Hardware & Honey!

The Bee Ranchers Orinda honey is now available at Orinda Hardware!
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Why Orinda Hardware you ask?Back in 1952, my step dad and his father started the Orinda Hardware store and I, along with the Brand Manager of the Bee Ranchers, grew up stocking shelves and helping customers there. I have a lifetime of memories in that store that I wouldn’t trade for anything and when the current manager approached me about selling our honey there, I was honored. So, this is my tribute to my step father, Dick Keyser, who was a great man and helped shape me into who I am today.

This current spring crop of honey was harvested, gravity strained and jarred in Orinda a couple of days ago! And as always, our honey can be purchased at Re-Chic Boutique at 101 Orinda Way.


Wonderful Beekeeping Video

3:32 of time you won’t regret giving up!


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.

Watch the video here: the City Exposed: Rooftop Beekeeping

Enjoy, we sure did!

Outstanding job Mike Kepka!

The Hive Diary / PART 5

Houston we have capped honey!

Some of you may remember the last “Hive Dairy” where I expressed my excitement at the fact that I’d have honey very soon. That was back on June 27th!

Well mother nature and certainly Honeybees work in mysterious ways and can’t always be counted on to deliver the goods when you might predict they will. So (8) weeks later and we have confirmation that our Honeybees are in the Super and capping pure honey.

Mike, Ranch Foreman, came by to check the hive last week and said that almost half of our frames were drawn out with capped honey! This is great news. And I should have known as I was beginning to get very strong wafts of honey when near the hive recently – you literally can smell it.

So no predictions this time, it is just good to know that our bees are happy healthy and productive. Mike informed me that our hive was the most productive in the Lamorinda area. So perhaps we’ll get some jars of honey this season – PERHAPS!

Do you have a hive in the Lamorinda area? How is yours doing? Would be great to hear how other folks / apiarists are doing this season.

White House Honeybees

First ever honeybee hive is installed at the White House!

With the heated political environment these days, the last thing we wanted to do is go anywhere near the topic. But we did stumble upon one cool thing that does deserve some support and viewing. So Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and Greens, lets all put our differences aside for a few minutes and watch a video highlighting the White House honeybees and their hive. Certainly something we all can agree upon, the support of the honeybee population.

Watch it here!

Hey! Just in case you are a beer lover (Brand Foreman is) take a look at this video too.

White House beer!

Sweet Collaboration

The Bee Ranchers Assist Alameda Marketplace in Supporting the Local Alameda Honeybee Population.

Donna Layburn, Owner and Operator of Alameda Marketplace, is aware of and
concerned about the decline in honeybee populations across the country and
throughout the world. Being the proprietor of a grocery store that prides itself
on its selection of quality organic produce, she understands the importance of
honeybees and how their lives intertwine with and support ours.

It was by chance that a close friend of Mike Vigo also knew Donna, and was aware of her passion for locally sourced, sustainable, quality, natural produce and products. He made an intro and as they say, the rest is history. Mike and Donna immediately hit it off and it was clear The Bee Ranchers were capable of providing Alameda Natural Grocery with a great service that would benefit the local Alameda community and the local honeybees for years to come.

Over the past several months The Bee Ranchers have been setting up hives on the roof of the Marketplace, and at key properties throughout Alameda. And we are happy to report that the effort has been a smashing success! Mike Vigo states, “Alameda Marketplace’s hives have been our most productive hives to date. There is a lot for the honeybees to forage on over here!”

This is what Donna Layburn was hoping for; to strengthen, support and grow the local honeybee population. She’s also a big believer in the health benefits of honey, local honey in particular. Always looking to add high-quality and in-demand products to the store, Donna is also excited to be able to offer the fruits of the honeybee’s work. In the not too distant future, Alameda Marketplace will be selling it’s own brand of local honey on it’s shelves alongside all the others. Layburn states that is really the secondary benefit to the effort though. The more awareness she can bring to her customers and the Alameda community regarding the plight of the honeybee, the better. It is through her dedication to ranching honeybees locally that she hopes to inspire others.

The Bee Ranchers is very pleased to call the Alameda Marketplace a client and
applauds Donna Layburn’s drive to make a better world for honeybees.

Are you a fan of Alameda Marketplace? Tell us about it!

Hungry Honeybees

For those who have never seen a honeybee eat!

This short video was taken right after a harvest in the East Bay. There were a few drops of honey on a pan that Mike left out for the bees to eat up. And they definitely did. The most interesting part (IMHO) is watching them use their proboscis to lick/suck up the honey. Turns out there are a lot of critters out there that have them!!! Check out the link above.

Good buzzing audio on this too!


The Hive Diary / PART 4

Super Time!!!

Mike, Ranch Foreman, came by the house late last week to do a check-up and determined that it was time to add the next two components to our thriving hive. He placed on the Queen excluder and the first medium super or “honey super” (Anatomy of a Hive). It is the top box and thin metal sheet you see on the pic below.

Up to this point the hive has been primarily working to sustain itself through the development of comb, honey and brood. With the addition of the Queen excluder, the honeybees can now travel up into the “honey super” and begin to build comb and make honey. Excluding the Queen from this area means that no brood or larvae will develop just leaving pure comb and honey! Whoooooo-hoooooooo!!! So excited.

So two important things to think about that are coming up in the not too distant future:

FIRST  > What kind of extraction party do we want to have? After all, this is a very fun and interesting event for those who have never witnessed honey being extracted. Just family? Neighbors? Good friends? Kids from Preschool?

SECOND > What will we call our own honey and what will our label look like? Surely we’ll be passing honey out to friends, family, neighbors, business associates, and we’ll want to come up with our own unique name and label. So far I’m liking the name “PLAFAYEZ GOLD”. More on name and label for a later post.

Lots of exciting and sweet things right around the corner!