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The Sustainability of our Honeybees - Part Two

The Sustainability of our Honeybees - Part Two

Why are the honeybees doing okay?  Almonds. Almond pollination and the revenue it provides has made beekeeping profitable and allowed beekeepers to invest in their colonies.  I believe that was true and may continue to be true but it is not the whole story. Other factors that contribute are honey prices and hobbyist interest.  For now, I am going to ignore the complex issue of hobbyist interest and the positive and negative issues surrounding this phenomon.  I will focus on the majority of colonies involved in commercial operations and not on the majority of beekeepers. at this time, I believe...  Read more

The Sustainability of our Honeybees - Part One

The Sustainability of our Honeybees - Part One

One of the most common questions I get asked is, "How are the honeybees doing?"  My answer is, "It's complicated." The honeybees are doing well but it is because pollination and honey revenue are allowing beekeepers to invest resources into maintaining the health of the honeybee colonies.  For the sake of this discussion, I will exclude the recent popularity of hobbyist beekeeping.  More than ever, agriculture in the United States in relying on professional beekeepers to provide bees for pollination.  Farmers realize that renting bee colonies substantially raises their production.  Because of this demand, prices paid for honeybee colony rental...  Read more

American Beekeeping Federation

American Beekeeping Federation

I just returned from the American Beekeeping Federation's annual conference. Two events made this year's conference special. First, I had the honor of being elected to the ABF's Board of Directors. Second, our Wisconsin Honey Producers Association's Honey Queen, Hannah Sjostrum, was elected American Honey Queen. As President of the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association, I am particularly proud of our queen program. The program is a great professional development tool for these young women.  Read more

Organic honey

Organic honey

I have one piece of advice for anyone buying honey: know your beekeeper. As important as it is to support pesticide-free environments for bees, there is no way to certify honey as organic within the continental U.S., simply because bees are capable of flying surprising distances. That doesn't mean there isn't good honey here, it just means that you need to look for other signals to know the quality of what you're buying. Here I share my thoughts on what to look for in order to find good local honey that is safe, healthy, delicious and raw.  Read more

Our Love of Beekeeping

Our Love of Beekeeping

I discovered my interest in honey bees when I was introduced to beekeeping in high school back in the mid-1970's. In this article for the American Bee Journal, I talk about how I went from six starter hives to running a business with more than 300 colonies. I share a fun story about how I involved my wife Bernadette with bees. I also discuss some of the changes to the farming landscape around Waupaca, Wisconsin, which have affected the availability of flowering plants that provide food for our bees.  Read more