepared nesting house, the eggs can either rapidly hatch and develop into adult bees, or the eggs can be overwintered, with mature adults emerging in the late spring to early summer of the next year. If the eggs laid developed rapidly and emerged as adults shortly after being laid, these second generation bees not only add to the number of overwintering cocoons, they also add a special boost to your garden, providing extra pollination in the late summer and early fall.


Unlike Mason bees, Leafcutter bees can and will sting if they are aggressively handled, but the sting is very mild, and virtually pain free. If you would like to make the addition of leafcutter bees to your garden pollinator series, they can be purchased from some garden stores, as well as online


For more information, check out the following links.


Lifecycle of a leafcutter bee – this schematic only shows one generation, but if conditions are suitable in your area, you may also see second generation bees.

Leafcutter vs Mason bees

Tunnel Nests for Leafcutter bees

How nesting boxes differ by species

What Does Fremont Have in Store for You this Weekend?

For Anybody Looking for Something to do This Weekend-

Keep Reading

Not only will we be at our usual markets (Hillsboro Farmers Market in downtown Hillsboro, OR, Gresham Saturday Market on the beautiful Mount Hood Community College Campus, in Gresham, OR, and the Hollywood Farmers Market in Portland, OR), we will also be at Fremont Fair in Seattle, WA. On June 16-17, in the Fremont Neighborhood of Seattle, Fremont Fair will be taking place. It is a celebration of the summer solstice, and the start of summer. It’s big, Big, BIG! And it has something for everybody.



The Solstice parade is a Mardi Gras styled parade that encourages even the spectators to participate. The Parade is at 1 P.M. on Saturday, but plan to arrive early if you’re going to view the parade.


Before and after the parade, there will be plenty to keep you busy.

Well over 300 booths featuring handcrafted goods and art.

There are even decorated cars, a dog parade, and there are even nude bike cyclists to start off the parade! Check it all out at the official Fremont Fair website. Maybe we’ll see you there.

For more fun facts and information on the solstice fair itself look here Fremont solstice parade.

Tips for Healthier Skin: Comedogenic Substances

“Can I use this on my face?”

This is a question many of our customers ask when looking at our solid lotions. Our answer to this question is…maybe. It depends on your skin, and how coconut oil affects your complexion. You see, our solid lotions contain coconut oil. It’s naturally antibacterial and anti-fungal, coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer for your skin. Some people even find it helpful with eczema and psoriasis. But it also scores a 4 on the comedogenic scale.

So what is comedogenic, anyway?

Comedogenic (com·e·do·gen·ic) is a word used to describe substances, and it means that the substance tends to cause blackheads by blocking the pores of the skin.

You may have seen substances, or even products, touted as non-comedogenic. the term non-comedogenic is used to describe substances that do not tend to cause blackheads by blocking the pores. When applied to a product, the term means generally means that the skin-care product has been formulated so that it will not cause blocked pores.

Based on scientific studies, a comedogenic rating scale from 0-5 has been compiled (see the end of this post for a list) The rating indicates the likelihood that a substance will clog your pores.

0 – will not clog your pores.

1 – little chance of clogging your pores.

2 may possibly clog your pores.

3 – likely to clog your pores.

4 – very likely to clog your pores.

5 will definitely clog your pores.

Substances are fine to use on your face, and other acne prone areas, if they have a rating of 2 or below. They are unlikely to cause acne. Conversely, you should avoid using substance with ratings of 4 or 5 on your face.


There are a few things to keep in mind. The first is that your skin is individual, and the ratings were devised using either the rabbit ear test or else groups of people. This means that ratings are a rule of thumb, not written in stone. If you are acne prone, you may want to test the substance to see if it causes a problem for you.


Next, products are made up of a mixture of ingredients (substances). The ingredients chosen, and the ratios they are mixed in, can affect the comedogenicity of the overall product.  But you can’t tell just by reading a label if the product will clog your pores. Just because a product contains a small amount of a level 4 or 5 comedogenic substance does not mean the product will necessarily be comedogenic. That said, if you are prone to acne, and one of the first 5 ingredients is a 4 or 5 on the comedogenic scale, it may cause you problems.


Finally, for products, there is no official designation of ‘non-comedogenic’. It’s a completely unregulated term. It doesn’t necessarily guarantee anything. So, when you see a product promoting itself as non-comedogenic, realize that it can still cause problems.

What Does All of This Mean?

What all of this means is that you should test new products before using them on your face, neck, chest, or back; especially if you are acne prone. These are the areas of the body people are most likely to get acne outbreaks.


How to test a product to see if it will clog your pores: test the product in an area that is prone to acne. If you are fast to break out, then you’ll know soon enough. If it takes a few days, or a few weeks for you, then keep testing than keep testing the area daily. If you breakout on your back or chest, you could spot test there so it isn’t as conspicuous.

How to Test it

For seeing if products with comedogenic substances will be an issue for you test it on an area of skin that is inconspicuous and small. Try it for a few day or give it more time. You may find you have a lotion that is great for your hand legs feet knees and elbows and is also safe for your face. We hope you found this informative about the that big word comedogenic or the term non-comedogenic and how it applies to our lotion and to you.


Consider just giving it a try to see if it works for you. It may cause an outbreak, it may not. What is considered a higher level comedogenic may not affect your skin as much as somebody else. It all depends on your skin.

For more information on the subject of comedogenic substances, and how to properly use comedogenic ratings, check out these blog posts from Lab Muffin, and Complicated Conversation.

Say Goodbye to Plastic Microbeads


With all the reversals and rollbacks on environmental regulations of late, it is good to see that the ban on plastic microbeads is to go into effect as scheduled in the Microbead-Free Waters Act, which was passed December 18, 2015. If you’re wondering what microbeads are, they are tiny plastic particles that are 1mm or less in diameter. They are added to products to add scrubbing power. The ban in the Micro-Free Waters Act covers the use of plastic microbeads in rinse-off body products. So, we’re talking things like body scrubs, face cleanser, soap, and toothpaste. Some of the beads are large enough to easily see with the naked eye, but others are a little smaller, and dispersed in opaque products, making them less obvious. Plastic microbeads were first introduced to consumers in 1972, and are now found in over 100 body care products made, distributed, and sold by companies across our country.

The Microbead-Free Waters Act is being implemented in three stages: the first stage went into effect on July 1, 2017. The second stage goes into effect July 1, 2018. The final stage is to be implemented July 1, 2019. So in essence, after July 1, 2019, the manufacture, distribution, and sale of all microbead containing medicated and non-medicated rinse-off body products will be in effect in the United States.


Some companies are being proactive and replacing microbeads in their formulas with natural alternatives, or scrapping products altogether.


And the United States is not the only country to see the disturbing effects of plastic microbeads, and made subsequent moves to ban them. As you can see from the map, while a handful of countries have made moves to ban them, we still have a long way to go in eliminating microbeads.

Some of you are probably wondering why we should ban plastic microbeads at all. They look cool, feel neat, exfoliate our skin, and scrub our teeth. The reason is that most sewage plants are not designed to remove all the microplastics and microbeads from our wastewater, so they are most often released into our waters.


Increasing numbers of fish and other aquatic organisms  are adversely affected by ingesting plastic microbeads. Microbeads look like plankton, algae, krill, and/or fish eggs to other fish, and so they eat them. With their digestive tracts full of plastics, it leaves little room for nutritious food.

The fish that don’t die may well end up on your plate. Some of you might think “so, it’s just a little plastic; it’ll pass through, it won’t affect me.’ But microbeads are a route for toxins to come into the bodies of animals, because many toxins absorb onto their surfaces.


Each plastic microbead seems small and inconsequential, but just a few accumulating in our waterways can begin to have detrimental consequences. So, remember the next time you walk by a bottle with colorful plastic microbeads, and you think “Oo!  How pretty. Gotta buy it!” that the fish and other aquatic life that will later see those same beads will think “Oh! Yummy! Gotta eat it!”, which will displace nutritious foods, causing the animal to possibly starve. ‘It,’ which will have picked up toxins as the bead makes its way through our stormwater and sewage systems before being discharged in our waterways.

In the meantime, look for products that are microplastic/plastic microbead free. Below is a link listing microplastic as they appear on ingredient lists. Try to avoid products with any of these ingredients. Instead, look for products that have natural exfoliants. Look for Finely ground oats, rose hips, walnut shells, ground coffee, pumice, sugar, or even salt. These can all be used as exfoliates. Jojoba beads, which are made from jojoba oil, are a natural product made from jojoba oil, and they begin to breakdown as soon as you start to use them. They look like plastic microbeads, but are a safe option for you and the environment.



At More Bees, we use only natural exfoliates in our soaps and sugar scrubs. From the oats, spices, and other plant matter we add to our soaps, to the sugar we use in our scrubs, you never have to worry about plastic microbeads in More Bees products.  We want to bring our customers the quality they love with the oath to being healthy for you and the planet.

FDA Q&A on microbead-free waters act

Products containing plastic microbeads by country

Ingredients that are microplastics

Tips For Healthier Skin and a Healthier You #2: You Are What You Eat

Today, we’re going to be discussing tips for healthier skin and a healthier you. There are lots of tips we could give: staying hydrated, eating the right kinds of foods, protecting against overexposure to the sun, and your skin care regime are just some of things we will be discussing in this periodic series. We’ve already discussed staying hydrated. Our #2 tip for healthier skin, and the one we will talk about today is eating properly.

  1.  You Are What You Eat

When you think about the impact food can have on your skin, it can be confusing.

I mean, first they said it did. Then they said it didn’t. Now, they say it does again. What you eat really can affect your skin. Acne, wrinkles, dermatitis, psoriasis, and a whole host of other skin issues can be affected by diet.

White rice, refined sugars and flours, and foods made from these foodstuffs  increase your body’s production of sebum (the oil your skin makes), which can cause oily skin that is prone to acne flares. Scientific studies have also shown a link between dairy consumption and acne, though it is much smaller.







And the aging of our skin is greatly impacted by the amount of sugar we get through our diet.  Wrinkles, sagging skin, and loss of skin elasticity are all impacted by diet, particularly sugars (in the forms of fructose, and sucrose).  They accelerate the signs of aging because sugars they promote the cross-linking of collagen fibers.  And once linked, your body isn’t able to repair this type of damage.








There are some foods that actually keep this cross-linking process from occurring. These include herbs and spices, such as oregano, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and garlic, as well as substances found naturally in may fruits and vegetables, so incorporating such foods into your diet on a daily basis BEFORE signs of skin aging will help you keep young looking skin as you age.

If you are prone to inflammatory skin conditions like dermatitis, eczema, or psoriasis, consider eating an “anti-inflammatory” diet, like the Mediterranean-style diet. Even if you aren’t prone to such conditions, many physicians recommend a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, which favors whole grains over processed grains and omega-3 (salmon, mackerel, walnuts, so on)  fatty acids over omega-6 (poultry, eggs, so on) fatty acids.

So next time you reach for that plate of cookies and glass of milk, consider having a bowl of cherries instead. Just as sweet, but so much better for you, and your skin. You can pick them up at your local farmer’s market near you!

1 Epic Close to Home Hike You’ll Go Ape For

Looking for something a little different? Something cool? Both literally and figuratively? Then check out one of SW Washington’s hidden gems.The Ape Cave.

Never been to the Ape Cave? Maybe it’s time you went.

Wondering just what the heck it is? The Ape Cave is North America’s longest lava tube at over 2 miles long. Located in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, near Cougar, Washington, on the south side of Mount Saint Helens, it’s less than 2 hours from Portland. It was discovered by a scout group, sponsored by the St Helens Apes, in the 1950’s.

The Upper entrance is a longer hike (about 1 ½ miles) from the parking area, while the hike from the parking area to the main entrance is much easier – a paved trail that is less than ½ mile long.

The Ape Cave can be accessed by  two entrances, the upper entrance and the main entrance.  The Hike from the Upper entrance to the main entrance is moderately difficult, with boulder covered floors in some areas, and an 8 foot lava fall to navigate, while the hike from the main entrance to the end of the cave is much easier going. That said, no part of the hike through the lava tube is wheelchair accessible, and may be difficult for those with disabilities or health issues. Check the websites before going to see if you think this day trip is for you.

Inside the cave, there are a few features to look out for: the “skylight” (between the two entrances) and the “meatball” located between the main entrance and the end of the cave. The end of the cave is fun to look at too.  You have to crawl through a short section of tube to reach the end, so if tight spaces freak you out, just be aware of that.


Because it’s underground, the temperature is a damp 42 degrees year around. So, even on the hottest days, you can get a break from the heat, while experiencing one of our world’s wonders.  Make sure to wear/bring warm cloths, wear sturdy shoes, and a flashlight/headlamp is a must.  Extra batteries are recommended. There is no inside lighting provided. Because this is a tube, and not a cave system, there no branching inside cave, so it is almost impossible to get lost inside. The cave is open year round, but check road conditions in the late fall, winter, and early spring for snow closures.

Caution:  If you are claustrophobic, this one may not be for you.

3 Marvelous Places to Cool Off This Summer

WOW!  We’re just one month into summer vacation, and we’ve already had some scorchers!  Swimming is a great way to cool off. Just about every community center in the Portland/Vancouver Metropolitan area has a pool, some fancier than others. Great memories can be made at our local community centers.

But what about when you want a larger than life experience? Something you and your friends or family will talk about for years to come?

Wings and Waves, Wild Waves, and Great Wolf Lodge can all deliver.

Here’s the rundown on each of these three water parks to help you decide which is right for you.

Wings and Waves

This is the smallest park featured, but it packs lots of fun and features in its well designed indoor space. It also has the lowest prices, and is closest to downtown Portland, Salem, and Lincoln City.  


Where:  McMinnville, OR (1 hour from Portland)

(Located on Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum campus, but separate entry fees apply.)

Hours and Days: 10am-6pm, Sat-Thurs, and  10am-7pm, Fridays.

Prices: $10 Non-swimmer/$20 swimmers under 42”/$29 swimmers over 42”

Specials: Mondays are BOGO for admission price, through 7/31/17. Twilight specials are run every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of July, which allows admission at 50% price starting at 4pm.

Short description: This aviation themed indoors water park has areas suitable for all age ranges.Includes a wave pool, a leisure pool, a vortex pool, an aqua play area, tot slides, kiddie slides, and four full sized slides (for those 42” or taller). Food is available. Dressing rooms are provided and lockers rentals ($5-$7) are available. Bring a towel. Life jackets and tubes are available free of charge. Lifeguards are on duty. No outside food or drink allowed inside the waterpark. You can exit the building for a picnic/snack break, and return if you would like.

Wild Waves

This park is the furthest away from Portland, but covers the greatest area, and boasts the largest number of rides and slides.  It is also the only outdoor park featured.


Where:  Federal Way, WA (2 ½ hours from Portland)

Hours and Days: 10am-7pm, Sun-Thr; 10am-8pm, Fri-Sat through August, then days and hours vary. Sept-Dec, only the theme park portion of the park is in operation.  The entire park is closed Jan-Apr.

Prices: July/August $40.99 General Park Admission (48″ & Over)/ $21.99 Child or Senior Admission (Under 48″, 60+)

Specials: online/discounted price is $29.99 General Park Admission/ $21.99 Child or Senior Admission. Season passes available for $64.99.

Short description: This park is a outdoor dual park – a theme park and a water park both on the same grounds, for one admission price. Water and theme park attractions are available for all age ranges.  Food and gift shops are available. Tubes can be rented for $8-$10. Dressing rooms are provided and lockers rentals ($12-$20) are available. Bring a towel and wear sunscreen. Life jackets are available free of charge, on a first come first serve basis. No outside food or drink allowed inside the water park. You can exit the park for a picnic/snack break, and return if you would like. Prices, dates, and hours vary greatly depending on time of year, and online discounts are available, so check the website before visiting the park..

Great Wolf Lodge

Admission to the park is only given to those staying at the Great Wolf Lodge. As such, it is the most expensive. That said, if you plan to stay in a hotel and go to a waterpark, the prices can be quite reasonable.


Where:  Grand Mound, WA (1 ½ hours from Portland)

Hours and Days: waterpark hours are 9am-9pm, 7 days a week.

Prices: Room list prices are from $249.99.  Specials and deals are available, especially if you plan in advance.  Four park wristbands come with each room rental, and additional bands can be purchased if your party has more than 4 people.

Specials: online/discounted price are available, especially if you book your stay in advance.

Short description: your stay offers you access to attractions and activities available for all age ranges. There is a large indoors water park, with a wave pool, swim and splash areas, play areas, and small, medium, and large slides. There is also an attached, fenced splash and play area outdoors popular with smaller children. Life jackets and tubes are available free of charge. Lifeguards are on duty. In addition to the water park, many dryland attractions and activities, dining, and shopping options are offered to the guests staying at the lodge. The cost of dryland attractions and food are in addition to your room price, but the activities (primarily aimed at younger children) are included.

So, if you are looking for a little more than your local public pool has to offer, check out our local water parks. Beat the heat, chill with the friends, or have fun with the family. However you spend your time, we just hope you enjoy yourself and make lots of memories.

The Lakes in Our Backyard!

Do you feel like getting away from it all, but just don’t have that much time? Does hiking, biking, a nature walk, or a picnic sound about right? Or maybe some canoeing, swimming, or fishing is more your style? Just for an hour or two, including travel time? It’s not a dream. We have not one, but 6 lakes, each within ½ hour drive of downtown Vancouver.


Our favorite is Lacamas Lake (plus Fallen Leaf Lake and Round Lake) in Camas, WA. These three lakes, and some of the surrounding area make up the Lacamas Lake Regional Park and Lacamas Heritage Park. These two parks offers all of the activities listed above, and it’s less than ½ hour to get to from downtown Vancouver. The websites for Lacamas lake Regional Park and Lacamas Heritage Park give all pertinent information. Make sure to check which parking areas offer access to the activities you plan to enjoy. There are over 6 miles of trails in this park system with lots of tree cover, canoes and kayaks can be rented, and the play/picnic areas are fabulous. Check before coming if you plan to swim, as swimming may not be possible if there are algae blooms.




The other three lakes that are close are Battleground Lake, Klineline Pond, and Vancouver lake.  Battleground Lake; in Battleground, WA offers a small, but very deep, round volcanic crater lake circumvented by a hiking/biking trail, swimming, boating, fishing, picnic areas, play grounds, and an adjoining campground.  Klineline Pond, located in the Salmon Creek area offers a small beach area with swimming, a large play area and picnic area, and a sprinkler play area. Fishing is allowed, but no boating.  Lake Vancouver on the West side of the city offers large sandy beaches, shallow swimming areas, kayaking/canoeing, picnic areas, play areas, and volleyball areas.


Please check websites for more specific information, such as water conditions, whether or not a lifeguard is provided/on duty, or if there are fees to park.  And as with any water fun, please remember safety. Use sunscreen, and pay close attention not only to your children, but everybody around you if you are going in the water (or have small ones wandering near water).  Drowning is often a silent killer, so don’t expect to hear if one of your children, friends, or others around you have trouble. Keep your eyes open and have fun!

The best place to be on August 1st.

Soulful Giving Blanket Concert

Where should I be on August 1st? Well August 1st is the day of the 5th annual Soulful Giving Blanket Concert, and that’s where you should be. The Soulful Giving Blanket Concert is an event held on the picturesque Yoshida Estate, along the Sandy River in Gresham Oregon. It’s a benefit concert to help pediatric cancer research, care and treatment within the local region. The event is a whole lot of fun going from 11:00 am to 9:00pm for person 21 years of age and up. The affair provides a shuttle service from Mount Hood Community College to the Yoshida Estate, which has very limited parking. The concert features the best of the best, such as Portland Soul All-Stars, Ants in the Kitchen, Paul Creighton Band, and Patrick Lamb. A meal is included with your ticket, and you will have a choice between some of the finest restaurants in Portland. There will great music, and samples of foods from 16 of Portland’s finest restaurants, as well as food concessions, and offerings from over 30 artisan vendors.

It is a great day of fun with the weather usually being quite nice out. The idea behind the blanket concert is that persons can bring their blankets to lay on the grass while enjoying the festivities that are provided. Honestly, it is a blast. Even local wines and brewers are present all for the great cause of defeating cancer. So if you have that day open in your calendar, check it out, you won’t regret it.

100% of the proceeds collected will be donated to Providence Cancer Research Center and Randall Children’s Hospital. For more information, visit .

Who’s this ‘Beekeeper’ guy and why is he blogging?

So who’s this ‘Beekeeper’ guy and why is he blogging?Mostly, the blog is to share information…

…with people interested in the environment.

…with people interested in Portlandia and the Great NorthWest.

…with people interested in More Bees bath & body products.

In this blog; I’ll be keeping you updated on local events, fun things to do, and hidden treasures, information about bees, honey, and things we can all do to help the bees, and interesting tidbits about the environment and our health. I’ll be posting at least once a week, and more often as time allows. My main reason for blogging is that I’m really looking forward to getting to know you along the way.

Who is the Beekeeper? Well, that’s me; Ronald Lilienthal, I started keeping bees because I was alarmed when I heard about colony collapse disorder, where whole hives of bees were mysteriously disappearing. I was alarmed because so much of our food comes directly and indirectly through the actions of the bee. I bought my first hive and built them a home to offer what I could toward their recovery, and my goal has and always will be always be to keep wild honeybee populations viable.

Here we are several years later; the hives have multiplied a bit as the colonies have grown and as wild hives in distress (In people’s houses, mailboxes, and other places they shouldn’t be), and swarming bees looking for a new home have been given shelter. Stay tuned for more stories on rescuing swarms and the More Bees beginnings. We are a business that has grown tremendously as we’ve learned to create and share our line of bath and body products based on beeswax and honey; including handmade artisan soaps, lotions, scrubs, and balms.

Well, that about covers it for now.

I look forward to your comments on posts as they’re written and being part of ongoing conversations. I only ask that comments stay with the given topic to avoid clutter as I’d hate for your time to be taken up weeding through side conversations while you read up on your favorite subjects. Any questions, thoughts, or ideas that you’re willing to share not related to the blog at hand are welcomed at our Contact Us page. We can also always be reached at .

Thank you for sharing your time with us.