Gretchen Bee Ranch
Gretchen Bee Ranch - Our Story
   
  We are Mark and Thiên Gretchen and together we operate the Gretchen Bee Ranch, headquartered in Guadalupe County, Texas. We place our hives on ranches and farms in Guadalupe, Gonzales and surrounding counties. With help from God, family, friends and millions of bees, we produce pure raw honey and other natural products from the hive. We enjoy providing products that are beneficial to others and we especially enjoy raising honeybees, which are so important to our world. Drop us a line if you ever want to “talk bees” – we always enjoy hearing your stories and sharing what we’ve learned with others.

In the Beginning…

I started keeping bees with my uncle in Burnet County, Texas in 1982. Using mostly borrowed equipment, we extracted our honey
 
Our first bee hive in the late summer. We learned that we had to extract our crop before the broomweed and sumac bloomed, because nectar from those flowers, while prized by the bees, produced a bitter tasting honey. We both read and memorized First Lessons in Beekeeping, the classic book for beginning beekeepers, and soon graduated
  to the more advanced reference classic, The Hive and the Honeybee.

In 1984 I joined a commercial outfit called Clifford Apiaries. Steve Clifford bred and sold queen bees to beekeepers throughout North America from his headquarters in Sour Lake, Texas.
 
 
 
 
Mark & Thiên Gretchen - Gretchen Bee Ranch
  I helped him and his crew in the large bee yard, which was placed in a clearing of pine trees. A novice, I was known for getting stung more than the others – once 26 times from a single hive that was known for its gentle behavior. We also spent many days capturing queen bees along the logging roads of the East Texas swamps. The queens were found in “mating nucs,” miniature beehives, really,  that shared the narrow dirt road with alligators, fearless snapping turtles and water moccasins. I spent evenings doctoring my wounds and reading Contemporary Queen Rearing and American Honey Plants.

After the queens were sold and shipped, we drove a large truckload of bees non-stop to Steve’s honey producing operation in Nipawin, Saskatchewan. Then we returned to Texas and did the same thing again. Those Texas bees thrived on the long Canadian days and the abundant fields of rapeseed. Hives there can grow to a monstrous size and produce hundreds of pounds of honey apiece. Dozens of migratory bee operations still exist today, despite the advent of Africanized bees and a host of other problems and bee diseases that weren’t around in 1982.

My uncle and I are older now, and he is not able to work the bees as he used to. But I call him often, not to talk of days past, but of our beekeeping glory days yet to come.
 
     
   
     
 
At the Gretchen Bee Ranch our first commitment is to provide you with fresh, healthy products from our bee hives and from the hives of other beekeepers that we know and trust. You can be assured that when you buy our honey, and other bee crafted products, you will
know exactly where they come from. All of our products are presented to you as purely as they come out of the hive. Nothing added, nothing taken away.

Our second commitment at the Gretchen Bee Ranch is to help replenish the bees that have disappeared from our area. Varroa mites, colony collapse disorder and small hive beetles are three of the adversaries that imperil bee hives today, and that have taken a serious toll on our world’s bee population. With 30% of our diet dependent on pollination, the problem is troubling.

At the Gretchen Bee Ranch we are taking steps to remedy this situation locally by strategically placing our bee yards where they can pollinate farms and native plants throughout the region. Unlike large migratory bee companies, our hives stay put throughout the year so that they can pollinate the crops and flowers that bloom in each season. The way we see it, our bees are adding beauty, color and abundance to the world around them.

By purchasing our products or sponsoring a bee hive, you are helping save honey bees as they work to make our world just a little sweeter.
 
 
 


   
  Gretchen Bee Ranch |  2745 W. Kingsbury, Seguin, TX 78155  |  Office: 830.305.7925     
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