I am writing this on October 3rd with rain coming down and a temp. of 44. I am in one of my favorite “cold time” spots - the little cabin back in our woods with a warm crackling fire. The only thing that would make it better would be some snow coming down.
A slow spring and flower bloom led to a fairly brief period of ideal weather in late June early July. But alas….cool very dry weather set in that slowed the nectar and the bees foraging activity. All of this has led to a reduced honey harvest this fall. The goldenrod and asters are long gone and bees are busy eating the groceries they set aside this summer. Fall feeding is in full swing.
The Marquette based Superior Beekeeping Club sponsored an extraction day here at my place. I clear all the tools out of my shop, fire up the wood stove to get the temp to 90 plus , set up 3 extractors and have a great day watching the honey flow. I always enjoy observing that moment that new beekeepers see “their” honey flowing out of the extractor for the 1st time. I still am awed by the sight after 30 plus years of that annual event. Most of the honey was darker than previous years…any thoughts on that? Drought??
Local clubs across the UP have been busy with sessions on overwintering. I did one for the Bay de Noc (Escanaba) Club last week. Isaac Behrens did 2 sessions for the Superior Bee Club at our extraction event. He did a great job. Hopefully it all pays off when we dig them out in the spring. Many thanks to Megan and others that have spread the word about mite control. We can do everything right but still lose our hives if we fail to control mites.
Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at email@example.com or www.upbees.weebly.com
A nice turnout for the party on June 22nd. Hive inspections, mite count demos, Hive House viewing, tours, potluck, mead and bee talk...what more could a bunch of beekeepers want!? It is always nice to relax with a group that has passion not only for our bees but also our environment. Our pollinators play an enormous role in keeping it all going - if only all people would do the same.
You can see all the pictures from the Bee Social here.
The bees are picking up after a very slow start. Less than 1/2 of the 65 days following the arrival of our bees in April were "fly days". It is very hard to build up for the July honey flow with that ratio. The flowers have been running about one to two weeks behind. Swarms have been slow but will pick up soon. Make sure you give them room (more supers) but be ready to capture them.
Remember that you can learn more about wildflowers and download your own document to track the bloom where you live on this page of the website.
State apiarist, Mike Hansen, state veterinarian, Susi Baer, and an inspector from Northern Lower Michigan, Zack, were here to pay a visit and go through my hives and take samples. This is part of the USDA Aphis Honey Bee Pests & Disease survey. When the results come in, I will let everyone know.
Just a reminder for the Club event on Saturday. All those interested are welcome. See below for information.
Sat June 22nd at 3pm,
Superior Beekeeping Club Summer Kick Off Party
DIRECTIONS TO JOEL'S
From the light in Harvey ( just a bit southeast of Marquette),
go 6 miles South on US 41 toward Escanaba. Turn right on
Kunde Road. Go 1/2 mi - you will see a big mailbox on the left
-turn right into the driveway. You will see an old cabin and barn
on your left- keep going up the drive to the house. You may have to park down by the old cabin or even on the road.
Joel & Mary Lantz 906-942-7106 or cell 231-349-3995
192 Kunde Rd.
We will have people doing guided hive inspections, you can get right up close to the action or stay on the side lines and observe. So bring your protective gear. We will have a mead tasting so feel free to bring your favorite mead or your own brew to share if you like. Tour the hive house, outdoor kitchen, and the writers cabin. We also will have a potluck so bring a dish to pass and your own table service, plates, cup, silverware. If you play an instrument or sing please come jam for the group.It has always been a really fun evening I look forward to seeing everyone. This is the must attend event of the year.
* FEED YOUR BEES
Since some of our packages arrived in mid-April we have had less than 1/2 as bee "fly days". The bees have not been able to make optimal use of the maple tree blossoms. Without consistent food available, our bees will have a rough time. Snow pile update(backwards) below.
*** Check the Superior Beekeeping Club page for upcoming events.
A great opportunity for those of us in real bear country to get some financial assistance for fencing. See below.
Prevent Bear Damage!
There is still time to get money for Bear Fences
Don't be like my dad, who lives deep in bear country, and didn't have a bear fence around his hives. He got hit twice this spring, and lost all of his overwintered hives If you live in bear country, you really should fence your hives. Yes, fences are expensive, but MDARD had provided Michigan Beekeepers with cost sharing to help cover the costs.
To apply and to get more information visit http://www.michiganbees.org/bears/
* Earth Day at the Co-op went well with lots of interest in the observation hive and the honey tasting. Superior Beekeeping Club VP John Robinson and I answered many bee questions and were able to "talk bees" for two hours. Thank-you Marquette Food Co-op for all of your support and highlighting the critical role of bees in our food chain.
** Our all UP Bee Conference went very well..yet again we were all sold out. Our speakers were great, with the keynote address by Mike Connor "Bees and Trees" setting the tone for a great day. Many thanks to our conference committee, chaired by Susan Payant joined by Michelle Landis, Isaac Brenhans, Lauri LaBumbard, and Barbie Dupras. I will let the slide show do the talking for the conference. https://youtu.be/hZaL_WKmAcA
*** Congratulations to our UP Beekeeper of the Year--
TOM NEBEL—UP BEEKEEPER OF THE YEAR-2018
Tom has been an active beekeeper for over 40 years. What he doesn’t know about bees probably is not worth knowing. He continues to practice his “art” and has been generous in mentoring new and “old” beekeepers. Tom lives with his wife Grace in Brampton, Michigan (near Escanaba). He currently has about 30 hives-- down from his peak of over 300. Tom makes a road trip every spring to lower Mi. or Wisconsin to pick up packages for those of us still shivering here in the Far North Country.
We all want to thank Tom for his lifetime commitment to bees and beekeeping
**** Some of our packages are in with more coming soon. Keep the 1 to 1 sugar syrup on them as long as they take it.
***** The bees are hauling in the pollen--from alders and some pussy willows--bright yellow. A few more "fly days" and the maple tree bloom would be nice. 23 degrees this morning doesn't help this come about. 😊
Marquette Food Co-op
April 17 at 5:18 PM · Our new “Save the Planet, Eat Organic” bags are in just in time for #EarthDay.
The MFC will donate $1 from each bag sold through April 30 to the Superior Beekeeping Club, a local organization providing education and resources to beekeepers in the U.P.
Join the club for a meet & greet at the Co-op from 11-1 on Earth Day, April 22.
* I recently returned from the MBA Conference in East Lansing. Always interesting when you get a few hundred "bee people" together. We raised $2,000 in an auction supporting an Eagle Scout bee project and other educational endeavors. We were entertained by a bee comedian and a rousing round of bee-jeopardy by Charlotte Hubbard. Megan Milbrath was the keynote speaker and did a
great job! Photos by Rich Wieske.
**The UP Beekeeping Conference is fast approaching--March 30th. We are filling up so get your registration in ASAP. For all the details go to--upbeekeepingconference.weebly.com
*** April 3rd -- Hiving Your Bees session--See the Superior Beekeeping Club Page for details.
**** I had to put on the snowshoes and dig down to pop the top on the bees--alive and well at least on this one.
***** Many people have asked to see what the snow has been like this year in the UP. It always depends on where you live. We have had over 200" so far, but my Keweenaw friends are going over 300" and in the southern UP "banana belt" around 100". Here is a link to my YouTube channel that shows our homestead in a 5 minute video. Pictures by my daughter Cassandra and I --all put together by daughter Natasha.
* Wow--190"+ for the season and still coming down. We are now under a blizzard warning. My bees are buried deep. I do know that "one" bee was alive last week as I saw it in the drive. Asked if my bees are alive, I say "ask me in mid march after I dig them out."
** A great turnout at the Escanaba beekeeping 101 session..92 beginning and some veteran beekeepers. A nice group to work with ..lots of questions and great enthusiasm. Many thanks to Jessica LaMarch and Bay college for being wonderful hosts.
*** The MBA conference is March 8 & 9 in at Michigan State University. More details at..http://www.michiganbees.org/?
**** The All UP Beekeeping Conference is March 30 at Northern Michigan University. Last year the conference was filled 2 weeks before it started..get registered early. More details at..upbeekeepingconference.weebly.com
***** Check the club page for the chance at a few more early bee packages.
Keeper of bees.