Earlier this spring, we were happy to introduce the newest Owen Roe employees/residents to the Union Gap Vineyard…a hive of Honey Bees! On April 6th, 2014 Lisa Montgomery, beekeeper and resident of the Yakima Valley, established our hive just below the manor house that overlooks our estate vineyard, Union Gap.
Our colony is made up of Italian Bees. During the first couple months, Montgomery visited the hive every ten days to check in on our bees to make sure that they are thriving and taking to their queen.
The Queen is in a protective sugar cap when placed in the Hive, as seen in the pic below. This allows the colony to work at eating the cap to free their new Queen, and thus allow them to get acquainted with her beforehand. Doing this has a greater success of the colony accepting the new Queen, rather than just placing her in the Hive.
We decided to welcome the Bees into our estate property for many reasons. For one, our property is not a monoculture of vineyard; we have cherry trees growing on the property as well. Introducing Bees to the property would allow us to practice the utmost in sustainable farming by creating a diverse and self-sustaining ecosystem. We chose to keep our own hive rather than rely on migrating hives to further reduce disease and pests brought from migrating hives that often travel the country and are exposed to such conditions in other farms. Our happy little bees work at pollinating the agriculture, in addition to providing honey.
Photo credit: François Dereeper