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BD Ranch in Wilton, California

Monday, December 8, 2014

Updating website, adding essential oils

Website management is a very time consuming process. While the website service we use is user friendly, it oh so very is s.l.o.w. Considering we are generally busy as bees, finding time to get onto the website and manage/update/add to it is a challenge. Please forgive us.

Our honey bees are hunkered down for the season. It's cold and wet (for that we are very thankful as this is California - hello drought!), so the girls aren't getting out as much these days. As for honey production, this was another challenging year since the availability of foragable plants was scarce. The drought and heat were definitely to blame for that. And this summer brought another challenge - yellow jackets. They were ridiculously abundant and we lost some hives to them. In one of our apiaries, we chose to remove the bees temporarily until the yellow jacket count was diminished.

We are looking forward to next year and have hope things will improve in the weather to aid the honey bees. And we will get a head start on those darn yellow jackets by placing traps sooner! 

Several months ago, Darla began researching natural remedies and came across essential oils. This has become her passion, her favorite thing to study, and she has began creating a variety of products using the oils. Please check out her page (see left side navigation bar) "Essential Oils & More" to read more about it.

2:24 am est 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring 2014
what a winter on the bees. We as human thought that it was great to have such a mild winter, but the bees didn't. It was shocking of how much we had to feed our bees, then come Janusary when we went onside the hive we saw very little bees and what was there was older bees. Going into last winter our queens layed the last of her eggs for girls to make it thru the winter and she shut down as she should. Well with the mild winter the bees didn't really huddle down because it was warm. So they matured and like bees do as they mature and become foragers. So they were flying to see what was out there and there was nothing so they worked themselves out and parished. So sometimes when we think things are great for us there could be some where or something else paying the price. 
2:02 am edt 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Harvest

We have harvested our honey! The bees are now on holiday, which just means that whatever honey they have from here on out is theirs to get them thru winter. Feed your bees to help them with their winter honey stores. This is just a bit of insurance to encourage a successful wintering, so you'll worry less about your little friends making it to spring.

The off-season for beekeepers is a great time to catch up on reading. Whether it's current affairs of bees or educational books, put your feet up and learn more about these marvelous insects. Next spring you'll understand them more, and you'll see better results in your beekeeping.

Also during the off-season, take the time to repair and properly store any equipment not in use.

8:08 pm edt 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hi Everyone,

Just thought it was about time to update our look and layout. I'm working on adding content to the Beekeeping page, so there are some helpful guides for newbies (and oldies, too). Laughing

The recent windy days have been rough on the bees, so you may notice them acting a bit strange while out of the hive. Hopefully the wind subsides really soon and they can comfortably forage.

Thanks for visiting our site!
2:22 pm edt 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The California State Fair is coming to a close and what a great time it was. No one got stung. I used a lot of young bees with frames of larva in observation hive. The first frame that everyone can see was mostly capped brood as so someone might get the chance to see a bee emerging. It was with great honors Darla and I hosted Alyssa Fine, the 2012 ABF Honey Queen. Once again it was great running around committing to so many educational opportunities. WOW what’s next?  Fog Willow. Fog Willow is a pumpkin patch that is targeting educating children and adults some or the great areas of agriculture. From Sept. 15th till October 30th bees will be on display for all to enjoy. What about the honey flow? Has anyone seen it or having a good year out there? I think that the constant winds that kick up every afternoon is hindering the honey flow. With one month to go I hope it turns into a sweet one.
1:02 am edt 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Spring has Sprung
Where is all the rain? Yes it's great to see things finally starting to grow, trees are in their bloom and pollen intake is up. Going out to three different sites today and opening hives I found lots of bees good weight when I tilted the hives checking for food supply. taking off a few tops I saw new comb being built and in drone size cells. What does all this mean to me. That swarming is going to start much sooner this spring. I'm thinking that splits are going to have to happen much sooner. When in doubt FEED the bees. That 1 on 1 sugar is what the bees will be using for wax building and energy throught the hive. Call or email if you have any questions
12:04 am est 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

WOW! What a great year we've had! Watching our daughter develop her personality, the news of expecting another blessing in June 2012, and a great year for the bees. Our hives came into the spring with minor losses from the winter. Of course, new challenges awaited us as we went into the honey season. Nothing we coundn't handle. We want to thank all of you who support our outreach programs by purchasing honey. We want to especially thank David Ogden who mentored me and paitently listened to me talk bees for endless hours in the truck, UC Davis staff for giving me wonderful opportunities, Soil Born Farm for allowing our bees to be bees, and Sacramento Food CO-OP for putting us on the self. I want to thank God for giving me a beautiful wife that did not always believe in the direction I was going, but stood beside me nonetheless. God Bless you all and may the New Year bring you much joy. 
12:00 am est 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Has it really been that long???
Wow! We haven't posted since June?! Sorry about that. I guess with the bees, the goats, more bees, the baby, and of course, more bees there hasn't been much time for website maintenance.

It was a great honey season; we had a great harvest this fall. Our honey is now available at the Sacramento Natural Food Co-Op at Alhambra & 'S' Street in downtown Sacramento.

We are really focused on buttoning up the hives for the winter, which means some special TLC right now. Checking for brood to make sure the queen is laying, treating for mites & nosema, making sure the bees have plenty of food in the center of the hives over the bees, making sure hive reducers are in place, checking the bottom screen board to make sure the bottom tray is in place.

We give thanks for the season we had and hope for a good season to come next year!
9:49 pm edt 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Where has the time gone???
It's June 2011, and we have been stepping and fetching around here! Between our seven month old daughter and working out at UC Davis bee biology lab, plus swarm and extraction calls, it's been crazy. Please check out this link to read a bit about Brian on the UC Davis website.

12:02 pm edt 

Friday, November 26, 2010

New addition to the family

We are proud and blessed to announce a new addition to our family, a baby girl Emily Ann.  Hence the delay in our blogs. 

Business-wise, we've been selling our local, raw, natural honey through Sheldon Feed & Supply located at 8928 Grantline Road in Elk Grove (previously the town of Sheldon).  Check out their Facebook page!

We here at BD Ranch & Apiary wish you all a very special Holiday Season!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

10:05 pm est 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Got Honey?
We recently harvested beautiful, golden, sweet, wildflower honey from our apiaries in Wilton, Elk Grove, and Rancho Cordova.  Currently we sell our honey through Robinson's Feed in Galt, Soil Born Farms in Rancho Cordova, and as requested personally by phone or email.  

If you are interested in buying our wildflower honey, please contact us at info@beesarelife.com.

~Brian & Darla
10:56 am edt 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Good Day Sacramento - - National Honey Month Kick-Off

This morning Brian kicked-off National Honey Month with Good Day Sacramento!  Please see the Photo Gallery to watch the video.

4:04 pm edt 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Is it here? Is it finally here? No, not the hot weather…the honey flow! For a lot of us here in the Central Valley it seems like it has taken quite some time for the honey flow to increase. Speaking to a beekeeper from the Bay Area this week, he mentioned a decrease in honey flow due to the extended spring season they have had. Yet, it looks like the foothills are right on schedule - I witnessed the blackberries in the Sierra foothills flowering just this past week.


There is no doubt that the bees are working hard each and every day. I observed the bees in my own apiary and have seen them working the flowers in the morning, going for water in the later parts of the afternoon, and then hanging out on their “front porch” in the evening. This clinging to the outside of the hive can be due to the colonies heavy population and overcrowding and high temperatures. I like to insure my hives are well ventilated. By adding honey supers, I am easing the overcrowded situation and giving the bees something to do in drawing the foundation in the frames. I would much rather have my bees inside working safely than just lounging around on the front entrance of the hive.


How about those Varroa mites? You know, those unwanted pests that live in the brood and on the adult bees? If using a bottom screen board, pull the plastic tray out and check it for mites. This will give you some idea of your Varroa mite condition. Of the many ways of treating for mites, I prefer using the powder sugar technique during the honey flow. Although this will not eliminate all the mites, it will assist in controlling their population. It has been my experience that not treating infestation of Varroa mites in some form or fashion increased the loss of my hives last year. There are many methods out there. Research, talk to your bee buddies, and you should be able to find a method that suits you and your bees well.


The hive is going to go through a lot of changes in the next couple months. Keeping up with it, asking questions, contacting your beekeeping mentors, and reading will give you a fuller experience in the joys of beekeeping.

4:50 pm edt 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Weather pending
What a season for Central California! A few days of warm, sunny weather and then it’s windy and overcast. To add a super, or not to add super; that is the question of many beekeepers as they need to stay attentive to their hive(s) for swarm prevention. Areas of great interest to me are ensuring that my queen has plenty of room for laying eggs and that the bees have plenty to eat during these difficult foraging days. Lots of energy is being used in the continuous building of the hive and for all the newborn brood.  I know my bees are doing their own thing now and are well on the way to becoming fully established. Now is a time that I can ask myself about my personal growth. How are my beekeeping and husbandry skills coming along? I continue to check my bees on a regular basis, but are my inspections becoming more efficient? Can I recognize bee demeanor faster and more accurately than I use to?  Getting stung less is always a great way of judging my skills!
1:45 am edt 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Observing and Hive Journaling
Each spring I find myself more and more being aware of the current weather and what weather lies ahead and asking myself, “what are my bees' needs to build out to become established and stay strong?” Thinking that we’re still on the cusp of the nectar flow, I’m constantly looking around to see if there is plenty of pollen and nectar for my foragers to gather. What amounts of pollen and nectar will be available come time the brood will be hatching, and is a pollen patty or continuous feeding in order?

Looking forward I continue to add my observations to my journal so I can easily see how my colony is likely going to change. Recording what I observe in the hive and knowing the cycle of the bee from the day the egg is laid helps assist me in forecasting what the colonies needs are going to be. My information not only helps me track the past, but assists me in preparing for the future and what material I will need to have on hand. Being able to review my notes gives me points of interest I might want to be reading up on to help me understand what am I seeing and what I might want to ask another beekeeper about.  In my first year I made a check list so I was reminded to look for characteristics.  Hive management is one of the major roles that has a learning curve.

Knowing the bees are constantly arranging the hive to meet their controlled atmosphere, I find it not so important that I actually see the queen verses seeing signs that my queen is actively contributing.
7:08 pm edt 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dear Friends and Fellow beekeepers,

With some of that warm weather February brought us it was great to see surviving bees out flying doing what honey bees do best, foraging. 

Sadly it made me think of the beekeepers I know that lost colonies.  What support can I offer to those who have lost all of there bees? “Stay With It.” 

It was a very rough season for all the bees last year. Of the many hives I lost I now know more about the challenges the bees are up against. I want to encourage others to pick up the super, clean up the frames, set it up and get ready to hear that wonderful buzzing sound again.

Though the year has just started, it has been a privilege and a learning experience to be the president of Sacramento Area Beekeepers Association.  The greatest reward is not only assisting in further development of the association, but the ability to work with and assist other beekeepers.

1:31 am est 

Friday, January 8, 2010

They're all here!
All the goat kids are born!  We have three sets of twins, two sets of triplets, and a single.  It's been an exciting week here at BD Ranch!
12:19 am est 

Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve

This last day of 2009 brought us two little bundles of joy!  Our nanny goat Pinto had her kids this morning!  There is one girl, Eve, and a boy, Moses.  Now we're anxiously awaiting the other five nannies to give birth within the next couple of days.

7:52 pm est 

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Getting there...
Welcome to the BD Ranch website, BeesAreLife.com!
We are adding content as we can, please visit again soon.
5:43 pm est 

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