Saving the Honeybees, One Hive at a Time

| 1/18/2011 11:22:45 AM

Tags: swarms,

winter beehive 

Jeremy Marr is a beekeeper from Michigan who uses natural beekeeping methods — no chemicals. To populate his beehives, he captures swarms and removes feral bee colonies from trees and buildings. Jeremy will blog and post videos about natural beekeeping, feral honeybees and more throughout 2011. He’s also looking for just a little bit of funding to expand his bee yard, and we would encourage you to help him out. He’s trying to help save the art of beekeeping, and his new bee yard will help with his research on colony collapse disorder. Details are at the end of this blog post. — MOTHER EARTH NEWS  

This time of year, I’m happy that I’m not a bee. They are shivering a lot right now. There’s snow on the ground again in Michigan after a brief warm up that brought in the New Year.

Bees don’t hibernate through the winter. They spend the cold months huddled in a ball inside their homes. The queen stays in the center and the workers rotate inward from the edges to share the burden of the cold. They flex their wing muscles to create heat and gorge themselves on honey to power their shivering. They keep the cluster at about 90 degrees.

The other day I found a very cold bee outside one of my hives. I picked it up and it flew off into a snow bank after warming up from my finger. It looked totally frozen when I walked by it on the way into the house. I brought it inside and gave it a drop of honey off my finger. After filling up it began buzzing against the window, trying to take the honey back to the hive. They can be such single-minded creatures. Such focus!

The fact that the cold weather chases me indoors more often than not is something I can use to my advantage. It’s time to plan. These winters are good for giving you time to think.

suzie halle
9/17/2012 4:15:37 AM

beautiful 3 minute video of the honey harvest from hive to jar...

1/26/2011 2:19:51 PM

great blog! Looking forward to a post on the experimental hive you built. I want to build a top bar hive this winter. keep on posting looks like you got your kick start funds congrats!

1/19/2011 9:57:40 PM

Good for you Jeremy. I think you be very successful with your bee keeping. I look forward to reading about your avocation. I don't currently have bees but I did as a, hobbyist, for almost 10 years. I got into many years ago in the 1970's because my Mother became interested in bees. She introduced me to the state apiarist and other "old timers" and they advocated minimum chemicals/drugs and among other things,leaving enough honey and pollen in the hive to make it thru the winter and giving them a good start in the spring. I was able to expand my hives by splitting and some harvesting 'feral' bees from trees, swarms and buildings. They seemed to be very healthy and didn't need much interference from me.

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