As I mentioned in an earlier post, top-bar beehives seem like a great fit for backyard beekeepers. On February 3rd, my brother, dad, and I had the opportunity to learn about Kenyan top-bar beekeeping from Jessica Steller from Steller Apiaries, in Jackson, MI.
Jessica and Keith Steller have been practicing alternative beekeeping for seven years. Their focus is on sustainable beekeeping – keeping bees as pollinators in natural hives which are medication free. They specialize in removing and safely relocating “pest” colonies that have established themselves in buildings. They also produce the best honey I’ve ever tasted! It’s raw, unfiltered honey with the pollen included!
My dad and I attended an all-day beekeeping class yesterday offered through the Center of Michigan Beekeepers Club (COMB). The in-depth class, taught by club president Mike Risk and club vice president Dale Woods, covered all the essentials for beginner beekeepers including equipment, starting bees, basic bee behavior, winterizing a hive, and bee diseases and pests. The registration fee of $40 included the book Bee-sentials: A Field Guide by Dr. Lawrence Connor, an expert beekeeper in Kalamazoo. The book is chock-full of information on all aspects of beekeeping, and includes beautiful photos throughout. The class was so popular that Mike and Dale added a second class on February 9. Continue reading