Thursday, July 20 (**Note Date**)--7 PM at GVSU (515 S. Waverly Rd, Holland, MI 49423). Dr. Meghan Milbrath of the Northern Bee Network will be sharing information on Late Summer Splits and Queens and will detail how to find the best queens, how to make splits with queens and cells at this time of year, how to evaluate your queens, the benefits of fall requeening, and what steps to take if your colony shows up queenless.
We appreciate Rich's willingness to host the Field Day held June 24
. He and Randy broke attendees into two groups for hive demonstrations. Thanks to all who were able to attend!
Thank you to Sheldon Schwitek for speaking at our June meeting. We are grateful west Michigan beekeepers are so willing to connect and share information concerning what's happening in our apiaries and working together to educate the public on beekeeping issues.
June 3 was our Field Day at GVSU. We had 13 beekeepers in the first session and 11 beekeepers in the second. Early inspection on the Hives & Nucs were done; BIP samples taken; and powder sugar roll testing for mites completed.
REGISTRATION IS FULL. The next field day is scheduled for June 24 at 1 PM on Making Nucs with Queen Cells. Space is limited to 12 so be sure to sign up if you are interested in hands-on learning. (--register here and I'll send you a reply with Rich's apiary address.) This is a free event, but you must register. Remember your bee suits.
Also link to powder sugar roll...Mite checks are a critical step in apiary health!
The current threshold is 3 mites per 100. 1/2 cup represent about 300 bees. So the result of the mite count for 300 bees should be divided by 3. So if you have 15 mites in your sugar roll, divided by 3 = 5 mites per 100. That is above the threshold and should consider action.
June 8--Queen Rearing/Dolittle Cloake Increase with Sheldon Schwitek at 7PM at GVSU (515 S. Waverly Road, Holland, MI 49423)
--Sheldon Schwitek has been keeping bees in urban and rural settings for the past 11 years. It wasn’t until he met a very good mentor, that he caught “bee fever”. Beginning with 2 nucleus colonies in downtown Kalamazoo, Sheldon has expanded his operation to 30+ colonies in 2012. Not only does Sheldon sell honey at local markets, he has also developed a line of other value added products made with honey, wax, and propolis. He continues to learn from his bees and his human mentors everyday. He is committed to mentoring new beekeepers and believes that mentoring and being mentored are the most valuable ways to learn the craft of beekeeping. He is also President of the Kalamazoo Bee Club.
Thanks to Mike Risk for speaking at our May meeting. He shared a lot of information concerning spring management in our apiaries and the advantages of splitting a colony. Some resources he mentioned were the Northern Bee Network, Thomas Seeley, and Mike Palmer.
HABA member, Jeri, who works at Herrick District Library, shares a recently added title: Keeping Bees in Horizontal Hives: A Complete Guide to Apiculture by Georges de Layens. Written in the late 19th century--Updated and edited by Dr. Leo Sharashkin.
Check out the wide variety of beekeeping resources available through your local library! Share your favorites here.
Join us at our next regular meeting on May 11, 7PM (GVSU - Meijer Campus, 515 S. Waverly Road, Holland, MI 49423). Mike Risk will speak on Swarm Management and also on Splits. This cold snap can cause some issues for those who have already preformed splits. Learn what is needed for a successful split and share your questions. See you there!
Mike Risk is currently the President of the Center of Michigan Beekeepers club and has been a hobbyist and sideline beekeeper for 32 years. Mike’s interest in beekeeping began when he discovered bees in the walls of a farmhouse he bought in Eaton County all those years ago. These days he concentrates his efforts on raising queens, which are acclimated to the Michigan climate and disease resistant to today’s pests and maladies plaguing honey bees. Mike and his wife Sidney live on a small farm near Laingsburg, MI where they have large gardens, and chickens, raise bees and sell honey.
Swarm List -- Take a moment to confirm your contact info is correct. If you'd like your name added to the list, please email me your name, phone number, and county.
It was encouraging to see how many attended our April meeting. West Michigan beekeepers are committed to learning how to be successful apiary managers! We had a chance to honor Jim and Harv for their continued contributions to area beekeepers. Here is a pic of Anne Marie presenting them their certificates and engraved hive tools.
Here are few links to resources Rich Wieske mentioned:
I hope you and your bees are enjoying our lovely weather!
Do you have Siberian Squill growing in your yard? Getting a decent pic of a honeybee visiting these spring bloomers was a challenge with the breeze and the blossoms pointed towards the ground. You can better see the blue pollen here.
The HABA board has been busy planning upcoming meetings and field days. Our next regular meeting is Thursday, April 13, 7PM at GVSU - Meijer Campus, 515 S. Waverly Road, Holland, MI 49423. There is no charge to attend our regular meetings and they are open to anyone interested in beekeeping. Our April speaker will be Rich Wieske who will first discuss Spring Cleanup, Installing Packages and Nucs. We'll have a short break and then cover Spring Build Up and Early Inspections. The meeting will be geared first to beginners and then dive a little deeper for more experienced beekeepers. You'll also want to join us in briefly honoring Harv and Jim for their numerous contributions to the beekeeping community in west Michigan! See you there!
Have you heard of PollenCheck? A Michigan Summer 2017 Pollen Pilot Project...
We are looking for approximately 25 beekeepers spread around the state of Michigan to become citizen scientists, collect pollen and enter their data in our PollenCheck mobile application. You can review the information about the project at: http://masl.cis.gvsu.edu/portfolio/pollencheck/
On this web page, you will find general information about the project, the 'Apply Here' button as well as some detailed tutorials with step by step instructions of what would be required of the participants this summer (see PollenCheck Tutorials by scrolling all the way down the web page).
Our team will provide all the materials needed for the project including 2 front porch pollen traps. We have secured funding from the Michigan Beekeepers Association (MBA) to subsidize half of the total 100$ kit. This means that each participant would be required to contribute 50$ to participate in the PollenCheck Summer 2017 Michigan Pilot Project. The pollen traps are yours to keep after the season, which makes this a really good deal!
I invite you to visit the link above and click 'Apply Here' by April 10, 2017 to become a PollenCheck 2017 participant!!!
Thank you for your interests and happy 2017 beekeeping season.
Spring is right around the corner and we've certainly had a taste of it with the wacky weather in February! Now is a good time to consider water sources for your apiary (preferably not your neighbor's pool!). This post shares some theories on what the bees favor (be sure to read the comments too). Our bees were busy this past Monday seeking water in the landscaping and the bottom of a flowerpot--spotted some pale yellow pollen coming in too. Email me any water tips or comments you'd like to share.
Click on each link to see when our friends at The Grand Rapids Area Beekeeping Club and The Kalamazoo Bee Club are meeting.
Katie Kress has shared a research article she has written on The Importance of Bees.
Friday, March 31--Landscaping for Pollinators Conference (click for full agenda) at the
Location: Okemos, MI
Pricing: $95 for MNLA members, $130 for Non-members (Breakfast and Lunch included)
We had 80 awesome people join us on February 11 to learn about beekeeping. Thank you to all the speakers, instructors, vendors, and volunteers for your part in making the day a success!
We appreciate those who took the time to fill out the Bee School evaluations. If you have any feedback you'd like to share, please email me your comments.
Remember anyone interested in honeybees is welcome to attend our regular meetings at no charge. Each meeting will explore topics more in depth than shared at the Bee School and will be beneficial to all levels of beekeepers. Join us to learn more and connect with other beekeepers!
The new HABA board will be meeting soon to finalize plans for our regular meetings. Upcoming regular HABA meetings will be held at the GVSU-Meijer Campus, 515 S. Waverly Rd., Holland, MI, 49423 at 7 PM.
We've received some questions concerning Bee School and compiled a FAQ page to provide the answers.
Here are Bee School class descriptions and the schedule.
Holland Area Beekeepers Association Bee School
Featuring Keynote Speakers Meghan Milbrath, Ph. D and Charlotte Hubbard
When: Saturday, February 11, 2017
Where: GVSU - Meijer Campus (515 S. Waverly Road, Holland)
Time: Doors open at 8 AM with sessions beginning at 8:30. We’ll break for lunch (bring your own or we’ll have a list of local restaurants available) and the day will wrap up around 4:45 PM.
Cost: Adults - $50 (includes $10 in Bee Bucks to be spent at the vendor booths on 2/11)
Sessions will include detailed information needed to get started as a beekeeper in Michigan, including bee biology, bee equipment assembly demonstrations, and bee handling methodology.
Several vendors will be selling beekeeping supplies throughout the day.
The HABA members are encouraged by your interest in honeybees and our goal is to provide a foundation towards success as you explore the rewarding world of beekeeping.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Online registration available via PayPal at www.hollandbees.org
Registration space is limited.
Our Winter Banquet was held on January 14 where Rufus Isaacs shared his message Bees, Blooms, & Bigger Berries. Here are some links:
We appreciate the positive feedback we've received from attendees concerning the information Dr. Isaacs shared and the overall banquet. We also held an election for new board members. Congratulations to vice president, Rich Schaffer; treasurer, Ron Rhoades; and members at large Dick Winkel, Dale Dykema, and Barry Miller. We have tremendous appreciation for outgoing board members: vice president, Bryan Immink; treasurer, Liliana Mendoza; and member at large, Gary Manning. You can view bios of the current HABA board here.
We also had the chance to honor Jack Hartman for all he's shared with the beekeeping community. Love you, Jack!
Thank you to The Trestle Stop, Maddie Kioski, Donna & Barry Andersen, Jeri Walsh-Allis, Amy Fester, Faye Black, Cathy Morgan, Ken Hoekstra, and the many who generously donated auction items. The time and energy you shared helped make our evening a success--we appreciate you!
As we begin 2017, may I encourage you to be more intentional as a beekeeper? That'll look slightly different for each of us, but here are some ideas to inspire you:
- Read 3 honeybee related books and share what you've learned
- Learn a new skill: split a colony, raise a queen, build equipment, cook with honey, melt wax into candles
- Schedule mite checks on your calendar
- Share a honeybee presentation with children
- Mentor a new beekeeper
- Invite a neighbor to a hive inspection
- Find a record keeping process that works for you
Wishing you all a blessed holiday season! The HABA Board truly appreciates your participation throughout this past year and looks forward to activities with you in the new year as we continue to encourage and educate west Michigan beekeepers!
Thanks to all of those who braved the weather to join us at our December meeting. Steve Haystead of Bardic Wells shared how to make a small batch of mead
and the Tornado Chasers presented an entertaining skit and update on their project. Thanks to all who participated in the honey tasting and honey recipe contest! It was fun to see the wide variety of entries. Huge thanks to Cassie, Hayley, & Maggie (the GVSU students who volunteered as our judges) for their time and tastebuds. See the winning recipes here
Shopping for your favorite beekeeper or making a wish list for yourself? Here's a link to some fabulous gift ideas.
Remember registration to both the Winter Banquet and the Bee School also make delightful gifts!
December 8--Holiday Party (7 PM- GVSU - Meijer Campus, 515 S. Waverly, Holland, MI 49423)
Join us for a fun and informal evening focusing on the sweetness of our hives. Bring along your favorite recipe that includes honey as an ingredient to share and compete for prizes!
- Steve Haystead of Bardic Wells will share a brief message on the mead making process--including how to make your own galloon mead at home.
- Honey Tasting--Bring along varieties of honey to share!
- Honey Recipe Contest--Compete with your sweet or savory recipe. Rules and details here.
At our November meeting, Anne Marie Fauvel and Emily Noordyke shared what they've learned about pollen collected from the GVSU apiaries - plus their goals concerning future research. HABA members were challenged to sign up if they are interested in being part of the process. You can contact Anne Marie here for more information. Here is the pollen trap they mentioned. Here is an article on pollen you may find interesting.
The HABA board appreciates member input shared during the brainstorming time. The responses have been compiled in the links below. If you'd like to contribute more ideas, please email me. Something that struck me while reading through the lists--many of the ideas are something our members can contribute towards! As you peruse the data, ask yourself how you can participate and contact the board to let them know.
Question 1: What topics would you like HABA to cover during upcoming regular meetings?
Question 2: What activities, workshops or hands on training would you like HABA to offer throughout the year?
Question 3: What should HABA STOP, START, or CONTINUE to do in regards to service to our members?
Question 4: How can we increase participation of our members to volunteer their help throughout the year?
Thursday, November 10---Pollen Research and Beekeeper Brainstorming
(7 PM- GVSU - Meijer Campus, 515 S. Waverly, Holland, MI 49423)
We're excited to welcome Anne Marie Fauvel and Emily Noordyke to share their insight on: Collecting Pollen in Michigan? What are we up to?
"You heard about our Hive Scale, some of you have even been following us. You heard about our collaboration with the Bee Informed Partnership, and you may have heard that we were collecting pollen all summer! Well, we have some stories for you! Collecting Pollen ranges from mesmerizing to challenging, informative to frustrating, but always educational and rewarding in the end. We will discuss our Summer 2016 Pollen Collection Project with its methods and results and we will announce our Summer 2017 plan. You may even want to start collecting pollen, discover so many important things about your own bees and help science by sharing your information."
We'll also take some time to share ideas and questions as we look forward to 2017. Which topics should we cover? What would you like to learn more about? Join us as we explore opportunities to educate and encourage west Michigan beekeepers.
What a great turnout for our October meeting! We appreciate Joel Lantz taking the time to share some helpful information on how he prepares his colonies for winter. His website
offers guidance and videos--including his sugar boarding technique.
A local FIRST LEGO league shared a brief presentation at the meeting. They had the challenge to solve a problem concerning human/animal interaction and chose honeybees as their animal (read more here). They have attended a couple meetings as part of their research and HABA is honored to be a part of this process.
Date Change: Our October meeting has been rescheduled to Tuesday, October 18, 7 PM. (GVSU - Meijer Campus, 515 S. Waverly, Holland, MI 49423) We apologize for the inconvenience, but believe you'll agree we can't pass on an opportunity to hear from Joel Lantz. Joel is a Marquette-based beekeeper, founder of the Superior Beekeeping Club, and MBA UP representative Joel Lantz will speak on overwintering in the far North Country. Although retired from the world of everyday work, he continues to follow his passion for education by spending his time raising, learning and teaching all things bee. When not immersed in this 30 year pursuit, he spends time in the woods, making rustic furniture and chasing his grandkids - the next generation of beekeepers. His presentation would not be complete without a viewing of a short video - Witness: Why I Am A Beekeeper, a peek at his one of a kind Hive House and a bit of bee advocacy.
Thursday, September 15--Stephen Rapasky will share a message on Urban Beekeeping. (7 PM- GVSU - Meijer Campus, 515 S. Waverly, Holland, MI 49423)
Stephen Repasky is a second-generation beekeeper from Pittsburgh, PA. He is a certified Master Beekeeper through the Eastern Apicultural Society and is also the current president of Burgh Bees, 1st vice-president of the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association and a member of the Board of Directors for the American Beekeeping Federation. He is also an active member of the Keystone Queen Breeders Cooperative and is a member of the Penn State Center for Pollinator Research Advisory Board and the Pennsylvania State Apiary Advisory Board. Stephen keeps around 100 colonies and is involved in honey production, queen rearing and the selling of nucleus hives each summer to those interested in starting or expanding their own beekeeping adventure! He had his first book published by Wicwas Press in 2014 entitled " Swarm Essentials" and can be seen teaching beekeeping classes in the Pittsburgh area or presenting lectures on a variety of beekeeping topics at local clubs and many regional and national conferences around the United States.
Community Apiary Talk:
Based on the idea of community gardens, a community apiary gives opportunities to those who aren't ready to dive in to beekeeping and those who do not have the space or ideal conditions for honey bees to take part in the fast growing hobby! Steve will discuss the idea of a community apiary and the challenges that go along with operating one in your own community.
Urban Beekeeping Talk:
Recent studies show that urban hives can be healthier than rural hives - but is that really the case? Steve will discuss pros and cons of urban beekeeping along with ideas and tricks to make urban beekeeping easier and profitable!
The Flowerland Show on Wood Radio recently had Mike Connor on to discuss bees. You can listen to the podcast here. You can also check out pics of a recent cutout here.
Thanks to Renee and her family for hosting our Summer Picnic! It was a lovely day of fun and fellowship. Congratulations to Heather for her success in the smoker contest!
August is a vital time to check mite levels in your colonies. Charlotte Hubbard presented some valuable information at our July meeting. The handout she shared contains excellent resources on how to check for mites and treatment options.
July 14 at 7 PM--Charlotte Hubbard will speak on Varroa Monitoring and Treatment Options (GVSU - Meijer Campus, 515 S. Waverly, Holland, MI 49423)
Charlotte Hubbard, a beekeeper since 2008, works about 30 hives in SW Michigan. She's author of Dronings from a Queen Bee: The First Five Years, and the kid's book If I Could Sit on a Bee's Knees, among other publications regarding bees. All profits from speaking, book sales and honey go to food bank charities. Her website, www.hubbardhive.com, advises newbees what to look for and when in their hives, and overviews her bee involvement. Charlotte speaks nationally on behalf of this critical insect, often focusing on the human-bee dynamic.
Free Download to share: This handout includes lists of plantings recommended for honeybees plus some book titles concerning gardening for honeybees, honey recipes, and basic beekeeping. Feel free to print and pass along.
In case you missed the opportunity to complete the survey offered at our May meeting, here is the link to complete it now. We appreciate your input as we plan future HABA events.
Voting for the new HABA Logo has ended. We have a winner!
The logo chosen was submitted by Kristen Van Oostenbrugge. Kristen enjoys helping her husband with beekeeping. She specializes in print design along with knowledge and capabilities ranging anywhere from advertising and branding to publication design and photography. Consider contacting Kristen with your own design needs at 616.834.6145 or email@example.com.
Thanks again to everyone who participated in this process! Next we'll be choosing items to showcase the logo--we'd love to hear your input on what appeals most to you. Share your thoughts here.
June 9 at 7 PM--Mike Risk will be speaking on Queen Health (GVSU-Meijer Campus, 515 S. Waverly Rd., Holland, MI, 49423)
Mike Risk is currently the President of the Center of Michigan Beekeepers club and has been a hobbyist and sideline beekeeper for 33 years. Mike’s interest in beekeeping began when he discovered bees in the walls of a farmhouse he bought in Eaton County all those years ago. These days he concentrates his efforts on mentoring and educating new beekeepers He raises queens which are acclimated to the Michigan climate and disease resistant to the pests and maladies plaguing honey bees. Mike and his wife Sidney live on a small farm near Laingsburg, MI where they have large gardens, chickens, raise bees and sell honey.
Want to follow data on the HABA Hive Scale? Follow this link and click on "GVSU Holland" on the map.
GVSU will conduct summer research on managed honey bee colony nutrition and develop mobile phone application for beekeepers. Read More...
Your local library is a wonderful resource to learn more about beekeeping! Garden Plants for Honeybees by Peter Lindtner is now available at Herrick Public Library to borrow. This and many other beekeeping related titles can be loaned through the Lakeland Library Cooperative or through libraries statewide. Browse several to gain more knowledge and be sure to share your favorites with me as a quick review to share with other HABA members!
It was wonderful to see so many of you at the April meeting! Mike Connor shared some great information on what grows in our area and is most beneficial to the bees. If you’d like to learn more about the trees he has available, contact Honeytree Nursery. The FABULOUS book Mike mentioned was Garden Plants for Honey Bees by Peter Lindtner and is available through Wicwas Press.
We took a moment at the April meeting to recognize Don Lam and impact in the beekeeping community. Here is part of what Anne Marie shared,
“Don’s numerous contributions to the beekeeping circles extend far beyond his many years as the President of this club, but further in providing education programs, extending his local supplies to reflect our changing hobby, provide a steady source of bees, instigate changes in our policies and local ordinances, hit the media to promote honey bees and tirelessly bring people together to share stories, resources and tools to make this sometimes challenging beekeeping experience into a rewarding community experience.”
I’d like to challenge you to explore how you too can make a difference. Here are a few ideas to inspire:
Swarm List--Please take the time to confirm your contact information is correct on our swarm list. If you would like to have your name included in the list, email me your name, county (or area), and contact number(s).
Dr. Megan Milbrath has shared an article on Michigan Beekeepers' Association website titled Why Did My Honey Bees Die?
Share your resources! Do you have a favorite beekeeping book, article, website, or personal experience you'd like to contribute? Email your ideas and we'll share them with club members on the website.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the Bee School! We are so grateful to all the volunteers and instructors who made the day possible. The HABA board appreciates the feedback provided through the bee school surveys. The overall comments were overwhelmingly positive and we can surely call it a success! There were several comments where participants voiced they hoped to learn more concerning honey harvesting, splits, and queen rearing. All of those topics and more will be covered at upcoming regular meetings and workshops. There is no charge to attend regular meetings and anyone interested in beekeeping is welcome to attend. Details concerning meeting topics and speakers will be shared as they are confirmed, but be sure to save the dates on your calendars so you won't miss a moment. Upcoming regular HABA meetings will be held at the GVSU-Meijer Campus, 515 S. Waverly Rd., Holland, MI, 49423 at 7 PM.
Ronna Alexander has generously shared her graphic recordings from Bee School. (Click image to enlarge) Check out all four here. You can also view photos from the Bee School shared by Tonya Christiansen here. Thanks Ronna and Tonya!!
American Bee Journal and Bee Culture magazines are both excellent resources for beekeepers. Reader's World in Holland carries both magazines.
Thanks to everyone who joined us at the Winter Banquet! Special thanks to Jonathan Engelsma for sharing his message on hive monitoring. Here is where you can sign up for updates from Bee Informed Partnership.
Huge thanks to Maddie Kiosk whose lovely centerpieces were so tasty: Beehive Cake Recipe, Honey Ambrosia Recipe, Honeycomb Cake Recipe. We really appreciate all of the volunteers and generous donations towards our Tea Cup Auction. The banquet and bee school are what fund speakers and events for all of HABA's regular meetings. We are grateful for your participation!
Rusty at Honey Bee Suite has an interesting post on her bee populations and keeping them fed until spring. She is in Oregon, so our climates vary some, but it's been a unusual winter for all of us. The comments include a link forecasting Feb-Apr weather nationwide.
A study finds west Michigan counties are at risk from wild bee decline.
Thanks to everyone who joined us for the December meeting. What a wide assortment of varieties of honey and items made with honey! Special thanks to Simon and Theo for the candle making demonstration. Also thanks to Tim from Altek for sharing information on mead making. His store in Zeeland is a wonderful local resource for home brewing supplies.
Here's a link that shares the importance of honey labeling.
We were pleased to welcome Krispn Given to our November meeting. Check out the Purdue Bee Hive link to learn more concerning their research.
Be sure to visit Links We Love to gain inspiration for your apiary!
HABA sponsored some GVSU students to attend the HAS conference in July. You can read about their experience in their gracious thank you letter.
Here's an interesting article on royal jelly and queens.
HUGE THANKS to Judd Meyer for the impressive HABA banners!
Here's an article that shares the benefits of honey water.
Looking for ideas to use your extra beeswax? Check out this link for dozens of ideas!
Thanks to all who have submitted content for the website! Do you have a beekeeping experience you'd like to share, contribute your stories, photos, and videos here.
Be sure to check out the Classified Ads. See how you can list your own ad here. Have something for the December Classified Ads? Please submit your beekeeping related items by December 7.