2.4 Honeybee Initiative


We have a couple exciting things going on, most importantly, is our GoFundMe campaign! CLICK HERE for more information!

Last weekend we attended the Michigan Beekeepers Spring Conference at Michigan State University. There we signed up to participate in a new program called The Pollinator Initiative.  Here’s the info from the site:

Pollinator Initiative Project at Michigan State University

We received the following communication from Mike Hansen, State Apiarist for Michigan…

Good Morning, many of you already know Meghan Milbrath through presentations she’s provided at local bee club meetings, through MBA’s Annual meeting at ANR week, through the Northern Bee Network, or through many of the bee schools being offered. Meghan recently joined the staff at Michigan State University’s Dept. of Entomology and has been given the task to direct and coordinate a pollinator initiative here in Michigan. Meghan is looking for assistance from beekeepers who are interested in partnering with her. She’s provided the following as a means of introduction, and I hope many of you will respond to Meghan by participating in her mail list and then discovering ways you can help Meghan with the work she’s been asked to do through Michigan State University. Thank you

Mike Hansen, State Apiarist
Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

Hello beekeepers,

My name is Meghan Milbrath, and I am the coordinator of the Michigan Pollinator Initiative – a program started at Michigan State University to address concerns related to pollinators and pollination related issues in the state of Michigan. I would like your help and input as beekeepers/ stakeholders. As we work on understanding the threats and solutions for bees in Michigan it would be best to have an easy way to communicate directly with those most involved. I’ve created a mailing list that will be used only for communication between me, as the coordinator of pollinator related activities at MSU, and you all – the beekeepers. This list will be used to provide you with updates of current projects, to solicit input on future research directions, and to create a list of beekeepers willing to work with us on research projects. Many of the upcoming projects will require hives for monitoring, and we would like to know people who will be willing to work with researchers so that when a project becomes funded we can have a list of beekeepers we can work with so we can get started right away. 

I look forward to meeting you and working with you in the future.



The other interesting thing going on is that while we were there, we trained with Dr. Huang and Megan Milbrath in some new hive management techniques.  I’ll be posting more on this as we begin to get started, but here are a few highlights:

– With Dr. Huang’s assistance, we learned how to identify evidence of nosema and other microbial problems going on in the hive. We’re hoping we can use this knowledge as a preventative measure, so as not to lose a hive to nosema again.

– Megan is beginning to experiment with the way she is overwintering her hives and also encouraged keepers to focusing on buying/raising good quality queens.  The new system involves requeening packages with good, local queens (preferably survivor stock). Also, in the late summer/early fall, Megan turns her smaller/weaker hives into several nucs. She then requeens these with good quality queens. So for example, if you have 4 hives and 2 are not as strong, you might turn those 2 into 6 nucs. This increases your chances of having SOME bees alive in the spring provided you feed them through the winter and can keep them warm. The keeping them warm is the experimental part. We’re working out some details and doing some research about building a bee house to “store” the hives during winter. The initial plan is to incorporate the chicken coop, so that the bees can benefit from the heat. … all in the early stages!

Anyway, we’ve set up a GoFundMe if you’d like to help us on our journey to keep bees alive!  For more information, CLICK HERE.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s