“Take Your Losses in the Fall”

October 21, 2021

This is a phrase I have been hearing all too often this year. The concept is, as you evaluate your hives for their preparation for winter, if you identify major issues, you have to decide whether or not to take drastic steps such as requeening so late in the fall. Is it worth it? Will the hive have time to…

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As Summer Winds Down

September 10, 2021

It has been a busy summer at Dow Gardens with programs being back in full swing. We have kept on top of our beekeeping, but I regret that we haven’t shared more of the journey on this blog. We have managed to maintain all 4 hives through the summer, however, the status and progress varies dramatically with each hive. This…

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What is all the BUZZZZ?

June 14, 2021

I am sure you all have times when it is so busy, that you don’t even know where to start. That is how I have felt with starting the season with a variety of hive situations. It is HARD to keep track of all of the details: If the hive didn’t make it, do we purchase bees or repopulate with…

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April 28, 2021

When I last reported in, we had one hive that was still hanging on (but not strong)…well, Elly stopped by and determined that we had lost the last hive too. She and her fearless volunteer, Alex, then ventured out the next day, on March 25th to clean the dead out and prepare the hive for a new population of bees…

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March 24, 2021

It is with sorrow that I share with you our loss of one of the Whiting Forest hives. It was just 3 weeks ago that we had two live hives, so as the weather started to turn warm, it was NOT a good sign that there wasn’t any activity outside of the hive. I don’t know if we will ever…

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It’s Getting Hot in Here

March 4, 2021

For the beekeeper, winter is filled with anxiety. Did I do everything I could to help them be ready for winter? Were the mites and other pests under control? Did we secure the hive well enough to protect from predators and cold? Do the bees have enough resources to make it through until the spring blooms? Often the answer to…

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Fall Season “2020 Style”

November 24, 2020

Last fall, preparing a hive for winter was new to me, but consisted of making sure the hive had been treated late fall for mites, stores of honey and pollen were plentiful, putting a mouse guard (made of ¼ inch hardware cloth) to prevent nesting invaders, and capping up the hive for the winter. Seemed simple enough. This year, like…

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Predators and Pests

September 14, 2020

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 year when the colony is…

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Sometimes things go right and sometimes they go awry

August 5, 2020

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 haul to Dan Keane’s honey…

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The Hive Mind

July 24, 2020

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 with the surprises that come…

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