DOW GARDENS' BEE BLOG

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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Honey in glass jars

Color Contrast: Light and Black as Night?

October 23, 2019

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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Drone bees being evicted from hive

Get out!

October 15, 2019

I am a little behind as fall has been really busy at the Gardens, but I have one crazy thing to share! We went into the hives on September 18th. It wasn’t really feeling much like fall yet, but the bees knew!

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Bee Keeper inspecting hive

Love Hurts

September 19, 2019

So this is a tough edition to write, as I am still sore, literally and figuratively from being stung at the hive this week. Elly and I decided this might be a good opportunity to discuss times and situations when you should NOT go into your hives

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Glass jars of honey

Liquid Gold

September 9, 2019

WOW! This week I had my mind blown by the process of removing honey from the hives. I will say I had never seen this process in action and had NO IDEA what I was in for. As mentioned in the last edition, the hives were bursting with honey and frankly, we were out of new supers to put on the hives.

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Bee hives at Whiting Forest

Oh, Honey, Honey

August 27, 2019

These past two weeks, we headed into the hive with the primary goal of checking their available space. We have been seeing an exciting level of honey flow and have added supers again and again. We want to avoid having a HONEYBOUND hive. What is honeybound? Well, as I have learned through this process, a healthy hive must have ample space maintained for the queen to keep producing new bees (brood) in the lower two boxes of the hive. This is the reason we check and treat for mites and inspect for diversity in the age of the brood (eggs and larvae) – all to keep the colony healthy and confident in their queen.

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