Ever wonder where we get our Honeybees?

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One of the most common questions we are asked is, “where do you get your bees?” Ours come from Olivarez Honey Bees or OHB in  Orland, California.  Orland is situated between Sacramento and Redding California on the I5.  The Olivarez family have been beekeeping for three generations and have a truly quality operation.  We have tried southern states honeybees and even local Michigan bees but have had the best experience with the...

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Spring Queen Inspection with Newbies

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This spring I had the pleasure of having my friend Dereck, and his 9 year old son Evan, join me for a queen inspection.  It is always fun to be able to show kids an active hive and see their eyes go wide as saucers when they are eye to eye with 30,000 – 50,000 honey bees! This inspection was to see if the queens I installed a few weeks ago were producing brood.  One of the things I look for is pollen being hauled into the hives.  This can...

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A Chilly Start to the Season!

Posted by in Honey Blog, Honeybees in Action, Natural Beekeeping | 2 comments

With beekeeping, you really never know what to expect!  Our honeybees did not fare very well over the winter and we had to replace nearly 80% of them this spring.  It was snowing on and off when I installed the relocated California girls in their new homes and released the queens.  It is amazing how adaptable this tropical insect can be. I am frequently asked how we get replacement honey bees.  We buy 3 pound packages of bees, complete with a...

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Ever See a Warre Hive?

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Keith and Laura in Clarkston recently called me to help get their new Warre hives ready for the season.  Having never seen a Warre style hive, I was curious and was glad to help.     Here are some images from my visit: This is an photo of the bees drawing out the top bars with wax comb.  Photo angle is from the bottom.  Bar pacing is similar to a Langstroth hive but but there are no frames or foundation.  It is amazing how fast the...

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Want to see what a dead hive looks like?

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2013-2014 was a rough winter on our honeybees.  December was decent but January through March was brutal on the girls.  Despite our best efforts to prep the hives for winter and leave them to over winter with 50 to 80 lbs of honey, my beekeeping friends (Ron, Glen and Paul) and I lost 50 to 100 percent of our hives.  What surprised me most was my strongest and healthiest hives died. I always try to figure out what happened by doing a through...

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Varroa Destructor

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Varroa mites feed on the internal fluids of honeybees.  Like other parasites in nature, they can weaken and vector diseases and can kill the hive off in less than a year.  These mites travel on honeybees and can spread diseases like deformed wing virus between bees and hives.  Most of the world honeybee populations are adversely affected by this parasite.  Hawaii, in 2007, was the last area in the US to become infected.

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