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.


The Bee Ranchers are now on Instagram!


And we are not the only ones. Come visit us on Instagram and definitely “follow us”. We’ve hooked up and started following some very cool folks with like minded views on the importance of honeybees as well as the beauty of the honeybees’ natural world.

Fear not! We’ll still deliver some great “BEETOGRAPHY” on the blog from time to time but Instagram will be a visual resource for you all to check out what the Bee Ranchers are up to on a daily/weekly basis! Mike, Ranch Foreman, has been very busy lately rescuing swarms and prepping hives for delivery of bees to clients this season and never misses an opportunity to snap a pic or two in the process. Serving as Brand Foreman, I’m always keeping my eyes open for all things bee-related and bee-supportive.

So come on all you INSTAHEADS, start following The Bee Ranchers. Below are just a few folks we’ve hooked up with on Instagram, are now following and find to be very interesting:

IG_gretchen_brIG_jake_tbkIG_muxiaIG_smattoonWell I’m quite aware there may be some of you that have no idea what the heck Instagram is! It is a free APP that enables users to share images and messages with the network of followers they create/obtain. We at The Bee Ranchers find it to be just the right Social Media platform to further engage with our community and beyond. BEWARE: IT CAN BE ADDICTIVE!!!

Beetography 3

Busy bees coming in hot!

Well after the previous “downer” post I think it is time for some righteous Beetography! And who does Brand Foreman go to for the hook-up every time? And who always delivers the freshest visuals around? Yes folks once again J.P. Lowery, our good friend from up north has graced us with some of his potent visuals. I’m going easy on you all as they are pretty heavy duty! Sit back, relax and enjoy.

JP_DSC_0153 JP_DSC_0157 JP_DSC_0269

Beetography 2

Hey folks, Brand Foreman here with a quick apology for being a bit thin on the postings as of late. Work and Summer have been keeping me quite busy. So I thought I’d get back into the swing of things with some solid Beetography! In case you’ve forgotten what Beetography is click here. Enjoy the images! The first two are from my garden, specifically one of my tomato plants.

Thanks to Andy Scheck of the Lamorinda Weekly for use of his images #3 and #4 and always big shout out to JP Lowery for use of his beautiful images #5 and #6.


What the heck is beetography you ask?

Technically it is a made up word but an oh-so perfect new word to describe our love of bee photographs. And what not a better way to celebrate this new classification of photography than to focus on one of our favorite beetographers, JP Lowery.

JP is an old friend of ours who hails from northern climes and has a knack for shooting very small critters in and around his garden. Fortunately for all of us some of those small critters are honeybees. The following photos are just a few of JP’s great shots. Can’t unleash the whole folio of images he has given us, we’ll post them from time to time for some great eye candy. Thanks again JP!

Would you consider yourself a beetographer? Are you interested in showcasing some of your shots on our site? Just ping me and I’m sure we can arrange to make you famous! We’d enjoy seeing the images people are capturing out there.

Stand Corrected

Or what we should call Honeybees VS Yellowjackets part deux!

Perhaps some of you might remember our first post on this important subject, making sure people do not confuse the two – which happens a lot! We asked our good friend JP (an excellent photographer and a subject for a future post) to send us some shots of Honeybees and Yellowjackets. We were appreciative and posted. Below is an e-mail we received back from him not too long ago. Click to enlarge.

Entomologists we are not. It just so happens the Brand Foreman’s neighbor sends, via e-mail, some shots he has taken recently and BAM! Our culprit the Yellowjacket caught right in the act of eating what I can only assume is a chicken nugget, all seven herbs and spices too!

I don’t ever recall a Honeybee dining on a chicken nugget. Case hopefully closed. And for those who might be wondering about the misidentified “pollinating wasp”, here is the link to learn more about them.

Wasp-like Hoverflies

If I’m a betting man, this might not be the last we hear on this post.

Huge thanks to JP and Martin!

Has Spring sprung?

If the blossoming and buzzing fruit trees are any indication, the answer might be yes! The image below (Brand Foreman’s backyard) is probably a common sight throughout the Bay area lately. Hard to walk outside or drive around without seeing many fruiting trees with their blossoms on full display.

Just standing near one of these trees and it sounds like Spring is humming along! The trees in my backyard are literally humming / buzzing with activity. The honeybees are going nuts! An awesome site to see and cool thing to hear this early in the year. We can’t help but wonder what this portends for the honey harvest this year – an early bounty perhaps? Only time and eventually the bees will tell.

Below are some additional shots I took on a lunch break in the backyard on 02/27.