At Resources for Reading we're contributing to a greener world. The staff at Resources for Reading has expanded to include approximately 250,000 honey bees!
In addition to our solar panels on the roof, and our hybrid car, Diane keeps 5 beehives behind our warehouse building, and we collect more than 300 pounds of all-natural honey each year. Our bees are raised without any chemicals, and the honey is processed completely naturally by hand cranking, without heating or filtering.
You can see our beehives in the lower right corner of this Google satellite picture of our warehouse (the white boxes in the lower right corner, in the shadow of our building with the solar panels).
Bees are a critical part of nature for people to survive. Without pollinators to make the plants that are our food grow, there would be widespread hunger.
Our bees get their nectar and pollen for making their honey from wildflowers near the San Francisco Bay, and flowers planted in gardens in nearby residential areas and office parks. Bees will fly 3-5 miles looking for food.
You may have seen stories in the news about "Colony Collapse Disorder", which is a very serious problem causing very many beekeepers to lose hives for reasons which are still not understood. We lost 100% of our hives in 2006, and our four current hives are all new starting in 2007.
Bees in our country have been under stress from many new pests and diseases introduced from abroad. The best defense for keeping a healthy supply of bees for our agriculture is genetic diversity and small beekeepers us help by raising different kinds of bees, so there is a better chance of some of them being resistant to pests that attack bees.
Honey Bees have been raised by people for thousands of year. There are pictures of beekeeping in ancient Egyptian texts. In general, they are gentle and will not attack people unless their hive is disturbed. Diane works the bees without gloves. Basically as long as you don't injure any bees, and work slowly and carefully, the bees will not even notice you are there. If a bee is injured, it makes a special scent in the air that is the signal to become defensive. (Bananas smell very much like that alarm scent, so don't eat bananas near a bee hive!)
Bees are very different from Wasps. A Bee is a vegetarian and she will die if she stings. So she really doesn't want to sting anyone unless her home is in danger. A Wasp eats meat, and can sting over and over. It is Wasps and not bees that are likely to disturb your picnic. Wasps are very aggressive.
In some parts of the south where it is warm, there are problems with Africanized bees which are very aggressive. But it is the bee keepers who care for our domestic hives that are the defense. If we find a hive becoming aggressive, the beekeeper changes the Queen Bee and then the hive will become gentle again.
We do have a limited amount of our local honey from our own bees for sale. If you are interested, please call (800) 278-7323 and ask for Diane. We are proud that our honey won the First Prize Blue Ribbon and the Second Prize Red Ribbon at the San Mateo County Fair in 2008, 2009, and 2010!
Diane and Eric are both members of the Beekeepers Guild of San Mateo County, and Diane is current President of the Guild.