Predators and Pests

While I wouldn’t say I am perfectly comfortable tending a hive, I am getting more comfortable and confident that I can identify an issue if I come across one. Varroa mites are only one of those issues. We know that mites significantly reduce the health of a population and more so at this time of…

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Sometimes things go right and sometimes they go awry

On Wednesday, July 29th we pulled the honey off the Dow Gardens bee hives. We used fume boards to drive the bees down out of the honey supers. This was a much calmer approach than our method of blowing them out of the supers with a leaf blower – last year’s technique. We took our…

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The Hive Mind

Michigan State University recommends before you begin beekeeping, you should at minimum read a book, attend a seminar, be hands-on in a hive, and find a mentor. One of the best things a beginning beekeeper can do is to get a mentor. Work with someone with more experience and knowledge, asking questions, get experience dealing…

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Lessons Learned

The spring started out strong in the Whiting Forest hives. Lots of healthy bees. The novice in me thought that was incredible and we should have an easy season! Well it is incredible these days to have that kind of survival rate, but what I didn’t know were the ramifications of a strong hive coupled…

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Preventing the Swarm

The main challenge of every beekeeper is to keep their bees healthy and therefore have a better chance at colony survival (especially through the winter). A colony of bees is a super organism—an animal—and like all domesticated animals, honeybees rely on humans for well being and health.  Everything we do, with the exception of harvesting…

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A Garden for Pollinators

About 80-90% of the species in the plant Kingdom are flowering plants. This means that in order to reproduce effectively (exchange genetic information to keep populations strong), they must be pollinated and produce fruit and seeds. Most of these plants (~80%) require animals for pollination. Flower type, shape, color, odor, nectar, and structure all help…

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Strengthening your Hive

As we all work to just survive these trying times, we will all have days that are highs and lows. But we are like the honeybees, if we all work together (in our case staying apart), we can have a stronger ‘hive’ for it. There are a lot of things that can negatively impact a…

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What Do Beekeepers Do in Winter?

Bee hives in winter

After we hosted a seminar called “Is Beekeeping for Me?,” I have decided that yes indeed it is. There is a lot of work to do BEFORE spring comes to get ready to launch my own hive(s). That lead me to ask the question, ‘what do beekeepers do during the winter?’ There are three main…

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Honey Crystallization: Why Does it Happen and How to Use It Anyway?

Crystallized honey

If you have raw honey, from this season (or from previous seasons), it is possible/likely that at this point in the year, it is starting to crystallize. While I know how to temporarily ‘fix’ the problem, I wanted to know more about WHY it happened (scientist in me). I am lucky to have a good source of information – the beekeepers in the area, so I spoke with people who know and also referenced Google. I found a great bunch of articles online; one in particular that I felt gave a concise summary of why and how crystallization happens. From that, I gleaned the most important points for people to understand; I thought this was good information to share.

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Color Contrast: Light and Black as Night?

Honey in glass jars

So this has been a year of surprises, but I thought I was beyond the big ones now. As you will remember we harvested the majority of the honey from the hives at Whiting Forest the first week in September. We decided that there was still a lot of nice weather and blooming flowers so we put one honey super on each hive to see what would happen. 

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