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!
It is good to be a Bee Rancher!
The Bee Ranchers concluded their 1st trip out to the almond pollination earlier this week and the whole experience worked out as planned. Each hive started with 8 frames of bees and all came back with 18-20 frames of bees, pollen and honey stores! I trailered the hives home Tuesday night, made some splits Wednesday morning and delivered the hives back to their true home Wednesday night to take advantage of the Bay Area spring nectar flow that is upon us. These hives are in much stronger shape to go after the spring nectar flow here in the Bay Area then the ones left behind. With a little luck, we might have some Bee Rancher spring honey for sale in a few months!
I even had an old friend stop by and help out. I bet if you asked him 30 years ago when we first met that one day he would be helping me tend to my bees, he would have said not a chance. Well, fast forward 30 years and there he is, in the middle of 100’s of thousands of bees, helping me out. He was able to overcome his apprehension of bees and I was able to educate him about the importance of honeybees. It is nice to know that 1 more individual out there knows a little more about honey bees. As a beekeeper, I feel educating people to the best of my ability is one of my main responsibilities besides tending to the welfare of my bees.
Enjoy the spring and pray for more rain!!
Recently I trailered a number of hives out to the central valley to pollinate the almonds. This is the Bee Ranchers first time we have entered into a pollination contract with a grower and so far my experience has been terrific! I woke up early on February 12th to deliver my bees to my designated location where the grower was nice enough to allow me to park my trailer in a spot close to water and out of his way of equipment. This meant that I didn’t have to unload my hives off my trailer which is both a back and time saver.
A few days ago, I drove out to the almond orchard to make sure they were there (there have been a number of hives stolen recently), check in on my bees (they are doing great, see pics and video) and treat them for mites using MAQS. The day was partly cloudy but in the 60’s, the earlier blooming trees have mostly been pollinated (their petals had fallen to the ground) and I am now just waiting another 14 days or so for the later almond varietals to come into bloom. My main factor for taking hives to the almonds is food stores. With the drought California is experiencing, I am very worried about lack of forage in the summer and don’t want to feed my bees if I don’t have to. With the almond trees in bloom, I am hoping that my bees can take full advantage and store up a ton of pollen and nectar that will help them get through the summer months. By all indications yesterday, that is happening. Once I bring my bees back, I will add supers to them so that the strong colonies can begin to fill them up with spring wildflower honey here in the Bay Area. These hives in the almonds seem to be much stronger then a few I left behind and I am pleased with how things have turned out so far.