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!
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.
Enjoy the spring and pray for more rain!!
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!