You Never Can Tell with Bees

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Sometimes things just don't work out. Take the time I wanted to build a hovercraft from a lawnmower. Or the time that a 6th grader convinced me that if I sang Pink Floyd's “Another Brick in the Wall” for the entire school bus on our ride home that his dad who worked at a radio station would record it and play it on the air. I was destined to be a star.

A few months ago I felt similar disappointment when farmer Torrey Olsen of Gabriel Farm in Sebastopol, CA told us that the bees the FruitGuys FarmSteward program donated to help with pollination had vacated the hive. “It looks like the bees were getting too cold and they left the hive,” said Torrey, adding that, “it happens sometimes." Torrey called his friends at BeeKind, (the company from whom we purchased the bees) and luckily they have a guarantee on their bee installations (who would have known). They were to bring new bees this week.

But in a Winnie The Pooh development, last week a giant wild swarm of bees began to gather in the pine tree by Torrey's driveway. “When they first swarm it's a big cloud of bees,” he said. “Then they settle down and start balling up around the queen - kind of like the Winnie The Pooh book where there’s this big basketball shape of bees hanging from a branch in a tree. So at that point I decided to try and coax them into the now empty hive boxes. I ran and put a pallet under the tree and set a box on top hoping they might find it and say, ”˜oh well, let's just move into this box,’ since they usually look for protection. The branch was about six feet high and really flexible so with my able-bodied assistant Lucy (Torrey's wife) and me decked out in my beekeeper suit and the smoker, I tried to reach up, bend the branch down, and scrape them into the box. I soon realized that they were too embedded in the pine needles and could only get a few so I brought out the saw, cut off the branch and put it in the box for about an hour. The bees moved right in and now are doing quite well.”

Torrey says it’s a big apple year and the bees are already exhausted. Sometimes things that don't work out can work out anyway. Such is life. Learn more about our FarmSteward program here.

Whether you are West Coast, Mid-West or East Coast, you can see exactly what's in your box on our In the Mix page. Any questions? Email us at or call us at 1-877-FRUIT-ME.
Enjoy and be fruitful!

- Chris Mittelstaedt


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Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.