Green Gulch Farm

Restoration of Honeybee Nest Habitat
2014 to current
Muir Beach, CA

PROJECT BACKGROUND

Green Gulch Farm lies in a sheltered watershed close to the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by national park land. Due to its relatively isolated location, Green Gulch is an ideal candidate for a rewilding and preservation program for honeybees. As a certified organic farm located in a protected watershed, Green Gulch has abundant habitat for ideal honeybee shelter and forage.

Green Gulch Farm became a Honeybee sanctuary and refuge in 2014.

Aspects of the project include:

  • Rewilding principles are at the core of preservation and a wider apiculture program
  • The majority of hives are non-managed and consist of log hives and a crafted traditional hive within a living tree (the first in the U.S.).
  • Conventional hives with frames are a part of the overall system, but are linked to the wild populations and include protective bee-centric features.
  • The local bee population is the sole source for propagation
    Observation and monitoring generates data and resources for the documentation of the program
IMPACT

Before the GGF Honeybee Sanctuary & Reserve was created, it was common practice to source bees from outside of the watershed (often from commercial sources) to replace queens or populate empty hives after the death of previous populations.

The rewilding program has created a self-sustaining environment, in which local honeybee swarms have become the sole seed stock for the entire apiary operation. This has initiated an adaptation process of honeybees to local climate and forage conditions. It also created suitable conditions for health, vigor and for a rebalancing process with varroa and other non-apis symbionts.

GGF supports pollinator forage through the use of pollinator-friendly plantings and cover crops, as well as extending plant life cycles after harvest. The rewilding program is part of many educational tours at GGF, as some of the hives are located close to the garden and farm. The new apian framework provides an opportunity to observe and study the dynamics of the honeybees populations in undisturbed lifecycles and conditions.

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