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Honey Bee Swarm Capture

In my last post, I wrote about it being the time of year when honeybees swarm. I thought I would add a subject source to my blog posts and that is documenting the work I do in rescuing, capturing, and saving honeybees. Once in a while, you may read about a honey bee swarm that lands somewhere that is not exactly welcome; for example, in someone’s roof eve, hanging off a deck rail, or up in a tree nearby a lot of heavy foot traffic.

I got a call from a concerned customer at the Korean Palace restaurant in San Jose, CA who detailed the plight of a particular swarm of honey bees about twelve feet off the ground that definitely needed rescuing. After securing the restaurant owner’s permission, I packed up my swarm capturing tools and headed on down to the Korean Palace. When I arrived, I met with both the owner and the concerned diner who showed me the location of the swarm. After surveying the situation, I set up my twelve foot ladder and went to work. It took about an hour to capture this hive and attract all the worker bees to the queen bee. I really appreciate the kind telephone call and the cooperation of the restaurant’s owner for helping save the honeybees. I relocated the honeybees to a new home in Almaden Valley where they are thriving, pollinating, and helping maintain a healthy eco-system.

Bee_Swarm_KoreaPalace_4-13-14

It’s Honeybee Swarming Season!

 

 

Honey Bees in my Plum Tree

Honey Bees in my Plum Tree

Why do #honeybees swarm? Because they are honeybees. Honeybees swarm for a number of different reasons, but the overwhelming most reliable reason why honeybees swarm is due to genetics. Genetics make honeybees swarm and it is also one of the primary ways that honeybees expand the population and genetic diversity of colonies in a geographic area. Honeybees can also swarm due to inhospitable living conditions such as, too crowded and not enough space, poor beekeeping skills (i.e. the beekeeper is new or not paying close enough attention), and pest infestation. Even though a swarm of honeybees looks very threatening, it is my experience that while honeybees are swarming, they pose little of no risk to people. Prior to an actual swarm, a pheromone based signal is given off, likely from the Queen, to prepare for swarming which causes many actions to start happening. Some of which are: scout bees go out and find a new suitable home and report back and the nurse bees build a queen-rearing honey-comb cell for a new future queen. Once the queen-rearing honeycomb cell is built, the existing senior queen deposits a fertilized egg inside. About twenty-eight days later a new and future queen bee emerges, soon thereafter, she takes a mating flight and the male bees all chase her, where I have read, a queen bee will mate with as many male bees as she can, sometimes over fifty!

Once the new and future queen returns from her mating flight, the existing senior queen has decided to leave, relinquishing the hive to the new and future queen. The senior queen already has made a crucial decision of where the next home will be and then she takes roughly 50% of the worker honeybees with her and by the tens of thousands, they take flight. Presto! You have a swarm of #honey #bees.

Over the next couple of weeks to two months, I will be out capturing honeybee swarms, where and when possible, I will post pictures of the little darlings wherever they land a give you all an update of honeybee hijinks.

Almaden Valley Farmers Market

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We are out selling delicious local honey at the Almaden Valley Farmers Market. Fellow farmer Hector, owner operator, of Hector’s Organic Farm in Salinas, CA grew this amazing 6 1/2 pound cauliflower. There are so many amazingly talented #organic farmers here l, but today Hector wins honorable mention for demonstrating that organic farming yields are plentiful for the consumer and gainful for the farmer.

Holiday Farmers Market

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Festive seasonal organic honey and jam. Spring honey tastes of fruit tree blossoms; summer honey tastes slightly spicy- very complex; fall honey tastes of fennel and anise almost like very mild licorice flavor. Jams are plum, persimmon,  fig, Mandarin marmalade,  several other flavors. Patrons are using words like delightful and delicious to describe their tasting experiences. Happy farmer.

Farmers Market Sunday

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Big day for our suburban farm.

Cambodian Green Giant Eggplant

This heirloom variety that we grew organically really lived up to it’s name. The beautiful green crown fades into a spotted white base- really stunning.
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The flavor of this eggplant was delicious and mild with a soft supple texture. I first saw this eggplant at the National Heirloom Expo and I purchased the seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. We will grow this eggplant again next year; its that good.

Food Warrior

Sun Lu-t'ang

Sun Lu-t’ang

I, Farmer Donald, am blessed to have the experiences associated with farming the land around my suburban home. I had motivation from many sources, but key sources of inspirations were family lineage, supporting the honey bees, feeding myself and my family healthy food right from the garden. In my personal quest to understand more about where my food comes from, how it was raised, how it interacts with my body, both in the short term and the long term, I have found maintaining clarity is very difficult. Food is personal.

My health is all that I have for without health; everything else in life becomes more and more challenging. I feel that it is imperative to arm myself with the latest information, protect myself and my family from industrial food companies, and defend my community from lies and deceit. It is difficult not to feel embattled from the many foodborne illness headlines, GMO produce, GMO meat, packaging contamination such as BPA in plastics, vitamins and supplements that work one day and the next week they are linked to a malady, and on and on it goes. Speaking as a farmer, I feel a certain energy and zeal when speaking about food, nutrition, and health; therefore, I am going to evolve this blog into discussions around health, diet, food, nutrition, recipes, and how-to guidelines. There are a lot of people doing similar things; however, I hope that I will inspire you, dear readers, to follow this blog, recommend this blog, like my posts, leave a supportive comment, and even visit the farm some day. In becoming a Food Warrior, I hope to enlighten and bring a bit perspective to the wide and diverse subjects around food; moreover, I hope to interact and learn from other bloggers and learn from the fine community of readers too. Lastly, while being a Food Warrior will be an evolving term, it is my goal to fight for enlightenment, peace, and a long healthful life for me, my family, and my community.

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