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

A good day.

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!

Honeybees & Your Garden

We’ve done a lot of talking about how honeybees benefit us humans but not too much on how they benefit a garden. They truly are a natural addition to any garden or landscape. You could say they are mutually beneficial to one another. Honeybees are fantastic pollinators (keeping our flowers, veggies and trees producing) and a blooming garden is basically a wonderful foraging/food source for the bees.

So as we go into winter time I’ve found that letting some of my plants and herbs go to flower has been great nectar source for my bees. Specifically I’ve let my basil plants go to flower and the bees have just gone crazy for them. So as wintertime comes upon us and flowering plants become less and less available, it is nice to give the bees a few last options in the yard.

So I say, rather then tear out the veggie/herb garden and prep your beds for winter, let them go a little bit longer and your local honeybees will thank you!

Aggressive Pollinator

Brand Manager’s garden visited by an unidentified flying object.

Knowing honeybees are big fans of Lavender, this past Spring I purchased several plants and potted them near my hive. Sure enough they have been a huge hit and they are great to sit near and observe the buzzing activity. For the most part I have observed primarily honeybees and from time to time a big black carpenter bee. I have also seen some smaller honeybee type species which I would not begin to try and identify at this point.

This weekend I observed the visitor above that I have not ever seen before. He/she is a very interesting mix between what I see as a yellowjacket, honeybee and a bumble bee. The abdomen, waxy to the eye and colored similar to a yellowjacket, the thorax furry like a bumblebee and the head really a mix of a honeybee and a yellowjacket. The wings were similar to a yellowjacket too. It could hover perfectly still as well.

What struck me as most interesting about this visitor is that he/she very aggressively kept the honeybees away from the lavender, often times pouncing on unsuspecting bees as they were slurping up nectar. And not just shooing them away but chasing them a good distance from the lavender. An interesting visitor and by the ratio of honeybees to him/her, I’m not too worried of an adverse effect on the honeybees.

Have you ever seen this pollinator in your yard? Do you know what it is called? If so, drop us a line to let us know. We’ll do some investigating on our end too.

Michelin Rated Honeybees

A look at French Laundry’s inspiring organic garden and Honeybees in Yountville, California.

Brand Foreman here. I’ll start this blog entry by stating that I love my day job! I’ve been fortunate enough to be working on a design project up in Rutherford, CA in the heart of Napa Valley. So recently I’ve been up in the area taking note of popular destinations in the region. In my note and photo taking wanderings I stumbled into The French Laundry. Of course I had heard of it (if you have not check the link) but I really had no idea exactly where it was. Wandering the main drag of Yountville found me walking right past it.

No I did not drop in for a bite to eat, but I did wander across the street to take a look at their organic gardens. What struck me as most interesting about them is that these are not gated or barb wired off to the public. They are actually set up as if to invite you to walk amongst them – and I did! So inspiring to check out and to think that the fruits and vegetables from these gardens go directly onto the plates of a 3 Star Michelin rated restaurant.

And who do we owe a great deal of thanks and respect to for this wonderful organic produce? Sure Tucker Taylor and Aaron Keefer (< whom I chatted with while there – a friendly lad) are the gardeners responsible for taking care of this wonderful plot of productive soil. Sure the chickens are cool, they “cluck” and probably supply some good fertilizer. What caught my eye and that I think deserve a lot of the culinary accolades are the Honeybees from their onsite bee hives.

Just think, no honeybees, no organic produce! What a bland tasting world would that be like? I think Thomas Keller just got chills up his spine! Honeybees clearly play a critical role in what makes French Laundry, French Laundry.

Have you dined at French Laundry or seen their gardens? Tells us about it, Foie Gras and all!

Custom Hive Stands

If you did not know it, we at The Bee Ranchers handcraft our own hive stands. Learn more about it HERE.

Every once in awhile we’ll be approached by someone to make a custom hive stand. These are fun projects for us as it allows us to be a little more creative and a lot more collaborative with our clients.

Recently friends of ours inquired about developing a custom hive stand. They had an old sewing machine stand they wanted to utilize and we worked with them to make it a reality. Very creative idea and one we are proud to have assisted to make a reality! A real piece of garden art!

Do you have an idea for a custom hive stand? Contact us and perhaps we can help develop it with you.