Tutus Loco is a small, proudly South African business founded by the late Peter Webb and now run by his wife, Laurie Webb, from their home in Irene, Centurion.
This is their story, as told by Peter Webb:
In 2016 I was invited because of my observational skills in the field to help Dr Connal Eardley, South Africa's solitary bee expert conduct a solitary bee survey in the Kalahari. I started with little knowledge of solitary bees, but after many hours together in the quiet of the Kalahari discussing and documenting these amazing creatures, I came home with a new passion. Already a member of the Lepidopterist (Butterfly and Moth) Society of Africa, as well as a registered spider collector for the ARC (I had contributed a large number of photographs and specimens to the Agricultural Research Centre, ARC). I now had another thing to get excited and passionate about.
We (my wife, Laurie, and I) researched further and experimented with wood and bamboo making the first hotels. I would say that they were semi-successful. Bees moved in but some holes attracted nothing at all. Those original hotels are still hanging on our veranda many years later and the holes are still empty. This of course gave us invaluable insight. We corrected our mistakes, experimented further, and the next season we had a full house! Much joy!
As the months went by, it remained a passionate hobby. However as more family and friends asked for bee hotels we started to see a business opportunity. At the time I was working full time and into my third year capturing data and photographing moths for one of the country's leading moth experts, with the objective of a new Moth reference guide for South Africa. Unfortunately for the project, as I still hope to see it fulfilled, but fortunately for Tutus Loco, the project was put on hold. At the same time Laurie was retrenched. This presented, apart from some stress at the time, the great opportunity to really focus on and drive what we hoped was a new beginning. As they say timing is everything. So began Tutus Loco as we buried ourselves into our little business heart and soul.
Four years on and we could never have foreseen how this has changed our lives. We have been blown away by the interest in bee hotels and solitary bees. We are active at markets, have been invited to give talks, have large corporates requesting gifts, and now partners approach us to sell our products. We have met the most amazing people, people who are inspired by nature and want to do their very best for the earth. Our products have been placed in almost all countries around the world with great success.
We are so grateful and so excited to continue this exciting adventure!
Peter sadly passed away on 11 January 2022, following a short battle with cancer. His legacy and business lives on with his wife, Laurie, and their two children.