Recently, I spent a few hours at Bee Thinking in their Portland, OR retail storefront placing the names and faces together that I have been talking to over the last year or so. The Bee Ranchers only uses Western Red Cedar boxes for our hive bodies and, after going thru a couple of suppliers since our founding, I am happy I stumbled upon Bee Thinking. They make beautiful hive bodies and woodenware and the quality of their boxes has been very satisfactory.
What I found to be interesting though, is how passionate the Bee Thinking brand has become with everything that has to do with honeybees and pollinators. They really are trying to change the way we think about honeybees and their employees and retail store show it. Mead and honey tasting, beekeeping classes, beekeeping supplies and innovative beekeeping products are just a few examples of what you will find here.
If you are ever in Portland, I highly suggest you stop in their store to browse their beekeeping supplies, taste some of the local honey they sell or belly up to the mead bar and try some local mead. bethinking.com
Yesterday, I finished up installing the last of 51 3-lb packages of honeybees I bought from Pendell Apiaries on behalf of my customers. http://www.pendellapiaries.com I love their bees they produce because they are gentle, incorporate the VSH trait (varroa sensitive hygiene) and the Pendell family are great to work with (Sheri, Frank and Joy). All of the installations went off without a hitch and I look forward to monitoring the colonies progress through the Spring and Summer.
Now for the disclaimer! Please don’t do this without a veil unless you know what you are doing and have experience installing packages. I was able to install these packages without a veil because I knew where the bees came from, I knew that they were gentle and I knew they wouldn’t be upset because they really had no home to defend. If you are a beginner installing packages or open up a hive mindlessly without a veil, expect to be stung! This slo-mo video was taken by a client while I was hiving their 3 colonies.
a local bakery in Alameda, Feel Good Bakery, is now buying beeswax from us specifically used as an ingredient for their delicious Cannele De Bordeaux. The caramelized crust crunch is the beeswax! Do yourself a favor and take some home for the family, they are that good!!
…the Bee Ranchers participation in the world’s largest pollination event, almonds! We trailered our hives out to the Central Valley early Tuesday morning to get to our place in the orchard by sunrise. Our bees will spend the next several weeks pollinating the thousands of almond trees in the surrounding orchards. We are thrilled to be a very small part of this most important agricultural happening and look forward to it each and every season. Next time you have an almond snack, remember to thank a honeybee!
We’ve been fortunate to have a wonderful group of clients and we’ve enjoyed working with you all and teaching you everything we know. Thanks for your support of local honeybees and helping out on the various “ranches”! They say a picture is worth a 1000 words…
The Bee Ranchers Orinda honey is now available at Orinda Hardware!
Why Orinda Hardware you ask?Back in 1952, my step dad and his father started the Orinda Hardware store and I, along with the Brand Manager of the Bee Ranchers, grew up stocking shelves and helping customers there. I have a lifetime of memories in that store that I wouldn’t trade for anything and when the current manager approached me about selling our honey there, I was honored. So, this is my tribute to my step father, Dick Keyser, who was a great man and helped shape me into who I am today.
This current spring crop of honey was harvested, gravity strained and jarred in Orinda a couple of days ago! And as always, our honey can be purchased at Re-Chic Boutique at 101 Orinda Way.
Many of you may know that The Bee Ranchers are supporters of Project Apis m. For those of you who do not, PAm is an organization that focuses on:
Enhancing the Health of Honey Bees
Project Apis m.’s mission is to fund and direct research to enhance the health and vitality of honey bee colonies while improving crop production.
They just included a little write-up on the Bee Ranchers in their monthly newsletter. Check it out HERE if you have 5 minutes. Take some additional time to read what they’ve been up to over the years and how they strive to enhance the health of honeybees!
Thanks Project Apis m. for all the good work you do.
Mike (Ranch Foreman) has put his time in driving around and assisting folks in taking care of and capturing swarms. In fact he has driven around all over the Bay Area in this effort. So you can imagine his surprise when he ran into a swarm at the Bee Rancher staging range! A couple pics of the action.
Remember, if you see a swarm, don’t be alarmed! They are at their most docile state. Give them some space and call an expert to relocate them. Never harm the bees or let someone call an exterminator.
Honeybees are a priceless resource for our environment and well being.
We were pleased to get some press on the clients we work with on the Peninsula. The article was posted on the The Almanac. Great article highlighting several beekeepers working within the area. Worth a download (PDF) of the printed version. Take 5 minutes and give it a read if you are interested in what we are up to on the Peninsula. Click the link below to take you there.
There are just some days that stand out from the rest for this Bee Rancher.
Earlier this week I (Ranch Foreman) was tending hives at a clients house on the Peninsula. They have a very large and extremely healthy wisteria vine growing along their garage, pictured above. What is so great about that you might ask? It was literally teeming with both honeybees and big fuzzy bumblebees. It was a true frenzy for nectar with honeybees diving right into the blossoms and bumblebees chasing and pushing them out. Must have been thousands of honeybees and at least fifty bumblebees zipping around.
So in a day and age when we (the bee keeping community) are constantly reinforcing the plight of the honeybee (and it truly is a serious issue – had to get that in) it is nice to sit back and watch a very healthy population of pollinators doing what comes naturally!