DOW GARDENS' BEE BLOG

Naming Queen bees after someone you love is a risky game!

June 3, 2024

We have been in the habit of affectionately naming hives after ourselves or people we care about.  And although we were sad when we realized that queen Tyler died, we had a pretty good laugh about his inability to stand up to disease while queen Debbie thrived and produced honey for days!  Queen Debbie was so wonderful she overwintered strong,…

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Lonely Superorganism ISO Single (unmated) Lady

June 3, 2024

Now that’s a title for the press!  We’ve had a whirlwind spring and neither of us have found the time for writing a blog entry, but we sure have invested time in beekeeping!  Both the gardens’ hives and our personal apiaries are buzzing! Summarizing what has happened the past few weeks into interesting tidbits, is challenging. It is so much!…

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A Short Inspection and a Short Article

May 8, 2024

Spring of 2024 is one for the records books.  I am pretty sure all Michiganders notice the early spring and the exceptionally well-timed show mother nature is putting on with the crab apple blossoms right now!  Beekeepers know springs like these turn into adventures at every inspection.  Strong hives coming out of mild winters are more prone to swarming.  And…

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Don’t count your Yellow and Black Chickens before they emerge!

April 26, 2024

When last we left our valiant beekeepers, the season was ending with hope on the horizon. Mites were monitored closely through the year, European Foulbrood had been treated, two of the three hives had plentiful stores and some fall feeding had occurred. We know one hive did not survive. After weeks of hefting to check their stores and adding sugar…

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Hive Inspections and Honey Harvest Plans

July 10, 2023

When thinking of Michigan and weather, the words unpredictable and widely variable come to mind.  For 2023, we started with a mild winter, a wet spring, and a dry summer.  WNEM (local TV station) noted that we had the fifth longest drought on record, mid-May through mid-June. Someone’s rain dance worked and mother nature has blessed us with beautiful thunderstorms…

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Four Hives at the Orchard

July 5, 2023

Well, folks, it’s been an exciting year so far.  The Dow Gardens orchards started with 2 hives this spring with very mixed progress including one dying out from disease (read previous entries to understand that saga). Only the queen from that hive remains as she was added to a split we made. However, a peek at the hive stand would…

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The Importance of Closed Apiaries: Mitigating Disease Risks in Beekeeping

June 22, 2023

This is an important entry to read in an appropriate order!  Please understand why we are making such drastic decisions in the Whiting beeyard.  Our previous entry will walk you, reader, through noticing symptoms in our hives that were concerning during an inspection.  We went through extensive diagnostic work, research on bee disease, and lots of important conversations on what…

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What is wrong with my HIVE?

June 19, 2023

We mentioned that one of the hives at the Gardens had a VERY spotty brood pattern and we were concerned and watching it. After a few inspections, this hive was lagging behind and the brood pattern was not improving. We began to worry there might be a more serious issue. This is where having more than one hive comes in…

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Spring has Sprung in Michigan

May 31, 2023

2023 has brought a fresh start to the sister hives at Whiting, including a new location with more daylight.  We are happy with the location, and this year decided to invest in building a hive stand and improve the aesthetics of the location.  This week, we relied on our favorite carpenter, jack-of-all-trades Tyler, to help construct a stable and attractive…

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ISO: Better Bees and Better Ways

May 22, 2023

In an effort to improve bee genetics in our apiary and our technique, we spent last Friday playing hooky from work and experiencing another beekeeper’s apiary.  We hit the road on a busy spring Friday and headed downstate. We visited Mike Sautter, located in Romulus.  We pulled into the farm and were greeted by the friendly wave of a working…

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