Spring 2016 Package Installation

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.

Swarm on the range!

Ranch foreman gets lucky!

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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.

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Busy Peninsula Bees

Ranch Foreman gets highlighted in local article.

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.

The Almanac, Print Issue April 9th, 2014

Swift Real Estate Partners doing the right thing!

In this day and age when most of us think about how fast and cost effective we handle certain obstacles that confront us, it is refreshing to know that some people and businesses overcome barriers the right way instead of the most cost effective way.

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Case in point, Swift Real Estate Partners of San Francisco.

I was contacted by SREP to help them with a feral colony of honeybees that had made their home in the 3rd floor planter box at one of their buildings they own in Concord. They didn’t mind the bees necessarily, but on windy days the bee’s flight pattern would end up closer to the sidewalk and entrance of the building to the point that they were becoming a nuisance to visitors and tenants entering the front doors. SREP could have very easily dealt with the honeybees by poisoning the bees and leaving it at that. Instead, they hired the Bee Ranchers to come out and remove the bees, re-hive them in a Bee Ranchers bee hive kit, re-locate them to another location on their property and have the Bee Ranchers manage the colony!

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A couple of weeks ago I went out to the site to meet up with SREP who had gone to the expense of renting a lift so that I could get up to the 3rd floor planter and remove the bees. Once I was lifted up to the planter to begin the removal process I discovered the bees had absconded their hive. After removing the planters to get to the empty comb it looks as if these bees left due to lack of food stores. The comb was beautiful and the bees had attached it to the underside of the planter boxes in the void underneath the planters.

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Although we were not successful and end up with bees, we did clean up the site, we discussed ways to prevent bees from coming back and the Bee Ranchers was able to educate a few more people on honeybees and why they are so vital to preserve.

I tip my hat to Swift Real Estate Partners for going the extra mile to help out our friend the honeybee.

All photos courtesy of Swift Real Estate Partners.

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Harvest Time!

An inside perspective by Ranch Foreman, Mike Vigo.

04_Leigh_Anne_StumpThere are certain times of the beekeeping season that I can’t stand and then there are some that I can’t wait for.

July/August are 2 months of the season which I despise due to the typical summer dearth where there are not many flowers in bloom, which means a lack of food, which means the bees need to be fed if they don’t have adequate honey/pollen stores built up from the spring. Think livestock.

The Fall, however, is harvest season and a rewarding time for those who are lucky enough to have honey to harvest. As a beekeeper, my #1 satisfaction comes from maintaining a healthy colony that survive the winter time. The 2nd best thing is harvesting honey.

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The harvest time is exciting for me because of all of you. More often then not when I show up for an extraction at your house I am greeted with friends and family of yours who are curious/interested/fascinated by the extraction process and the wonderment of the honeybee. It is a perfect setting to talk/educate anyone about honeybees. Everyone seems to walk away with a better understanding of how important the honeybee is to all of us and how fun beekeeping can be.

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This Fall harvest season was similar to last year in that overall, I harvested or am about to harvest the same amount of honey as last year. The difference is I am harvesting less honey in Lamorinda and San Mateo county then last year and quite a bit more in Alameda. Alameda is the oasis for a honeybee. The environment seems ripe for the honeybee to survive and they really do a terrific job in storing excess honey for the beekeeper to extract. I am guessing they do so well there vs. the other counties because the fog rolls in, cools and dampens the vegetation, rolls out as the sun comes out which helps to sustain any bloom longer. The other 2 counties are hotter and drier and, with the lack of rains, the bloom does not stay for long. In fact, early reports in California are suggesting the 2013 Honey harvest will be another tough year in terms of yield.

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So, enjoy your honeybees, enjoy any honey you reap and enjoy these pictures from a harvest I did earlier in the month in Alameda. The photos are all courtesy of Leigh-Anne Stump who was invited by her friend to participate in the harvest. Her pictures did an amazing job of capturing the essence of a small, local harvest.

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More Than Honey

Looks to be a great movie here.

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The short movie trailer is definitely eye catching and some of the cinematography looks amazing. The storyline of the intertwined relationship of honeybees to BIG agriculture (California Almond Crop) certainly seems compelling. We are obviously not yet sure where we’ll stand at the end of the film but certainly bringing awareness of the current plight of the honeybee to a larger audience is not going to hurt the cause.

Enough said, give it a few minutes of your time…

More Than Honey Movie Trailer

Not sure exactly where it will show but we first noticed it on Apple iTunes a couple weeks back. If we hear of a showing we’ll spread the word! If by chance you’ve seen it, let us know what you think of the movie!