Take care of the bees and they will take care of you.
— Roberta’s grandfather
Hives Fit for a Queen
Our year starts around Mid-March, when we begin the process of splitting (taking excess bees from one hive to create a new “nucleous” colony). Without doing so, our hives would grow too populous for space available and would swarm out of their hives. This practice allows us to maintain a healthy amount of bees in each hive and create new hives that can either replace hives lost over the prior year, increase our numbers, or be available for sale.
The healthiest hives have queens that produce strong pheromones to communicate with her colony. During this “splitting” season we also review the health of our queens and make any replacements necessary.
We have a team of workers dedicated to raising queens that will be healthy and happy matriarchs of their new hives.
We believe the best way to care for our bees is to provide just enough care to mitigate the obstacles around them while allowing them to flourish as God intended.
Honey is sweet to humans, but is bees best food. Each Spring, we ensure our hives are filled with honey in their primary hive boxes, before we begin to gather any excess honey off for extraction. This allows our bees to receive the nutrients that are unique to honey, rather than using alternate feed sources at times when natural honey and pollens are readily available for the bees.
After the bees have worked hard throughout the Spring & Summer, we ensure our hives continue to be filled with honey and pollen, so they can prepare for the fall. Once October arrives, we prepare our hives for wintering in indoor temperature controlled facilities that allow our bees to “hibernate” much like bees in the wild used to. This allows our queens an opportunity to rest from laying eggs which in turn gives the hives time to be broodless which can help combat the varroa mite, and provides our team much needed time to rest from the busy season before heading into almond pollination.
The bees come out of hibernation in mid-January. The difference from their climate controlled “hibernation vacation” site to milder California winter days gives the hives a natural burst of energy. After making inaugural flights to cleanse and reorient to their new environment, the bees begin earnest preparations at growing their hives. The queen begins laying eggs again, nurse bees care for the fresh eggs and larva, and other bees busy themselves with cleaning and obtaining food for the colony. It’s during this time that we review how our hives overwintered and provide any pollen or food supplement they need if they are lacking natural resources.
Mid-February brings Valentine’s to the bees, as typically right around Valentine’s day, almond blossoms begin to bloom. Bees are critical to the production of almonds. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship for the bees, as typically, the bees will grow stronger during their time in pollination as they gather pollen and nectar from the almonds and ground forage. Within a month, the blooms will begin to fall and the bees are ready for their 2,000 mile journey to Texas to begin the year anew.
Our commitment to sweetening the world around us doesn’t stop at producing one of the world’s best natural sweeteners. We also strive to sweeten the world around us by donating 10% of our gross annual income to help others in need through donations to churches and charity organizations.
When CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) started making its appearance in the United States, we lost almost our entire operation. Thankfully, we were able to partner with some other beekeepers to begin rebuilding our company and were fortunate to meet some workers that were in the US on H-2A visas. These workers introduced our founders to people they knew in their home country that could benefit from having the opportunity to come to the US for a limited time to make money that could provide for their family in ways not possible in their own country. Since that time, our team has grown to include people from Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico and Nicaragua.