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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Another year, another heartache.

May 10, 2023

Unfortunately, one thing a beekeeper learns to weather is a season of heartache.  I know personally I (Elly) get so invested in my bees and have become over confident in my ability to overwinter bees that when I have a season that’s less than great, I feel it!  It’s not just the blow to my ego, but also the general…

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Pollen: The Hidden World of Flowers 

August 11, 2022

Everyone appreciates the world’s pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, and more, but when it comes down to giving pollen itself credit, we often fall short. This summer, high school students and recent graduates in the Midland area are taking part in the Michigan State University St. Andrews Research Internship. These students are gaining an interesting insight into the innerworkings of…

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Thrips: The Insects Hidden Within Dow Gardens

August 4, 2022

While walking through the winding paths of Dow Gardens, we, the interns from Michigan State University (MSU) St. Andrews research facility, were determined to find and record the wide diversity of pollen that surrounded us. What we didn’t realize when collecting samples, however, was that there was a hitchhiker we often brought with us. When examining the flowers we collected,…

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After Work Adventures in Beekeeping

July 1, 2022

Usually our bee blog follows the escapades of the honey bees of Dow Gardens and their beekeepers. This edition, however, is brought on by a rare opportunity provided by social media. We see it all of the time, people trying to figure out how to co-exist with ‘creatures’ great and small. Of late, there have been NUMEROUS bear sightings in…

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