Rob Keller's Napa Valley Bee Company is a sustainable honeybee organization that recognizes the importance of strong genetics in our local indigenous bee. Breeding from survivor stock in our area is a way to solve some of the problems with European Honey Bees.
I want to let you know about a couple bee classes and events coming up that you, or someone you know, might be interested in:
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Urban Beekeeping with the Solar Living Institute in San Francisco
This Saturday, August 28th I am teaching an Urban Beekeeping class through the Solar Living Institute in San Francisco. We’ll cover all aspects -- or as much as we can in a day! -- of introductory beekeeping. Topics include how and where to get bees, sustainable hive management, and a little bee biology. This is a one-day class and I always look forward to it because of the fantastic location. My long time honey homeboy Michael Emery opens his beautiful Union Street flat to us for a full day of bees, art, and incredible views of the bay and Alcatraz. After all the bee talk and lunch in North Beach we finish the day with a hands-on hive inspection of Michael’s roof top hives.
In this introductory course, students will learn the basics associated with starting and managing a sustainable bee hive in an urban setting. Though a somewhat unlikely setting, cities are excellent environments for keeping bees if permitted by municipal code. This course will introduce students to the basic concepts and terminology associated with urban beekeeping, as well as the equipment necessary for keeping a successful hive. Students will learn what steps are necessary for establishing their own hive and ensuring its success over the ensuing beekeeping season. This course will be a mixture of lecture, discussion, and hands on.
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Beekeeping and Preserving Your Bounty with Michael Lauher
at Connolly Ranch
A little more on the local Napa front, Michael Lauher and I are starting our next class at Connolly Ranch, which will be a series of 4 Thursdays starting the 2nd of September. We’ve decided to mix it up slightly as far as conventional beekeeping classes go. One thing we have seen happening over the past few years is that to be successful at beekeeping one has to be a good gardener too, and the same for gardeners – they need too to have a clear understanding of honeybee husbandry. To get the most out of your garden it takes having healthy, productive bees in the immediate vicinity. Michael and I have been looking very closely at what our bees are pollinating and how we can best utilize their efforts. Last year for one of the beekeeping classes we had a canning and preserving night that was so popular we decided to up it a notch this season. The Connolly Ranch kitchen is perfect for large scale canning projects; last year we canned amazing peaches in honey, local pickles that were unreal, and canned tomatoes that my Italian mother cried over! So...this session we’ll offer a class in beekeeping where we will visit local beekeeper’s apiaries for group hive inspections, and double back on exactly what the bees are providing – local produce we can harvest and put up for later consumption. So, if you have hives that need attention or an orchard that is dropping fruit this might be the class for you.
Beekeeping and Preserving Your Bounty
People seem to be using any available land to grow vegetables, fruits, and keep bees. With all this food being grown in your own backyard, what are you doing with all that excess produce? The logical thing is to preserve the bounty for later use. This class will focus on beekeeping and zero emission honey production but will also cover canning and making preserves from locally grown fruits and vegetables. Get hands-on experience with bees, honey, and canning in Connelly Ranch Kitchen. 4 weeks
When it comes tobeekeeping, “what’s good for the Napa goose is good for the St. Helena gander”. Join Nimbus Arts and the St. Helena Montessori School when we open their amazing apiary for a series of classes to assist the up valley beeks with their hives. Starting September 28thfor four consecutive Tuesdays I’ll be hitting the north valley highways and byways visiting apiaries of students that want to make sure their bees are on track for successful over-wintering. Remember, September and October is the time your colonies are raising the bees that in-turn will be rearing the winter bees. The winter bees are vital to the hive during winter for a productive hive in the spring. Let’s catch any problems early while we can still remedy the situation before our bee hands are tied and there’s not much we can do later in the fall. My experience has been that primarily one of two things kill bees in the winter; the varroa mite, or small colonies that just don’t have the numbers to get them through the cold months. Both those things we will be able to clearly diagnose and address during this class.
Summer Hive Check-up Instructor: Rob Keller Wondering how your hives are doing? Want to see how other beekeepers in the valley are keeping their bees? Nimbus is scheduling apiary visits to Napa's top beekeepers. Don't wait until it's too late - have a hive check-up before fall, and learn from each other! This course will cover a fall hive inspection with a written record and photos of each student's apiary. We will cover wintering preparations and building stronger colonies going into winter and other suggestions. A great class for new and experienced beekeepers! $85
BEE-3 Teen/Adult | Tues, Sept 28 and Oct 5, 12 and 19, 6:30-8:30pm
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Solfest September 25 and 26th at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds Ukiah, Ca.
September 25 and 26th I will roll my world’s largest mobile honeybee observatory up to Ukiah for Solfest. Long before I started working for the Solar living Institute I heard about these unbelievable green festivals they held yearly in Hopland. Since that time thegreen gala has gotten far too big for SLI to hold at their compound and has had to move it to the much larger Redwood Empire Fairgrounds. Admittedly, this is my first year attending the celebration but if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it big. Solfest is the perfect venue for my converted 1966 26-foot Airstream showing off the secret life of bees -- by way of an 8 foot high two-sided observation hive. Seriously, if you haven’t seen the trailer yet do yourself a favor and hop on over to Ukiah and check this out for a day... or two. I’ll be there with my Apis posse Michael Lauher, my neighbor Dave with his balling tow vehicle, and my 6 year old beekeeping son Davis. Who knows...maybe even Jason Beeman will join us. We’ll be causing a ruckus, rocking the big silver bullet full of bees. I think I’m even meant to give a lil’ seminar for an hour sometime Sunday. Really, it’s all about me and my bees – oh, and keynote speaker R.F. Kennedy, Jr.! Drop by, say you read this and we’ll give you a beer.
As we move into the next decade we look for sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions to guide us into the future. At SolFest we bring together a world class selection of speakers and panelist to discuss both local and global issues.
Come and be a part of the change for a better world, discuss and share your ideas.