It’s once again the one time of year you can order honeybee packages and full hives!
Each three-pound honeybee package is enough to start a new hive and includes approximately three frames of bees and a mated queen. Orders must be received by April 1, 2022. Packages must be pre-paid. All orders are final and nonrefundable. They will be available for pick-up in Potter Valley on April 9, and dates for delivery and installation are April 10 (Mendocino Coast), 11 and 12 (inland).
1 package: $185 each
2 or more packages: $165 each (only one contact person allowed)
1 complete hive: $465. Includes bees (we will install), two 10-frame boxes with frames (one deep and one shallow), top and bottom boards, an in-hive syrup feeder, and a hive tool.
Carson is available to deliver full hives and/or deliver and install packages for an extra fee. This includes either a 15-minute consultation/Q&A session or a 60-minute training including how and when to open your hive; how to find the queen; how to make sure the queen is laying eggs; how to identify larva vs. honey cells; how and when to check and treat for mites; and time for Q&A.
Everyone who places an order will receive package installation instructions and a disclaimer outlining our policies once the bees change hands. We will always try to do right by our customers, and we must also try to protect ourselves to the extent possible.
Carson is available for private, on-site visits throughout the year and can work with you on:
How to do mite counts and apply mite treatment
How and when to feed syrup and pollen
How to extract honey from established hives (not first-year hives)
How and when to split healthy, established hives into two or more new hives
Carson is collaborating with the Ukiah Natural Foods Co-Op to teach a series on beekeeping. Join us for Part I on Wednesday, August 16 at 6 pm. In this first class, Carson will provide a general introduction to beekeeping with plenty of time for Q&A. Subsequent classes will deal with timely issues: the winter class will explain how to start and care for a new hive, and the spring and summer classes will cover pest management, hive nutrition, and honey extraction.
We were going through our emergency kit – woefully outdated and filled with expired goods – and found this jar of honey. Check out that original label! The great news is, honey never expires. So we have been using this years-old honey with pride.
Carson and Bees was proud to participate in the 3rd Annual Farm to Table Benefit Dinner at Yokayo Ranch on June 13. Elizabeth partnered with Cerro Negro Strawberries and the Mendocino Grain Project to make strawberry shortcake (soaked in honey, of course). She was one of about two dozen chefs paired with local food producers, and the food was out of this world.
If you drive through California’s central valley in the next month, you will see and smell the incredible expanses of almond blooms. Carson & Bees is pollinating orchards in Williams, which helps the business and also helps the hives bulk up for the coming spring and summer honey-making season.
We are honored to announce that we are the proud recipients of a 2017 Good Farm Fund grant! We applied for and received funds to help us expand our business this year by buying new frames – this will enable us fill the empty boxes we own with bees to create new hives.
The Good Farm Fund, a project of North Coast Opportunities, is doing incredible work in the Lake and Mendocino County communities. They also throw excellent fundraiser dinners twice a year – once near Christmas and again in June – which are well worth attending.
Hello! Since last we wrote, Carson and Elizabeth got married (September 18, so lovely) and bought a house in Ukiah (woo!) which we’re remodeling. Most notably for the business, we recently expanded Carson & Bees with Beasty and Turbo.
Carson purchased Beasty at auction in April, an F-550 diesel truck that he converted to a flatbed this summer. He is one handy man.
If Beasty is the curmudgeonly uncle of the team, Turbo is the snappy new fella. He is a Hummerbee “Turbo Standard” forklift, also diesel, a specialty piece of machinery specifically designed for driving pallets of bees through almond and fruit orchards. Together they’re quite a pair, and perfectly compliment their skilled leader!
We’ve been at the Ukiah Farmers Market almost every week, so come say hello any Saturday from 9-12 if you’re in the area. It’s actually a pretty impressive winter market – even in January and February we’re getting all of our produce there, plus cheese, meat, prepared food, cool crafts, and consistently good live music!
When I’m not helping Carson run the “family business,” I work as the Community Outreach Coordinator at North Coast Opportunities in Ukiah. This week Carson and I are tackling the CalFresh Challenge, in which participants must eat for only $5 per person, per day, for five days. Follow along with us via a daily journal about the experience, which you can find here: Calfresh Challenge Journal.
Cascadian Farms is the organic branch of General Mills, which represents 3% of the company’s total sales. Although as a major food producer General Mills uses a lot of pesticide – which has been directly linked to declining pollinator populations – a new campaign started by the Cascadian Farm branch called “Bee Friendlier” is an encouraging step in the right direction.
Although the #1 thing you can do to help pollinators is plant flowers, they have to be organic! These days most everything is treated – often at the seed level – with pesticide. The pollen the bees gather is poisoned by the pesticide the plant’s seed was rolled in (or sprayed in the large warehouse nursery where it was born). The only surefire way to help and not further hinder pollinators is to plant seeds whose packaging clearly states that zero treatment has been applied.
It’s easy to demonize companies like General Mills for being huge food conglomerates that use pesticides, pay low wages, and destroy the land. But GM and companies like it are products of society, and they directly reflect consumer’s demands: Americans want abundant and cheap food, so the current food system is built accordingly. Now, however, we’re taking a collective pause to reexamine the implications of valuing cost over everything else, and there’s a slow but steady sea change happening.
This “bee friendlier” campaign is a part of that sea change. And so are we! Each of us decides what the system looks like based on where we spend our money. In Ukiah we’re blessed with a year-round farmers’ market, a socially conscious co-op, and a Friedman’s that carries organic seeds. If you could spend 10% of your food budget on local producers, plus a few dollars a year to plant organic flower seeds, you’ll make a bigger impact than you realize on the food system AND the health of your friendly backyard pollinators.