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
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.
Every once in awhile you come across something that is so good you feel compelled to share it with a broader audience. This video is a great example of just one of those instances. A beautiful, informative and intimate micro-documentary focused on a well known Bay Area beekeeper and honey supplier. A great story of rooftop beekeeping success in the heart of San Francisco. An episode (and image) of “the City Exposed” courtesy of Mike Kepka and SF Gate.
As a small business owner, I realize that how I treat my clients is of the utmost importance. I am proud of the service and education I provide my clients with and enjoy the testimonials they in turn send to us. I’d love to share a recent testimonial from a happy client:
To all aspiring bee enthusiasts,
I have been working with Mike Vigo of The Bee Ranchers since fall of 2011. After 2 years of a futile attempt by another “bee keeper“ I was introduced to Mike and the result was an exciting and immediate turnaround of growing positive momentum. His experience, knowledge and level of service takes this art to a fascinating and rewarding space for me. Nothing like enhancing your environment, watching the activity of the bees and harvesting your own honey!
For anyone interested in beekeeping at any level, please offer Mike any courtesies available and he will guide you from “start to finish“ keeping you well informed along the way.
I am sincerely thankful to Chris and all of my great clients that enable me to do what I enjoy doing best, supporting local honeybee populations within the Bay Area and sharing my knowledge with those with similar interests.
3 bedroom, 2 bath and backyard with really cool beehive!
Luckily the owners who had been remodeling this house for over a year were not bothered by the natural beehive that had developed in the olive tree of their backyard. They were however not keen on keeping it there once they moved in. Thankfully they were smart enough to call a friend of Mike’s to inquire about removal/rescue option.
Mike’s friend called him for assistance on the job. Mike was a bit surprised as it was in the dead of winter and roughly 32 degrees out. Mike curiously accepted the Mission.
When they got to the home they were blown away at what they saw 15’ up in the tree. Long story short, they were able to “smoke” the bees a couple times to calm them, cut the main support branch and lower it carefully into a lined garbage can for transport.
The hive is currently at Mike’s friends house with a brood box placed over it. The theory is the bees will naturally migrate up into the brood box and happily establish themselves in the bee box. This should take a few months to happen.
Mike was amazed at this hive having little protection from wind, rain and cold, yet it was absolutely thriving! A testimony to how adaptive and strong honeybees can be.
A very beautiful example of organic architecture.
Ever run into a natural beehive like this? We’d love to hear about it!
Well as we stated when we started this BLOG just over a year ago, we want to share the good and the bad with you all. There was a lot of good news to report over the past year! Unfortunately we have a spot of bad news to report.
Mike came to check our hive a couple weeks back during his normal rounds and found very few bees within our hive. Mike was able to find the Queen but the population of the hive struck Mike as extremely low in numbers. This hive has always been observed as healthy. Naturally a hive’s population begins to thin out as Winter draws near, this did not strike Mike as a natural drop.
Mike reduced the hive down to just one brood chamber and we’ve inserted a entry restricter to help them defend the hive from “robber bees”. There is plenty of food stores for the size of the colony so now it will be a waiting and closely observing game.
The unfortunate prognosis Mike gave is that there is a very real chance this hive will not survive the Winter. Very sad.
We’ll keep you posted on how things go over the next month or two. Wish us and our honeybees luck!
Have you had any issues with your hive this year? Drop us a line to tell us about it.
We’re pleased to see that Alameda Marketplace has their own private label honey on the shelves now!
As many of you know Alameda Marketplace has been a great client of The Bee Ranchers. Earlier this year, they purchased hives from us and hired Mike to maintain them. The hives are located throughout Alameda as well as on their rooftop.
It’s wonderful to see the fruits (nectar) of their passion and dedication come to reality with the end result being jars of wonderful local honey to sell to the residents of Alameda. And as Donna Layburn (owner) states, “The real focus is to educate our customers about the importance of honeybees and the environment. The honey just happens to be a very sweet, tasty and healthy by-product of supporting (ranching) honeybees”.
Once again we salute Alameda Marketplace for their dedication to support local honeybees and for being such a great client / collaborator in this important effort.
For those of you who are curious… mellifera? CLICK HERE