Welcome to our blog!

The latest buzz from our apiaries.

Why Bees Swarm

Here in the West Michigan area where we live, honey bee swarming season begins in May and runs well into June.   Residents are often startled to find a large cluster of bees (can be as small as a softball or larger than a basketball!) hanging on a shrub or tree in...

What Is Raw Honey?

One of the most frequent questions we get asked by honey customers is: is your honey raw?  Interestingly enough, almost nobody asks us: what is raw honey?  Just for fun, for a while whenever somebody would ask if our honey was raw, I would answer by asking them what...

Small Scale Queen Rearing

Every beekeeper these days seems to be at least thinking about raising his or her own queens. That's a good thing, and really not an option if you intend to keep bees for the long haul. While mated queens can be readily purchased the entire beekeeping season from...

What Bees and Their Keepers Do in the Spring

Springtime is arguably the busiest time of the year for both the honey bee and the beekeeper. From the bees' perspective, the activity begins before Spring actually arrives. In late winter, as the days increase in length, the queen will resume laying eggs. Slowly at...

Hive Scales

Jonathan and his graduate students at Grand Valley State University have been working with the Bee Informed Partnership to automate the monitoring of live honeybee colonies via electronic sensor platforms. In particular we are interested in automatically capturing the...

What Bees Do in the Winter

We often get asked “what do your bees do in the winter?”.  Given the rather brutal winters we experience here in the West Michigan area, these questions are often prompted by concern for the bees’ welfare.  The quick answer to the question is that bees eat lots of...

Tutorial (4) – Buying Bees

Our previous article provided some guidance on the essential equipment you will need to keep bees. Now it’s time to talk about the bees themselves. As a new beekeeper you have a number of options available to you when it comes to getting honeybees for your new hive....

Tutorial (3): Beekeeping Equipment

There is no end to the various types of beekeeping you can purchase for your beekeeping hobby.  Beekeepers are constantly inventing new gadgets to simplify beekeeping, and the bee supply companies are more than happy to peddle them.  In this article we will take a...

Honey For Your Holidays!

Whether you are looking for stocking stuffers or putting together your own homemade gift baskets, we have a variety of all natural hive products that your more discerning loved ones will be sure to appreciate during this Christmas season. Do your favorite holiday...

Super Crazy Bees!

Beekeepers, like bees, tend to have a language of their own. To the non-beekeeper, or newbee, the technical jargon beekeepers use can become rather confusing. The other day when speaking to a non-beekeeper, I casually mentioned we were out the day before "supering"...

Wrong Hive!

This past Saturday I was reminded once again on how fragile the world we live in is, and in particular, how quickly things can go wrong in the apiary. I had just cracked open the cover on the last hive I intended to split in our home apiary. It was a robust Italian...

Spring = Busy Bees

Spring time is the busiest time of the year for beekeepers here in Michigan. Beginning in March we go through our apiaries and cleanup any dead outs (e.g. hives that didn't make it through the winter.) Once again, we were fortunate this year in that we only lost...

Cabin Fever

Winter was late in coming this year, but once it arrived you couldn't miss it!   This morning I was reading the weather outlook in the Michigan Farm News (written by Jeff Andressen the meteorologist with the MSU Extension) and if they have it right, the recent upper...

It’s a Drones Life!

Winter was long in coming here in W. Michigan. We still had some very temperate sunny afternoons in November. On one of those afternoons I visited one of our apiaries to see how the bees were faring. There were a few bees flying, gathering water from a nearby low spot...

Swarm Craziness

Swarming season is in full swing here in W. Michigan. Friday morning while working in our own apiary I witnessed a couple of swarms taking off, even though our colonies have all been split. Some have been split into three, but that didn't stop those old queens from...

Beautiful Day in the Apiary!

Today we had a unseasonably warm spring day, so we headed over to our bee yards to see how they were doing.   We were able to check for laying queens and making sure each colony has enough stores to get them through the next 4-5 weeks.  The bees were taking advantage...