DOW GARDENS' BEE BLOG

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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Lessons Learned

July 13, 2020

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 with a really heavy nectar…

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Preventing the Swarm

May 11, 2020

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 honey, has the goal of…

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A Garden for Pollinators

April 16, 2020

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 draw in a plant’s appropriate…

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Strengthening your Hive

March 31, 2020

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 honeybee hive: pests and diseases…

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Bee hives in winter

What Do Beekeepers Do in Winter?

February 26, 2020

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 aspects of this: maintaining bee…

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Crystallized honey

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

January 10, 2020

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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