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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Well if you are an inhabitant of the San Francisco Bay Area then last weekend most likely gave you a serious dose of Spring Fever! That is especially true for me, Brand Foreman for the Bee Ranchers. My family and I spent a fabulously warm sunday enjoying a picnic overlooking Mt. Diablo. Both the honeybees and the bumblebees were out in force. Let’s just say that it awoke me from my blogging hibernation of the past (2) months. Wintertime is definitely our slow season.
That being said, ( YAWN and BIG stretch ) we’re ready to shake off Old Man Winter and get right into supplying you with some fresh Springtime posts on the blog. In fact I can’t wait for the next post which I know will blow you away. Without giving too much away, it involved a hive rescue that Mike, Ranch Foreman, conducted with a friend in Wintertime – the pics are amazing and I promise this is not just BLOG GUILT hype!
Stay tuned this week for the post!
And for those of you in the Midwest and East Coast still enduring the cold, just pretend you never read this!
Ranch Foreman snapped this shot while checking one of our client’s new hives. There are a lot of bees in this shot but one is not quite like the others! Can you find her – the Queen? Drop us a line with your guess. We might even give something away to the first person who guesses correctly! Who is it gonna bee?
Our family has been waiting for this day for a couple of weeks and it did not disappoint. There was the nagging question that went through my mind several times, “What does a package of bees look like?”. The pics below answer my question.
An interesting little wire encased, cage-type box with a canned food-like lid is the answer. Supposedly there are roughly 6000-8000 honeybees in a package. This was the first package that Mike dropped off. The pic above shows his truck with the back full of 47 packages of bees! Lets do the math on that…
…282,000 – 376,000 honeybees, destined for good homes and the great honeybee habitat of various locales of the Bay Area! Many are headed to Alameda, while others have further to travel throughout the Bay Area.
For now, the package of our bees have been placed in the hive as you see in the picture below. The reason being, Mike will come back later this evening to “hive” the bees. Evenings tend to be a good time to “hive” bees as they are not prone to immediately leave the hive to forage and disrupt the colony’s new home.
If you are curious what they sound like packaged the way they are (I was), I describe it in this way, take a ice cold coke, pour it into a glass with ice and listen to it bubbling. Kinda sounds like that!
We’ll report back to you all on our new colony once they have been hived.
Got a call from a client in Walnut Creek. Was a pretty text book rescue. We ended up bringing the swarm to a friend and fellow beekeeper in the East Bay. They’ll be well taken care of. Love the shape of the swarm in this shot.