As the blossoms bloom across Northern Michigan, amateur apiarists are getting ready for a fruitful season with their hardest workers, the bee.
The Great Lakes Bee Company held their annual bee pick up Saturday just outside of Fremont. Professionals and amateurs came and bought complete bee hives to take back to their homes or fields and begin pollinating.
“I’ve always wanted to do bees,” said Susan Lance, “They’re absolutely, 100%, everything good for you.”
The pollinating season may just be starting in Michigan but these bees, the ones being sold by the GLBC, they’ve been doing work nationwide.
“These bees could go from Michigan to California to Georgia,” said Brian Bouwkamp, “It’s really common for commercial bees to move with the season and where things are pollinating before they finally come back to Michigan in time for the blueberries and the apples and everything else that needs pollinating.”
Bouwkamp is a volunteer beekeeper that was helping load bees Saturday. He got into this when he was looking for a boost to his hobby farm at home.
“We bought bees, and we instantly noticed the benefit of our garden pollinating,” said Bouwkamp, “The small crops that we planted were doing much better, much more of a yield.”
The boxes being loaded are heading to commercial farms or private gardens, tens of thousands of bees in each box.
“I have noticed after the last 4-5 years, the bees there’s not as many in my garden as there used to be,” said Lance.
She picked up two 9-frame nucs. For twenty five years she has wanted to begin beekeeping. This year is her start.
“I have not really a whole lot of an idea of what I’m going to do,” said Lance, “Except I’ve watched YouTube videos.”
Outside of the impact on her garden, the process is what she’s looking forward to the most.
“Learning about it, learning about the bees, learning how they work, learning everything about it,” said Lance.
And other byproducts that bees supply naturally, as she tries to grow her colony from two hives to maybe six.
“I will end up, probably making candles with the wax when the time comes and doing whatever the bees do,” said Lance, “But yes, just take the whole experience in.”
The GLBC also sold equipment and everything else needed to be a successful apiarist. including the suits because that will always be an occupational hazard.