Just updated the wildflower gallery. I have certainly been a bit slow with this. I am watching 5" of heavy snow blow around..should melt away soon. Maple sap season has been very erratic..it started early while I was in Tennessee. Made 2 gallons of syrup and nothing since. New bees coming in mid-April and I have a lot to do to get ready.
I couldn't get this picture to go in the post yesterday. It has been very cold here for the last three weeks, but not much snow. Our normal at this time is about 130"..this year only about 80". There are UP areas that have really been hit in the last 1 1/2 weeks with 2-5' of snow..yikes! Normally these hives would be buried.
It’s been a while!! I last posted back in May of 2020 which seems like a lifetime has passed since then. So many normal beekeeping activities have not happened….club activities, group extractions, classes, planning sessions, and conferences. Beekeepers tend to be pretty hands on people and on-line activities are just not the same. That said, we should try for the next best option, which revolves around zoom type activities.
It appears the Michigan Beekeepers Association has put together a virtual conference on March 3rd-6th. It looks like they have put together an impressive lineup of speakers. Some have been here at our UP conferences in the past..Charlotte Hubbard, Meghan Milbrath, Anna Heck, and Rich Wiske.
Just in from Michelle at the Superior Beekeeping Club
Superior Beekeeping Club
Ok this is first come first serve. Due to the cancellation of the Upper Peninsula Beekeeping Conference in 2020 and the lack of a 2021 Conference. The Superior Beekeeping Club has paid for a limited amount of seats at the Virtual Michigan Beekeeping Association Conference. https://www.michiganbees.org/spring-conference/
Please PM me to receive a code for registration. This opportunity is for members of an Upper Peninsula based club.
I will be working a midnight tonight and will have the opportunity to respond through out the night. So please feel free to message at anytime. But still be patient it may still take several hours for me to respond.
*This certainly has been an unusual UP winter to this point. We have about 75” of snow so far, but should have 120 in a normal year. My hives are usually buried at this time and are now exposed to 10-15 below 0 in the morning and a high of around 7 during the day. How come we never get the perfect winter, spring, summer, or fall ??
*I recently made a quick video on making simple beeswax candles for my grandson and his friends in Tennessee. Check it out here if you have an interest….https://youtu.be/Brza4NVGdLg *I just finished a longer term project that those of you that have been here and have seen the old 1870’s log cabin here on the property, might like to see. It has a few issues, but you will get the gist…nothing to do with beekeeping..a historical video. https://youtu.be/bwlt4UjgQng
What a crazy spring in more ways than one. Seven of the 1st 9 days of May have had us with morning temperatures in the low 20's. So much for our bees coming 2 weeks later than normal and all of us expecting balmy weather. No real warm up(50's) coming until Wednesday. My bees may miss out on the maple tree blossoms altogether..keep feeding your bees!
With local clubs not meeting, MSU, Meghan and Ana have stepped up to produce some informative beekeeping resources..see https://pollinators.msu.edu/resources/beekeepers/
May in the North Country:
Good morning all,
Please check out the following zoom webinars hosted by Michigan State University. With local meeting not happening at this time, the one tonight on hiving packages would be especially helpful to new beekeepers.
All of you please take care of yourselves and also prepare for the "coming of the bees."
First-Year Colonies: What to Do When the Bees Arrive
Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 at 7pm EST
You may join the Zoom webinar online (recommended so you can see images) at https://msu.zoom.us/j/120541110 or via phone: +1-312-626-6799 (Webinar ID: 120-541-110).
This webinar is intended for first-year beekeepers.
Supplemental materials: video on purchasing bees, video on installing a nuc, and video on installing a package
Established Colonies: Early-Season Management
Thursday, April 2nd, 2020 at 7pm EST
You may join the Zoom webinar online (recommended so you can see images) at https://msu.zoom.us/j/648413775 or via phone: +1 -312-626-6799 (Webinar ID: 648-413-775).
This webinar is intended for beekeepers with overwintered colonies.
Supplemental material: MSU Bee Blog (subscribe for updates)
Established Colonies: Preparing for Swarm Season
Monday, April 6th, 2020 at 7pm EST
You may join the Zoom webinar online (recommended so you can see images) at https://msu.zoom.us/j/343539256 or via phone: +1-312-626-6799 (Webinar ID: 343-539-256).
This webinar is intended for beekeepers with overwintered colonies.
Supplemental material: Swarms: the biology and control of swarms in northern states article
The following is primarily from my Michigan Bee Association UP report:
* Today is March 20th and and our bees still have 2 feet of snow on the ground and winter storm today.
Click here for a printable Michigan Beekeeper's Association (MBA) membership form.
Click here for a list of MBA benefits.
Sorry to have had to cancel the UP Beekeeping Conference. Following is our official response.
The third annual Upper Peninsula Beekeeping Conference has been cancelled. The event was scheduled for March 28, 2020, at Northern Michigan University’s Seaborg Mathematics and Science Center. Organizers from the Superior Beekeeping Club and partners at NMU have cancelled the event due to concerns about COVID-19/coronavirus and the health and welfare of those registered for and involved with the event. Refunds will be issued to those who have registered for the event. This conference will not be rescheduled. Follow the Superior Beekeeping Club’s Facebook page or check the club’s website (http://superiorbeekeepingclub.weebly.com) for info about future activities.
NOTES FROM THE FAR NORTH
January 1, 2020
The following is a modification of what I submitted to the Michigan Beekeepers Association for their January newsletter. Have a wonderful new year.
*Again, I am writing this back in the “woods cabin.” I have a warm fire with a lot of snow coming down….a great spot for a bit of reflection.
* Winter came early for us this year over 60” by December 20th, followed by a warm up over Christmas but snowing hard today (Dec. 30). There still is over 1 ½ feet of snow on the ground.
*The hives are tucked in till at least March – no digging them out now. There were some fall losses in the area…. I think maybe more mite and virus issues.
*While gone for 10 days in Oct., I came home to several dead hives. These were healthy treated hives – I suspect they got in to something. This would be unusual for fall but not unheard of. This is the 1st time in over 30 years I have lost bees in the fall…very discouraging to say the least.
*On a more positive note, the UP clubs have been active and continue to see increased interest in beekeeping. We are planning our 3rd all UP Conference – March 28th, 2020. It has continued to grow each year.
*Beekeeper, Isaac Behrens of Marquette/Skandia is starting to raise some queens here in the area. Maybe our dream of locally adapted “snow queens” will become a reality….stay tuned!
*Now is the season to do some serious reading about our favorite little insects. Both the Bee Culture and American Bee Journal have great articles. Most local libraries have them and lots of back issues. I picked up Larry Connor’s book this summer “Keeping Bees Alive” and have found it a great read. As usual for my winter, I peruse my old copy of The Hive and The Honeybee by Dadant. This is a great base of accumulated bee knowledge, but there is always a need to review the latest research.
*I have been asked many times about the price of UP honey. There is a lot of variation but generally around $20.00 per quart at retail. Some marketing and name recognition will push that up to $30.00 or a bit more. No problem selling all that is produced.
*Hope to see you at the Spring Conferences. MBA conference March 6&7th (http://www.michiganbees.org/2020-spring-conference/) and the UP Conference March 28th.( https://upbeekeepingconference.weebly.com/) Both of these have intro beekeeping sessions. There will be a beekeeping 101 session in Escanaba on January 25th(https://www.facebook.com/baydenocbeekeepingclub).
*Please contact me with any concerns or questions at:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or www.upbees.weebly.com
Keeper of bees.