Insta-ranching!

The Bee Ranchers are now on Instagram!

IG_tbr

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

Hive Diary / PART 8

Gone but not forgotten

no_more_bees

Late last year we mentioned that Ranch Foreman Mike checked our hive and reported that it did not look like it was doing well. Unfortunately I have to report that the hive did not make it through the Winter and we are saddened!

This was a tough season for honeybees and beekeeping. Ours was not the only hive to be lost. Several of our clients lost hives. In some respects it is a bit of a head scratcher but it is also a reality. Not all hives thrive at the same intensity as others. Some of our hives that were booming right out of the gate in early Spring struggled during the cold season. Some of the ones that were looking suspect did great through Winter. Always hard to predict Mother Nature.

Our garden is just not the same as when they were around. They definitely brought a sense of energy and level of activity to our yard. They are truly missed.

Come mid-April we’ll start over again with a new batch of bees. We’ll be eagerly awaiting their arrival and will welcome them to our home!

How did your bees do this year? Drop us a line to let us know!

A happy client!

We are all about client service.

IMG_3382sm

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.

Sincere regards,

Chris Ettell

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.

Mike Vigo

 

BUZZing Real Estate Market

3 bedroom, 2 bath and backyard with really cool beehive!

IMG_1399

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.

IMG_1402

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.

IMG_1405

A very beautiful example of organic architecture.

Ever run into a natural beehive like this? We’d love to hear about it!

Hive Diary / PART 7

Hive #001 Down?

IMG_3835sm

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.

IMG_3851sm

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.

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!