Hive Sponsorship - (formally BEE LIVES MATTER) -  Update Oct 2019 - see below
check back here for updated info.  This page was updated Oct 18, 2019

Winter is coming:
We are winterizing and closing up the hives for the winter (Nov - Feb).  We are working the last two weeks of Oct to check the hives, treat if needed, and collapse the hives so that the queen and her keepers can stay warm and fed throughout the colder season.
At this time we will post classes if we have some warmer days for a week (over 60 degrees) however our regular classes will return sometime in the Spring - check back here in Jan.

Hive & Honey-box sponsorship opportunity - year 2020 - This is a sponsorship of an 8 frame hive, which we will place on the ranch - These bees are either establishe, a swarm or new packages.  Classes will be for beginners and 2+ year beekeepers. We will start with reconditioning the hive boxes in Jan/Feb and then installing bees after March 2020.    

Email: looseroosterranch@gmail.com for more info. 
You will take the box home to paint and bring it back within one week.  $225 for the year includes two free classes, and use of equipment, beekeepers suits and additional instruction as needed on designated bee workdays.  Also includes annual BBQ in the summer.

Beginning BEEKEEPING CLASSES  are now offered on Airbnb.com under Experiences in Discovery Bay/Brentwood.  This gives those that come from other towns the ability to work with bees and taste different types of honey.


Example of our Beginning beekeeping classes (to be offered again in Spring of 2020)


BEEKEEPING 101 - You will learn all about bees, the kinds of bees, how the hive works, tools, equipment, hive maintenance, At the end of the class you will be very familiar with beehive terms, feel more confident around them and be able to impress your friends, family and co-workers with your knowledge.  Live hive demonstration, and you will be able to work with us in the hive.   Please see the EventBright link for more details: here


Plus if you are really serious about beekeeping you can join the beehive sponsors and have your very own hive on the property!  This is especially great for those that cannot keep bees on their property, or don't have a lot of time to devote to beekeeping.  Everyone gets to participate as little or as much as they want and EVERYONE gets honey.


BEEKEEPING 201 - For 2+ year beekeepers. We will talk more in depth about disease, Colony collapse.  Perform hive inspections and go over splitting a hive.  If we have a hive to split we will demonstrate the splitting of the hive.  


HONEY EXTRACTION & BOTTLING 101 (usually we extract late July until mid Sept) It will depend on if honey is ready in the hives - when we perform hive inspections in May & June we can determine honey.  This class takes you into the hive, where you evaluate if the honey is ready.  If a frame is ready it is taken and extracted, filtered and then bottled.  You go home with an 8oz bottle of honey, or honey soap as supplies last.

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ALL SIGN UPS NEED TO BE VIA EVENTBRITE or Airbnb.  THERE WILL NOT BE ANY WALK INS OR SALE THE DAY OF.  We do this so we can have supplies ready and the proper equipment for you.  We like to keep the classes small so that each of you get an opportunity to work with the bees. 


If you have your own suit please bring it and let us know in advance - we have limited quantities and there may be another person on the wait list that can join!  Bee Kind.

BEE HIVE Sponsorship - Sponsor a whole hive or a part hive. RIGHT HERE AT THE RANCH


Sponsor a bee hive - whole bee hive is $225/$250 (2 sizes - 8 frame or 10 frame)

OR GROUP HIVE - contact us at looseroosterranch@gmail.com or call us at 925-308-7126

If you don't want a whole hive, but would like to be part of the action and get some honey:

Drone = $25

Worker bee = $50

Queen bee = $100 (1/2 hive) (can purchase multiple sides- ask for more details)


$225 - Adopt up to the whole 8 frame hive.  Whole hive is $225, which includes your basic 8 frame hive box, bees, honey box, instruction, invitation to beework days at the ranch, and use of equipment, tools etc, and all your extraction and bottling of your honey.  You will receive that value in honey when you extract!


Your name and art design you create on the hive and participate live or remotely

Work with members of a beekeeping club in your area.


For those that sponsor Queen Bee ($100) and over - Beekeeping 101 or 201, and Extraction & Bottling 101 are free classes.  Drones and worker bee sponsors can participate for $25.  That's a great value!!!


Price breakdown of what it costs to have your own hive and instruction.  You can see the savings. This is a $500 value for only $225:

1st box with frames and foundation  = $80 to $130

2nd box with frames and foundation  = $80 to $130

Total hive costs $190 to $260

Price of bees = $99 to $130

Classes like beekeeping 101 and harvesting are $45 to $150 each depending on where you go!  

Access to your hives on bee workdays - once a month at least 6x and personal instruction!

Use of suits and equipment!  Each suit costs us $100, and we clean & maintain the equipment and suits for free!

Extraction and equipment, bottling.  We provide the bottles and the use of extraction equipment, and we clean up!  You can always bring your own bottles, but you don't have to!

We guarantee you will get your amount in honey back.  We sell our honey for $1 an ounce, so you will get at least 225 ounces out of the hive.


I'm sure you are asking how we make money?  We are not going to make millions from this, but what we will do is ask that you share your knowledge and experiences and send us more future beekeepers!  We are more concerned about the environment at what bees do to help us.  We have our day jobs that provide resources to fund the ranch.  However we ask that you do not sell your honey, since that would go against the programs mission.



Program is to promote bees and education of beekeeping = also helps environment and you get your moneys worth in honey!


  • You get to decorate your own hive or participate in decorating the group hive
  • Join us live when we install the bees (annually in April) and come work with the bees on scheduled maintenance dates
  • We take video and have "facetime" available for those that are remote sponsors
  • learn all about beekeeping and the bees
  • Participate in honey extraction, bottling and take home a "share" of honey for you and your friends/family, annually in July & August
  • Help sustainable agriculture by promoting healthy bee hives through this program with us!
  • For only a small amount you get so much - education, hands on experience, and honey!  Use of equipment, practice, and guidance.


OVERVIEW of how we came to love bees:

The Loose Rooster Ranch is a woman owned business and, family managed and operated. At the Ranch we are focused on providing fresh seasonal vegetables, grown with the highest levels of care and love. – We consider ourselves an urban farm, surrounded by residences, in the East Bay, San Francisco Bay Area, California USA.


We are a small ranch of 4.75 acres. We strive to be a sustainable farm, growing a variety of produce for people to choose from. In addition to seasonal vegetables, there are about 70 chickens that allowed to free range. The chickens are in various stages of their life, some providing organic eggs and, some are sold to individuals.  


Many are our chickens who are our primary “natural pesticide” are found among the plants eating the bugs. We also compost the manure from the chickens and the six horses, and till it into the soil to give back the nutrients used to grow the vegetables. We are registered for organic certification and grow organic vegetables and harvest organic seeds.


With all that we grow, we need to ensure pollination is occurring. The highlight and, the most exciting aspect of the ranch, is our APIARY. The apiary, which consists of owner operated and managed bee hives. The bees are the focus of this program.

Looking back:


OUR PROJECT GOALS – Pilot in 2017 - 2018- SUCCESS!

  1. To promote and maintain the levels of bees supporting the ecosystem of southeastern Brentwood, and Discovery Bay areas.
  2. To educate the public on beekeeping practices, and promotion of bee gardens in residential areas as well as vacant fields.
  3. To produce quality local, raw honey & products that are available for direct sale to the public
  4. To create a long term program that is beneficial to the local area agriculture, providing experiences and education, and to allow participation from the public.
  5. To promote future beekeepers and belong to a beekeeping organization for participation and continued learning opportunities

OUR PROJECT SPECIFICATIONS - How it started as a Pilot

  • Maintain existing hives and hive equipment
  • Expand hives and colonies
  • Extract honey, honey comb, and pollen for private and public use
  • Utilize our skills & knowledge to enrich the general public, future beekeepers and hobbyists.
  • Honeybees are used to assist in pollination of the ranch crops and local crops. Approx 1/3 of our food comes from pollinating efforts of natures bees (and other insects/animals)
  • Produce and promote honeybee products for personal and public use

MILESTONES

Education and purchase of pilot hives complete

Our first step in 2017 was to learn about bees, and how to establish an apiary.  This included taking classes and practicing hive management on established hives.  Learning through reading, joining a local beekeeping associations (San Francisco Beekeepers Association and Mount Diablo Beekeepers Association) and, purchasing bees, equipment and establishing the first hive(s) at the property.


We observed 3 years of commercial bee hives (2015 - 2017) that were kept on the property: Currently there are about 60 hives on the ranch that are used for area crop pollination (orchards & almonds) in the late winter, early spring.  These bees are moved out to local farms, then returned to the ranch where they stay all summer, fall and early winter.  Even though these bees are not owned by the ranch, they are hives that can be observed and maintained for educational purposes as well.  Beekeepers at the ranch are able to observe when the owner maintain the hives and are able to learn different methods of care of the apiaries.

Establishment of owner owned hives on the property was also vital to the success of the pilot.  The milestone was reached when The Loose Rooster Ranch had a year of beehives, conducted live care, gained knowledge and was able to extract and sell honey at the farm stand.

Pilot hives complete - 2017

Establishment of 3 hives for the pilot program:

The Ranch established 3 hives from March 2017 to March 2018.  2 of the 3 hives perished due to Varroa mite infestation and maintenance fail.  3rd, “wild” hive survived, and is strong, with a double brood hive box.  The Ranch gained knowledge and practice over the year.  Learning from the failed hives, and under guidance from the beekeepers association as well as the commercial beekeepers:

  • 1st hive was a purchased pack of 15k and queen from San Francisco Bee and Pollen Co and installed
  • 2nd hive was an established colony that was transported out of a field 7 miles from ranch, and maintained
  • 3rd hive was owner’s first captured swarm and wild from Discovery Bay, wintered and is thriving with two brood deep hive boxes.

1st year education complete, now offered to new sponsors

During the pilot hives first year, the hives were used as an educational opportunity to the community.  The ranch beekeepers immersed themselves in the beekeepers world and, covered education where they were able to teach classes with live participation:


    1. Beekeeping 101 - basics
    2. Equipment basics (suit, tools, hives)
    3. How to install a queen into a new hive
    4. How to assemble (build) a new hive and its components
    5. How to maintain a hive; hive inspections, what to look for, cleaning, and pest maintenance (mites, ants, moth, mice/rodents), hive disease and colony collapse disorder.
    6. How to harvest (extraction)
    7. Packaging (weight, bottling, certification) and labeling requirements for sale, storage
    8. Honey creations: soap, lotion and wax products
    9. Pollen collection & sale
    10. Honey comb production, packaging & sale

The beekeepers of the ranch joined local beekeeping clubs and volunteered with these organizations.  Continuing goals include; gaining knowledge on beekeeping and methods used. Education to the public.

Program & Education - 2nd year completed (2018)

As always education does not stop after the initial year.  There is always a need to learn and participate to expand one's knowledge. In the second & third year of the program, attended North Carolina State Fair, also participate in educating the public at offsite events such as (but not limited to)

  • Agricultural programs and fairs for County and/or State of California
  • Future Farmers of America program and local schools
  • California beekeeping associations
  • Craft and vendor fairs
  • Corporations that support agriculture or bee industry (i.e. Google hives)
  • Participating in surveys as needed
  • Maintaining the ranch website, video, maintaining FAQ (frequently asked questions) page to answer questions from public

Purchase and installation of additional hives 2018 - number increased to 7 which 4 of the hives under sponsorship.

With experience firsthand, the Ranch beekeepers have found that the bee life cycle is volatile and not very long.  The rate of fail is 40% to 50% according to California Beekeepers.  According the University of Maryland survey, the rate of failure of a colony was 44% in 2016 (read more here).  Beekeepers have to continually replenish hives year after year to sustain the ecosystem.

The average cost to purchase a new queen and ten thousand bees (for one hive installation) is $120 - $150.  The bees are purchased from local area beekeepers that specialize in honeybees and/or queen rearing in the area.

  • During our 2nd year we have aligned with the local fire department and county services and we are on their public calls in regarding swarms and have the ability to capture more swarms
  • During our 2nd year we worked with local beekeeper associations (Mt Diablo Beekeepers & San Francisco Beekeepers Association) which include “splitting hives” and queen rearing.  We decided to continue with catching swarms, performing hive splits, purchasing new packages and maintaining current hives.
  • Hive boxes are maintained on an annual basis with a lifespan of 3 years on the box and 1.5 years on the frames. Replacing old items as needed to ensure the best for the bees.
  • Tools and equipment (Suits, hive tools, extraction and other components) have a longer term lifespan of 2 to 5 years, and will be purchased as needed. The ranch currently has equipment for use by the public and maintains that equipment for that purpose.

PUBLIC PROGRAM


Bee Lives Matter project - project to commence March 2019 

This Project is a way to be part of a growing interest in promoting and care of the honey bee.  To assist in maintaining the population of bees within the Brentwood/Discovery Bay area.  Expansion is not limited to this area.  At the start the program, hives will all be located at the “Ranch” - The Loose Rooster Ranch at 3280 Bixler Road, Brentwood, CA 94513.  Additional locations will be considered based upon County and Local regulations. Some areas have restrictions against apiaries so landowners have to be up to date on local and county laws. Ranch will install hives as requested as long as the condition and requirements are met.

It must be made clear that the first and most important purpose of this program is to expand and support the colonies of pollinating bees in the immediate area of Brentwood & Discovery Bay - for farming and agriculture purposes and, to promote pollination awareness and education to the Public.  Although the program is not tax deductible, and the participation in the program is completely voluntary, any proceeds or portions of the proceeds from the program, will go back into the program so that they are used to maintain the hives as best as possible.

The products that are made and consumed (honey and products) will be for the Public and Ranch consumption. There is an incentive to share.  Therefore:

The advantages and appeal to the Public are as follows, but not limited to: 

    1. Promote the honeybee as a pollinator.
    2. Encourage honeybee awareness and grant public access to beekeeping
    3. Participation: Remote participation or live participation
    4. Sponsorship of a “bee hive box”
    5. Establishment of public sponsors called “beehive warriors”
    6. Beehives will be decorated by a beehive warriors. Ranch beekeepers or volunteers will decorate hives for the Sponsors (if they are remote)
    7. Beehive warriors are those that have sponsored a “hive box” and they can choose to participate in live beekeeping, or learning as much or as little as they would like
    8. Beehive warriors hives’ on the Loose Rooster Ranch property for the program duration, or at the beginning of the program can choose another property (within the agreed maintenance area and according to County Codes).
    9. Beehive warriors will have remote access and/or live access to their ‘hive account’; documentation logs, pictures and video once a month, of the hive and can visit hives during ranch working hours.
    10. Beehive warriors can choose to participate in live honey harvest, bottling, and will have a % share of the honey extracted.
    11. Beehive warriors can extend their membership in year two, and/or sponsor more than one hive.
    12. Beehive warriors will be allowed to participate in activities - first come, first served, at the ranch including overnight and Airbnb opportunities         Ongoing Maintenance

The Loose Rooster Ranch maintenance program is to be tailored to the individual beehive warrior, based on their location (remote) or their participation level. The maintenance of the hives on the ranch will be maintained by the Ranch, however owners can participate live by making an appt with the ranch for a “visit” during working hours.

The sponsorship is for the “purchase “of a complete hive and the year of maintenance. The cost per hive is $225.  Included is one brood box of 8 frames with natural wax rite-cell. The frames are 9 ⅛ deep. The box will has a top and bottom, and a screen for summer.  There is an option of sponsoring a 10 frame box as well for $250.

Price includes maintenance of the bees and box for a year by the ranch. A year is either from installation of the bees or if a hive is captured, or split.

The ‘honey maker’ top box will be available to be installed by the Ranch when the ranch beekeeper has inspected and decided it is ready for honey making. The bees will be purchased by the Ranch and will be owned by the Ranch for the colony lifecycle. Note: if the colony does not survive the first year, bees can then be “rented” by the beehive warriors for the next consecutive years up to 3 years maximum.

Bee installation is usually in the month of April and will be communicated accordingly.


Maintenance will start two weeks after bees are installed.  Monthly maintenance will depend on weather, the hive size, hive numbers, honey maker top box, and time of year. (More details will be communicated to the beehive warriors during the program)

Hives are to be checked and serviced every two weeks once the weather is above 60 degrees during the day. (Usually March through Nov).  In winter - Dec - Feb hives are checked and maintained as necessary with as little invasion as possible to the wintering bee colonies.

The sponsor of the hive box, will sponsor for one year, with the ability to renew for an additional years.  If the hive survives into the second year, the sponsor will only pay for a flat fee of $50 which will be collected April 1st, of each year.  

If the hive does not survive the 2nd year, the owner can choose to “rent” new bees (that are purchased or bred from the ranch) at a discount of $95 per year.  The owner of the hive-box can rent bees up to the 3rd year.  

Hive boxes have a depreciated lifespan up to 3 years.  If a hive is damaged due to pests, weather or elements, the hive box will be replaced by the ranch in the first, second or 3rd year.  After the third year, the hive boxes will be re-purposed and if bees are still living they will be used to pollinate the local farms and orchards, and become part of the “pollination program” of the ranch.  In addition, some hives are strong in their second and third years and the beehive warrior may want to assist in hive splitting where there will be two colonies instead of only one. The Ranch will work with the beehive warrior to determine what is best for the colony if this should occur.

If the beehive warrior’s hives survive into the 3rd or 4th years, they should consider splitting or perhaps volunteering to education new beehive warriors – giving back to the community when they can!


Honey - Special section for honey.

Everyone loves honey! The bees produce honey, pollen and honeycomb.  There is usually a large honey flow between May and July in the area.  This means that there will be honey to extract.  The beehive warriors will be able to participate in this “production” as well as take a % of the honey that is produced by their hive.  The honey produced will be offered for sale.  However the sponsor will receive a percentage of honey!  The amount will be determined according to how much is produced by their hive. 

In a normal flow, a hive box (top box honey maker of an 8 frame) will produce an average of 2 to 3 gallons of honey, and about 250 oz. per hive.  Usually we will allow a couple of frames to remain in the hive to support the bees. We do not want to rob them especially as we get toward fall or if there is drought.  With that said, the yield would be 1.5 to 2.5 gallons. The beehive warrior will receive 25% of that yield.  This is a nice advantage to sponsoring the hive since honey is an amazing product!  If the hive sponsor doesn’t want all the honey, they can donate it back into the program to be used by the ranch to promote and put funding back into the program.

The Ranch requests from the beehive warrior to take the “bee oath”. This oath is for their % of honey produced, to be for their own consumption or as a gift. They may not sell their honey for profit!!! This is very important and we ask that the moto of “Don’t be Selfish” is adopted and ensured. The success of the program depends on it!


Initial Project, equipment detail and Program Expansion

The Loose Rooster Ranch will provide hive boxes that are purchased from distributor (Mann Lake), or personally made and assembled by the beehive warriors or beekeepers at the ranch.  The wood grade is premium and the frames are premium 9 ⅝” natural waxed rite-cell from Mann Lake.  The hive box must be painted to protect it from the elements and repainted as necessary.  The hive box will be offered for painting to upon sponsorship by the beehive warrior.  Exterior paint is to be used in any color except dark colors or black.  The beehive warrior will be given instructions on how to paint and shown examples of what to paint.


The beehive warrior will paint the hive boxes within 2 weeks of receipt or depending on time of year may need to expedite if necessary. Hive boxes need to be back to the Ranch a before the time of bee installation.  Loose Rooster Ranch provides paint (acrylic) and brushes to the sponsor.


The ranch will maintain 3 to 5 hives of its own.  In addition the “Bee Lives Matter” Project will offer sponsors the ability to have hives (up to 8 are planned).  Expansion of the program will only be after initial installment and assessment of sustainability of the 8 hives with first flow and after ranch beekeeper have evaluated to ensure the number is sustainable with current climate conditions.


The Project is now in its 3rd year and has been very successful!  Expansion of hives to surrounding areas and installation on private property to be made available as allowed.


Additional programs in year 2 & 3

The Loose Rooster Ranch will expand to include Airbnb experiences as one of its offerings for travelers to the area.  The experience will showcase bees and beekeeping and offer the overnight guest(s) the ability to learn about bees and beekeeping.

Beehive sponsors will be able to book a stay at the ranch as well in order to participate in hive events and maintenance.

Beehive warriors in their second and third year are encouraged to “give back” to the community and conduct a fun training, educational participation, join a local beekeeping organization or assist new beehive warriors.


WITH THAT SAID – WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Sign up today, and get started on this unique and exceptional experience. Become a sponsor and a beehive warrior today!

Prices:


8oz for $8

12oz for $12

16oz/1lb for $16

Harvesting our "Flow Hive"

We have bees.  We have hives.  We have 70+ hives, so about 80,000+ bees in those hives that live on the property.  Some are for commercial pollination for local orchards and crops and we specifically have 3 that are ours for honey making.  We make products from our hives - honey, soaps, lip balm, candles. Fresh, raw, local honey for sale.  Come by the farm and get yours!

The 3 hives have names:  Honey Hen, Angry Rooster, and Disco Bay Gold
We can point to the hive and show you where the bottle you purchased comes from.  

WE HAVE A  "FLOW HIVE"    This is called the Angry Rooster Hive.  It is the most interesting way to harvest honey.  I'll be posting pics and video of our install. CHECK OUR OUR FACEBOOK PAGE!!  Find us at @looseroost by searching in Facebook, or put in The Loose Rooster Ranch and you'll find us!

Bee Lives Matter.  This is a program where you can participate. Become a Beehive Warrior!  We want you to help save bees and we have a really cool, new way that you can get involved, even if you are miles away!  It has to do with propagating new hives, learning and having a 'share' of honey for you. . 

History:
We captured 2 swarms May (2017)  One from Brentwood - we call them the Angry Bee's since they had established themselves and didn't like being relocated. These are now residing in the Flow Hive.  The other was a calm swarm captured from Discovery Bay!  This hive is called the "Disco Bay Gold" hive.   Our first hive was purchased from SF Honey & Pollen Co, long time beekeepers. This hive is called "The Honey Hen" and we bottled our first honey for sale August 1, 2017 from this hive in the 8oz bottles.

We have those three hives in the front of the ranch, next to the fence, and they are busy pollinating any blooming thing. We sell our honey, pollen and honeycomb at the farm stand!   The honey produced on our ranch is completely localized honey for Discovery Bay, CA and the Southeast Brentwood community. It's your own local honey.  I can show you which hive your bottle came from.  Got allergies? well try this honey then!

CONTACT US IF YOU SEE A SWARM:
Call us if you see a swarm.  We can help capture and we will name the hive (you pick your name for the hive).  text 408-431-2273 or call 925-308-7126.  We can travel up to 60 miles around the Brentwood, CA area.  We can also serve Sunnyvale CA. (work)  

 

Member of The San Francisco Beekeepers Association see LINK 

Member and Director of Membership of the Mount Diablo Beekeepers Association  see LINK

Member of The Santa Clara Valley Beekeepers Guild see LINK