My mission with bees is simple, they come first. I don’t hustle my bees for honey, pollination, wax, propolis, royal jelly, pollen or publicity. I look after the bees, they are under tremendous environmental stress. I don’t medicate them, I let the bees build their own resistance. I breed queens responsibly from the strongest local stock I can isolate. I feel a strong sense of responsibility to not only my managed colonies but the feral population as well. I understand that they’re not “my bees” they are “our bees” and open mating affects all the bees in a three mile radius of all my apiaries. I do my best to keep any used comb or honey inaccessible to other bees in an effort to prevent spreading pathogens. I work with the bees not against them. I believe the backyard beekeeper will be the one that survives the species. I simply love bees!
Vision: Local Bees, Local People, Local Products
Beekeeping is first and foremost a study of place. What are the regional climate conditions? Are they warm or cool, wet or dry, coastal or continental? How about vegetation? What are the flowering plants in your area and when do they bloom? Do you live in a rural or urban environment? Importantly, will you be obtaining a bee stock which is disease-resistant and adapted to your area?
Our bee colonies originate from the wild bee population of Napa Valley, which are specifically conditioned to our environment. Although honeybees are not native to the American continent, the local bee stock is in part descended from bees brought to California during the time of the Gold Rush. Over a century and a half of natural selection has resulted in bees which successfully survive and reproduce in our area. These include various behavioral and hygienic traits which give them an advantage over bees imported from other localities. As bees everywhere are faced with a bewildering array of pests and diseases, we are constantly striving to cultivate bee stock which is healthy and not reliant on chemical treatments for survival. Artificial maintenance of the weak colonies only serves to weaken the bee population in general! As beekeepers, we have responsibility to manage not only our own bees, but the health of all bees in the area—both wild and managed colonies.
Like the bees of our area, we call Napa Valley home. We live and work in the community and are intimately acquainted with the micro-climates in the region. Whenever possible, we support local businesses in the purchase of supplies and services. NVBC works to educate the public and support community beekeeping practices which are safe and beneficial to the bee population at large. Instructional classes in hive management are periodically offered through Nimbus Arts and the Napa Adult School. Group tours and speaking engagements are available on request.
Healthy organic hive products are the fruits of the bees’ labor …and ours! Especially prized are regional honeys from localities around Napa Valley. Ever had a Carneros, Yountville, or St. Helena honey? As different as the wines produced in these regions, each honey exhibits its own unique character depending on the local forage and what is in bloom. Flavors run the gamut from delicate citrus and vanilla notes to robust hints of toffee and molasses. NVBC supplies honey to many top restaurants in the valley and maintains close relationships with “local-vore” chefs. Honey may come in the jar or comb, and may be light or dark depending on the season. If you suffer allergies, we offer unfiltered honeys with high pollen content—which may help to reduce their severity.
If we manage your hives, you will be able to sample honey from your own location—keeping in mind this is agricultural product availability and may vary by season. As well, you must leave some for the bees, as this is their key carbohydrate source! [More on management practices…]
Beeswax may be used for a variety of purposes, including candles, beauty products, soap, lip balms, and as a natural waterproofing and wood polishing material. All of our wax is 100% organic and produced in Napa Valley—as high quality as it gets—and processed into blocks for convenient use.
Propolis is a sap-like product collected by the bees to fill cracks and crannies in the hive. It is produced in new-growth tree buds and possesses natural antibiotic properties. Propolis may be finely ground and used as a tea or dissolved in grain alcohol for use as a tincture.