Getting Started with Beekeeping

February 27, 2023

More Info

Getting Started with Beekeeping session

Have you wondered if beekeeping is right for you? Have you considered keeping honey bees to produce your own, local honey? Honey bees are awe-inspiring, but keeping them healthy takes a lot of learning and hard work. Before you get started, find out what costs, time, and effort are required. Learn what beekeepers do and where they can go for resources and support.

We all benefit from a healthy pollinator population. You don’t need to become a beekeeper to help take care of our bees! This presentation will also cover pollinator diversity, issues that bees are facing, and what people can do to support pollinator health.

This session was presented at the Michigan Ag Ideas to Grow With virtual conference by Ana Heck, Apiculture Extension Educator at Michigan State University on how to get started with beekeeping. The live session was held on Monday, February 27th at 6pm Eastern.

MI Ag Ideas to Grow With virtual conference

TThe 2023 MI Ag Ideas to Grow With conference held virtually, February 27-March 10, 2023, is a two-week program encompassing many aspects of the agricultural industry and offering a full array of educational sessions for farmers and homeowners interested in food production and other agricultural endeavors. Sessions were recorded and can be found online at

Stay connected to MSU Extension

Video Transcript

Good afternoon. Welcome to the Michigan or MI Ag Ideas to Grow with Virtual conference. My name is Paola Bacigalupo  Sanguesa and I'm an educator with the MSU Extension Dairy Team. It is my pleasure to welcome you to this session getting started with beekeeping. We'll hear from Ana heck. Before we started, I would like to take a quick moment to thank our sponsors who are shown on the screen now. And due to their generous support, we're able to offer this event at no charge to participants. Let's begin. Ana, the floor is yours. Awesome. Thanks. It's great to be here. Thanks a lot for having me. All right, so my name is Ana Heck. I'm an Apiculture Extension Educator at Michigan State University. So I work a lot with beekeepers and people who are interested in keeping bees. I also get to work a lot with people who are interested in supporting pollinator health. So that includes people like growers, pesticide applicators, home gardeners, and the public. So today we're going to talk about getting started with beekeeping in Michigan. As you'll learn, there's a lot, there is a lot to learn about keeping bees and what it is involved in keeping them healthy. So this is meant to be an introduction. I'll share some things with you about beekeeping and what it requires. And then also point you in the direction of resources if you want to continue learning about beekeeping. Alright, So I'm with Michigan State University Extension and our programs are open to everyone. Alright, so some of the things we're going to talk about today, what does it mean to be a beekeeper? Where I'm going to do an introduction to the members of the colony. What do honey bees need? What are you getting into? How can you help? And how can you get started keeping honeybees. So let's start with an introduction to the members of the honeybee colony. Alright, so here we have photos of a worker be on the left, a drone be in the middle, and a queen bee on the rate. So typically in a colony we expect most of the bees to be worker bees. These are females and they can't mate. And the drones are males. They can make. Their main goal is to meet with clean sprint new queens and other colonies. And then we have our queen bee on the right. She's the one who is responsible for laying eggs. And there's typically just one queen per colony. Here we have a queen surrounded by workers. The queen's job is to lay eggs, and then the workers will take care of her. They'll groom and feed her, and they will spread her, center her pheromones around the colony. So here's a photo of what it looks like when the queen lays eggs and cells. So typically she's displaying one egg and each of those hexagon or wax cells. And in the peak of the season that queen can lay a 1,500 or 2000 eggs per day. Here are the larval stage. So after three days, the eggs develop into larvae. And at this stage they're fed by adult worker bees. They don't work obese, have glands and their heads were they able to produce brute food? And they feed this to the developing larvae. Once the larvae are old enough, they give off a pheromone are sent, and there are chemical signals. And adult worker bees will capsular cells with wax. And so then the brute enter the pupation stage. So here this is what we call sealed brood or honeybee PUB. Alright, then we have our drones, and our drones will leave the hive on days when it's warm enough and good flying weather. And they will congregate and an area in the sky and wait for a new young queen to combine so that they're able to mate with her. If they have that opportunity. If not, they just return to the hive and try again the next day. Here's a drone next to some workers, so you can kind of see the difference in body shape. Drones tend to have bigger eyes and they have a wider end of their abdomen. Alright, and then we have our worker bees, and they have a very appropriate name because they do lots of different work in the hive. The jobs that they do depend on their age, the younger because we're the ones that stay inside of the hive. They clean the hexagon are like cells, they feed the developing brood. They tend to the queen. And then the older bees are the ones that leave the hive. And they'll forage for nectar from flowers which say bring back to the hive and they dry out and once they evaporate enough moisture off of it, That's when we call it honey. They also foraged for pollen. Honey bees collect pollen on their hind legs and what we call pollen basket or cubicula. And the pollen can be lots of different colors. Here we have a photo of some really pretty blue pollen. They also collect resonance from trees once they bring it back to the highest we call a pro Polis. Alright, so what do you honey bees need? So when we think about keeping honeybees, we really think of them as livestock. We have lots of different species of bees that are native to the Americas, but honey bees aren't one of them. The species of bees that we work with here in Michigan are primarily from parts of Europe. There are lots of different species of native bees that we can support through conservation. We have over 450 different species of bees here in Michigan, honeybees are just one of those species. Many of those species of bees we had in Michigan are native to our area and we think about how to support them. We take a conservation focus. Honeybees, on the other hand, Our managed as livestock for honey production and pollination suggests like if you are really concerned about endangered or declining species of bees, you wouldn't become a chicken farmer. The same goes for bees. If you're really concerned about conserving native bee species, you support those species by planting flowers for them, honey bees is more of an agricultural practice that is important for pollination of many crops, especially here in Michigan in terms of apples, cherries, blueberries, and other vegetable crops. Alright? So when we talk about what it takes to be a beekeeper and how to take care of honey bees. We oftentimes think of our honeybees as livestock or as animals. And I'm really happy because I got to share a photo of my dog. His name is Rena. And we're going to talk about the needs of honey bees and how they are similar to those of other pets or livestock. So honeybees, like my puppy, reno a need food. And so a lot of times honeybees can get their food from the environment. They collect nectar and pollen from plants. But there are certain times when these can't gather enough nectar and pollen from the environment in order to survive. And so this has a lot to do with our changing landscape. It has to do with weather. And if bees are able to go out of the hive and forage. And it also has to do with the time of year. Nectar and honeys are really, so Nectir again is collected from flowers. It's really high and moisture, but the bees dry it out. And once it's dried out, the call, we call it honey. That's a really important source of their carbohydrates. It's very sugary. The adult foragers need that sugar and that energy for their foraging flights, where they're oftentimes flying miles from the hive. And then the honey is also a really important food source and the winter, and we'll talk a little bit about how honeybees survive the winter. But basically they clustered together and they feed on that honey. Honey gives them energy to shiver and generate E. The pollen is also from plants, and it provides important nutrients like protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals. This is especially important for growth and development of these. But we can't have been starved to death. It is preventable if you're managing honeybee colonies, it's your job as the beekeeper to intervene and to feed your V is when they can't get enough nectar and pollen from the environment. So we tend to need to feed honey bees, especially when the colony is pretty small and it doesn't have enough of those older worker bees to go out and forage. If our bees are on new equipment and need to draw out wax coat, that requires a lot of calories. So we often feed them sugar syrup in order to help them have enough energy to draw comb. The adult worker bees have little glands on their abdomens where they're able to produce flakes that beeswax. We feed honey bees when there's not enough food available in the environment. So this is really dependent on your local situation and the time of year. And there's times of years when we have lots and bloom and times where we know we don't have as much. Sometimes when colonies get sick feeding them can help them get over their illness. Sometimes when the weather is too cool or cold, or if it's rainy or too windy, it's hard for abuse to forage. So that's another time when we might have to feed them if they don't have enough food that's stored in there. Then finally, just in general, if they don't have enough food store, that's when we want to make sure as beekeepers were intervening to prevent starvation and providing them supplemental resources. Alright. Just like Reno, my dog, honey bees need water. And I think that's something that a lot of people don't think about necessarily right away. But especially when the temperatures are really hot outside, these will afford for water. They bring it back to the hive and they use that to cool the hive. This is something that's really important for you to be aware of, especially if you want to make sure that your bees don't become a nuisance to your neighbors. So every year I get calls from people who have swimming pools or PFOS, kind of hoses are sprinklers. And these, once they find a water source, they keep returning to it. And a lot of times people don't like that. The bees keep coming. To them are on their property to gather water, especially if it's hundreds of these collecting water at a time. So as a beekeeper, we encourage you to set up a water source close to your highest and keep it replenished with water. If there's water close to the hives at the beginning of the season, it's likely that the bees will continue to use that as a water source throughout the season and not venture away onto neighboring properties to look for water. Alright? Like our doggies, honey bees need shelter. In the wild. Honey bees will make a hive oftentimes in a cavity like a tree cavity. There are some feral colonies that live in tree cavities or other similar locations. When we're managing honeybee colonies, we keep them in a hive. This style is called a linked strap five that you see in the photos. And it's really nice because it allows per, relatively easy inspection. So we can add boxes on as the colony grows. We can remove them to harvest honey or as the colony decreases in population. And then we also have removable frames so we can inspect the colony for stored food. Queen, right, status and signs of disease. Alright, and other livestock or pads that we care for. Honeybees need medical care. One of the really difficult things about keeping bees is that all of our honeybees and Michigan have, all of our honeybee colonies in Michigan have this parasitic might call it varroa destructor. So this is a parasite that spreads diseases between bees. It's not a question of whether or not a colony has these mites. The question is how high the mite levels are? As the population increases in size, it spreads disease. So beekeepers have to work really hard to keep this might level low. There are ways we can monitor the mites and detect how a roughly the percentage of mites per bees we have in the colony. And there's ways that we can kill the mites, but they all take work and effort. And when we talked to beekeepers, it's pretty common that they have a hard time keeping the light might level is low enough, especially if they've been losing honeybee colonies. So just to briefly explain this parasite, and it's called the Bureau of my road. A structure is its scientific name. The rural might well be on the abdomen of typically an adult worker bee, but they can be found on other bees as well. And they will enter a larval cell before it's kept up a capped off. Then the female lays eggs. The offspring mate with each other, and while they're in that honeybee pupa cell, they create a feeding spot and that's a place where diseases can spread to the developing honeybee. The adult B, if she survives, emerges with the mother and my and normally multiple data types and then the switch host to other bees. So this past or this parasite is a really challenging part of beekeeping. And unfortunately, if you're really excited to learn how to manage honey bees, you also have to spend a lot of time learning how to manage for all my, it's just to show you some of the signs of disease or Paris iteration that we can see in a colony, this is B and you can see her wings spin, develop properly. They look pretty stringy. This is a sign that we see oftentimes when virus levels that are spread by Varroa mites are really high. And then this is a photo, really sick birds. So I showed you some larvae and pupae earlier. Here you can see in this photo the lot of the brood look kinda look melted or deflated. They're sick or dying bruit. And so we tend to see these signs when varroa mites and associated pathogens are really high in the colony. So we do as beekeepers have several treatments that we can use to try to keep my levels low. All of them have their pros and cons and specific situations when you wouldn't, would and wouldn't use them. Some of them are pretty temperature sensitive. Some of them can't be used when you're collecting honey for human consumption. Some of them have their own effects on the honeybees. So we have tools in our toolbox, but we don't have a silver bullet or a tool that always works well in all situations. We have to really think through our situation and what our options are in order to try to keep my slow. There are beekeepers who are interested in trying to keep these alive without treatments. It's it's it's very, very difficult. I would say probably close to impossible for our new beekeeper. Keep these success alive successfully and healthy year after year without some of these treatments. So there are breeding programs to try to find bees that are more resistant to the Varroa mites. But in general, even though there are some non-treatment management strategies you can use to try to keep. My level is low and that can help. Normally, most beekeepers find that they also have to use for all my treatments in order to keep their bees healthy. So we do have really good resources out there on this. One of them is from the honeybee health coalition and it's their tools per row and Management Guide. And so that goes through all of the information about the rural might in different management options, including non-chemical options and treatment options. Then there's other diseases that you have to worry about as well. So here we have some examples of some brood diseases. Chat group on the left and then European fraud dude in the middle and American fabric on the right. So normally as a new beekeeper, your goal is to learn the difference between healthy and not healthy. And once you start seeing signs of brewed that don't look healthy, that's when you take photos. You reach out to university extension or to a more experienced beekeeper. Alright, so you're still interested in beekeeping. What are you getting yourself into? So keeping V is healthy, requires regular inspections. This is not honeybee hives or not lawn ornaments. They're not something that we just leave alone throughout the season. So when we check, our colonies were looking for a few different things. Typically when we beekeeper start, we advise that you start with two or three colonies. And then you, the colony number can be quite dynamic and can expand or decrease depending on whether or not you need to combine colonies for certain reasons, or whether you need to split them. We suggest starting with two or three colonies because it's hard to start with one colony. If you have two colonies that allows you to do a lot more troubleshooting, e.g. sharing resources between colonies. E.g. if one needs more food or if one needs brewed because it had a queen issue. So if you have two or three hives, that gives you an opportunity to do some troubleshooting. We normally don't recommend starting with more than two or three colonies just because the learning curve is so steep and we don't want you to get overwhelmed by your small beekeeping operation when you first get started. So the number of colonies can be quite dynamic. As I mentioned, if you're colonies survives the winter and it's strong and healthy and the spring, we typically split that colony to deter swarming. So that's where you would increase colony members either by adding highest your own operation or selling small beekeeping units, which we call nucleus colonies to other beekeepers. At the same time, it's pretty common for new beekeepers in michigan to experience high levels of colony loss because that learning curve is so steep. So it's not uncommon for beekeepers to start with two or three colonies, but then lose colonies throughout the year or in the winter. Honey bees can survive really cold, harsh winters. They just need to be healthy and have lots of honey. On the right, we have a photo of a colony that I opened up the hive and the winter, and this is what I see. It's cluster of bees. So they form a ball and they use the muscles and their thoracic is to shiver and generate heat. And they're able to keep that cluster of bees pretty warm throughout the winter. But they need to have honey and their HIV in order to generate the energy and they need to be healthy going into winter. So unfortunately, the Varroa mites and the viruses too. Sometimes those levels peak in the fall, right? Winter, winter bees are developing. And so sometimes the bees that are going into winter develop under really high disease pressure and they just aren't able to survive the winter. But it's it has, I'm not worried about cold temperatures. I'm always just worried about RBs healthy enough going into winter. Alright, so when you're doing a colony inspection, you're going to look for a few things. Will look for a store to food. Do they have pollen in their columns? Do they have nectar and honey? And then if they don't or if they don't have enough, we would give them supplemental foods. So there are protein patties we can feed in place of pollen, or we can feed sugar syrup or sugar or candies and in place of honey. We also want to make sure that they have the appropriate amount of space. So again, throughout the season, in the spring, we're often adding boxes and that's to provide more space for the queen delay and for incoming nectar. And then beekeepers will typically harvest honey in the fall if they have surplus tiny to harvest. Then going into winter, that colony is size or populations a little bit smaller, so they'd go in with fewer boxes. We're also looking for signs of the colony being queen, right? So typically we're just looking for eggs that have been laid by a queen. We don't need to find the queen and each inspection, it's actually a lot of work and sometimes frustrating and stressful on the bees. If you go through frame-by-frame trying to find the queen each time. But we are looking for those eggs to make sure that there is a queen and the colony and laying. If the queen dies or if we need to replace the queen, there are several options in terms of purchasing a new queen or letting these raise a new queen from some young female RD. We're also looking for to see if the colonies healthy. So we're looking at the brood to see if it looks pretty uniform and healthy. And we're not seeing any signs of diseases or looking at the adult bees to make sure that they appear healthy. And then we're monitoring for ROW mice to see what those levels are. And if we need to intervene and do a management strategy to keep those might levels low. Alright? So beekeeping, candy, a fascinating hobby or small business or agricultural business. A lot of people are just kind of enchanted with how colon honeybees work together in a colony and what we can learn from them. So I have a few examples for you. Here. We have a couple of photos at B is giving off pheromones. And both cases there's tilting their abdomens up. In the photo on the left, they're giving off a pheromone called nasdaq, which is an orientation pheromone and they use it to try to stick together, especially if they're swarming or if we're opening up the hive. A lot of times honeybees will give off this pheromone because they're trying to make sure that they're staying together. A lot of people can smell this pheromone. It smells very lemony and very pleasant. On the right, we have a b with her stinger. And there's actually a little drop of venom at the tip of her stinger. And this B is giving off alarm pheromones, and that's because she's sensing a threat. This is a pheromone that will elicit other base to give off the alarm pheromone and elicit some of the bees to perhaps begins singing. So this is why we use smoking the height because it can kinda cover up that pheromone so the bees aren't able to communicate that threat. Some people can smell alarm pheromones. It smells like to a lot of people like artificial banana to my nose smells a little bit more like a brown or rotten banana. Right? Then we can also look at their behavior. So this behavior is really adorable. We have all of the bees looking up at us from the frames. It's also a guarding behavior. So this isn't quite at the level of bees giving off alarm pheromones, but they're guarding and watching when we open the hive. And so this is kinda the first, first age of defensive behavior that and another opportunity for us to use smoke as needed. So we also are paying attention to the way the bees flies. Sometimes the way they fly can show if they are just forging or they are exhibiting defensive behaviors. It's pretty cool and fascinating to be in the middle of the colony and around thousands of bees. And to be able to understand what they're communicating and respond to it. There's lots of different air moves inside the hive. So the brood gives off pheromones and the queen gives off pheromones that are spread throughout the colony. If we remove a queen, bees will know within a certain number of hours that the queen is no longer there and they will begin feeding some young female larvae, royal jelly, in order to raise new queens. Alright. So in general, as a beekeeper are also working with the natural instincts of the bees. Some of the best advice I can give to new beekeepers is to spend a lot of time learning honeybee biology. Because once you understand the biology, then it's much easier to figure out how to manage the b's. So e.g. again, it's oftentimes that will split colonies and the spring in order to deter some swarming. So we think about honeybee colonies as a super organism. And so we think about their reproduction not only in terms of the queen laying eggs, but also in the colonies splitting itself. And the way it does that is through swarming. Oftentimes in the spring it has this really strong reproductive urge and the colony will raise new queens and it will leave with, so it's oftentimes the older over Winter Queen will leave with about half of the bees in the hive. They'll congregate somewhere near the hive, oftentimes on a tree branch. While some of the scalp is look for a permanent location. And then once they have identified a new high vocation, the whole swarm will leave and move into that new HIV. So e.g. a. Tree cavity and the kind of that's left behind, well, have new queens emerged, one of those queens will get to be queen for that colony, and they have brewed and bees. Um, that are left in their original Hi. This is just the natural way that these reproduced. As beekeepers, we often split our colonies to try to deter swarms because we don't want our bees to make a high than a place where they could become a nuisance, e.g. the citing a rooftop of someone's phone. And because we oftentimes want to increase the number of colonies interoperation. And sometimes there is concern that if we have unmanaged colonies in the environment that aren't being managed for parasites and disease, that they might not have a good chance of survival or that they'll spread those parasites and diseases bacteria are managed colonies. So it's a pretty cool thing to watch a colonies form. But in general, a lot of times beekeepers will do their best to detect warming or to collect swarms when they can. Alright, so let's talk a little bit about the cost of getting started. So it really depends on where you get your equipment from and if you buy it on assembled or assembled are assembled and painted. But ballpark figures a high we can expect to be around $250 each, suggested that you start with at least two colonies. So that's about $500 for HIV equipment. So that's the boxes and the frames and making sure that you have enough boxes to add in throughout the season. For that incoming nectar. Started colonies are going to be about 200 each herself. The most common ways to bystander colonies are either a package of bees and that's a screened box with worker bees and a queen and a cage, or a nucleus colony. And I nucleus colony is like a small HIV. It has five frames of bees that has stored honey and pollen and brewed and a clean. Typically if you're buying these from other beekeepers in Michigan, you're buying a nucleus or a nuke. And that's because it's just easier with our seasons. Oftentimes for our beekeepers to make nucleus colonies are nukes to sell. Your beekeeping veil or soup can cost anywhere from around 25 to $150. Some beekeepers feel really comfortable just having a veil to protect their face. Without much other protection, other beekeepers prefer a full beekeeping suit to cover their arms and legs. Smokers going to cost around $50, maybe a little bit less. And that's important again to have on hand in case the V start giving off alarm pheromones and begin stinging. Even if you are working with really gentle bees and they're not being very defensive, it's always smart to have a smoker that slit and available and the beard. Then we use a hive tool which is like a pry bar to separate frames and separate boxes. Those are gonna be around $15 each, and you probably don't want to just buy one. It's good to have another one on hand. Even though we try to keep track of them, they tend to get lost in the bee yard now and then you'll have other costs. So medications or treatments, potentially replacement queens, sugar and supplemental feed at the pen if needed, depending on what your health care provider recommends. Honey extraction equipment, you can sometimes find B clubs that will lend out a honey extractor, but you might still need to buy some of your own equipment for that. And then honey jars and labels if you have surplus honey to extract. Ballpark figures, we'd say plan for a bowel or more than $1,500 just to get started. Another thing to think about that is really important with beekeeping is just how taxing it can be on your body. So it does require a lot of lifting. We add boxes in our move them throughout the beekeeping season. A full box of honey can weigh over 50 pounds. There are different sides of the boxes, so some of them are designed to be a little bit shorter or more narrow in order to be a little bit less heavy. But in general, honey is really happy. And boxes and frames are often hard to separate due to sticky residence. So earlier I mentioned that these will forage for resonance from trees and plants. And when they are back in the highly called ProPlus. And these seal the hives boxes together and the frames together. It can be very difficult to remove frames and boxes. And that's why we have to use that hive tool to sometimes separate or to separate those boxes and those frames. Alright. It requires a lot of lifting. We're pulling out frames and inspecting them. A full-frame of honey can weigh over a five pounds. And honey extraction requires a lot of repetitive movements. And these repetitive movements of five frames can be taxing over time. And we're often doing this physical labor under difficult conditions. So with their beekeeping suits and gloves, it can be sometimes limit or interfere with the range of motion and dexterity that we have. Then veils can restrict peripheral vision. And then also, it's always an exciting thing if we're adding more boxes on top of the hive, because The visa bringing in nectar and we're collecting surplus honey. But when boxes are full of plenty and they're high up, it can be pretty difficult to lift them. And the way that a hive is configured makes it really difficult to use proper lifting techniques. A lot of beekeepers, unfortunately do have back injuries. And sometimes we keep our bees in areas where there's uneven ground. And that can be difficult when we're doing all of these lifting and twisting movements. And on top of that or doing beekeeping work in hot weather. And you're thinking about that being fully suited sometimes if you're not open to just wearing a veil and you're being surrounded by stinging insects. All this work is happening. So it is something to really consider, what it will feel like to you and how you can do so in the most safe conditions. There are accommodations that can be made. So e.g. there are some different style of the pie is like horizontal hives that don't require as much lifting and are maybe more physically accessible. That said they can be pretty difficult for new beekeepers to manage honey bees. And because of there, sometimes you can't, don't have much ability to change the amount of space that the bees have access to. And sometimes the treatments that we use aren't designed for those styles of HIV. So I would say the horizontal style highest can be better depending on your physical limitations, but it can be more challenging to keep honeybees healthy and alive in general, it's a nice idea to have a buddy or a friend in the BR2 help you with lifting and just to have another person available in case anything happens. Alright? So a lot of people are interested in beekeeping because they want to help these. But remember we talked earlier about how we have all these species of native bees. And if we have an interest in conservation, we really want to focus on those native species of bees, not our honeybees, that we think of more as agriculture. If you want to help, B is the best thing that you can do is plant flowers for them. So there's lots of different flowers that you can plant. Some species of bees are more specialists, others are more generalists and lots of different flowers. But in general you want to find flowers, but these tend to visit and that produce nectar and pollen for them. We have a lot of resources on our website. Pollinators that MSU dot edu on planting for pollinators. You can find that in the resources tab of our website. And there you'll find planting options for all different sizes of gardens. So if you have a pollinator, space for a garden, you can make one that's attractive for pollinators. A lot of people are thinking about pollinator loans. So instead of just having turf grass, we're trying to incorporate some flowers that into our lungs, which can provide nectar or pollen for bees. If you have multiple acres, It's awesome if you can consider a large-scale pollinator planting. We do have resources on those as well as some case studies are stories of examples of people installing large-scale pollinator plantings. A lot of people, I don't think I realized how important trees are phobias, but trees that provide pollen and nectar to these can be huge sources of food because you have so many blossoms all at once. So some examples are maples and willows providing pawn in the spring. American password or linden, or is a great source of nectar for bees. There's lots of other types of trees that provide pollen or nectar. And so I'd encourage you to check out those options. We also have information on native bees and providing habitat for them, as well as minimising pesticide exposure to pull on it. Regardless of whether or not you decide to get started and beekeeping. We hope that you find ways to plant for pollinators are encouraged others to plan for pollinators. Honeybees need a lot of nectar and pollen from the environment, and we want to make sure that they had access to it. And we also want to make sure that all of our wild bees species have access tonight nectar and pollen. So you might be interested in native bees and habitat. There are some are some ways to increase new to be habitat. A lot of time though it's just leaving some bare ground and leaving stems and your gardens throughout the winter. Then again, we want to think about all of our wild species of bees. So there are now some concerns that honey bees might compete with other wild species of bees for nectar and pollen. There's also some concerns that honey bees might spread some of their diseases to our other species of bees. So the best way that we try to deal with some of these concerns is by trying to get more followers into the landscape. If we have more flowers, that should decrease the competition between different species of bees for nectar and pollen. And also if we have more flowers that should limit how the bees are interacting and hopefully reduce the potential of disease transmission. If you're interested in learning more, which I really hope you are, we have a free online course called pollinator champions. It takes about 6 h to complete. It goes through who are these are in Michigan, what issues they're facing and how people can help. You finished the course and you want resources to go share what you learned. You can become a certified pollinator champion for $30. And then we'll give you a PowerPoint presentation that you can use to talk about bees to local groups. So I hope that you take time to learn more about bees, whether or not you become a beekeeper. Alright, now I'm going to talk through some different resources for getting started keeping honeybees. The best way we think are our best, strongest recommendation for getting started is to spend at least a year learning about beekeeping before you actually buy your own bees and equipment. And so you can do this by buying a beekeeping, still, joining a local beekeeping club and getting an HIV experience, either through a big club, a big class, or a beekeeping mentor. At MSU, we offer some in higher classes. Oftentimes beekeeping clubs offer in HIV workshops or B schools. It's great if you can find someone to mentor you. It's because we have so many new beekeepers in Michigan, it can be pretty hard to find a mentor. And normally, people who have the time to mentor aren't, don't necessarily have the time to visit you at your own hive. So instead, it's best if you can offer to visit them at their highest, helped them with some of the lifting if you're able or other tasks and the bee yard, taking notes and then learning from them. While they manage their own Ds. Michigan has a really awesome network of B clubs. So we have about 30 different clubs in the state. You can find a list at Michigan beekeepers Associations website, which is Michigan This is a place where you'll find different clouds based on location. They are all run by volunteers. Each club is a little bit different, but they tend to meet monthly and really focus on providing new beekeepers with resources and information. If you're outside of Michigan, you can find it beekeeping club through the American beekeeping federations website, which has a list of state and local beekeeping organizations. Alright. Really, spending your first-year learning as much as you can from trusted resources. So again, focus on honeybee biology. Once you understand the biology of honeybees, the management practices and the decision-making tend to make a lot more sense. The local, you want to figure out your local beekeeping management and how beekeeping can vary quite a bit within the United States and then also around the world. So you want to focus on beekeeping strategies that work well for your local environment. And then take some time learning about bromides and how to monitor and manage them. There are several sources that you can learn from. We have lots of source information from University Extension, both Michigan State University Extension and other university extension. You can also join that local beekeeping club and look to them for information and resources. You can attend beekeeping conferences, workshops, and classes. There's a state conferences, regional conferences, national conferences or workshops that are offered by universities and by different beak gloves, and then classes as well. Then there's some really great books out there on beekeeping, especially on honeybee biology. There's beekeeping trade journals that you can subscribe to for typically monthly information. At two of those, e.g. our American Journal and B culture. Then there's a lot of online videos and the word of caution with those as just make sure that you're getting your information from a local and a credible source. There's a lot, you know, anyone can post a video of themselves keeping bees. And we want to make sure that we're getting our information from people who have a similar environment and also have experienced keeping their bees healthy and alive for several years. If you read or see something about beekeeping, it may not be true. It may be true, but not for your location. It may be true for your location, but not for your beekeeping operation. And maybe cheer for your location and your beekeeping operation. But not this year. If you're someone who really just wants to know what to do and when to do it. Beekeeping is probably not a good fit. There's a lot of beekeeping that depends on the seasons, the environment's pretty much any experience beekeeper knows that one thing you can expect is that this year is gonna be different than last year. Alright. I'm going to share some resources next. Again, our website is pollinators that MSU dot edu. And that'll bring you to Michigan pollinator initiative through Michigan State University. We have a document on Michigan beekeeping rules and regulations where we compile irrelevant information for beekeepers in Michigan. So it covers Michigan, right to format and the camps. It covers moving hybrid cross state lines, especially for migratory or commercial beekeeping operations. Honey processing regulations, rules for selling and labeling honey jars and more. You'll find that on our page of resources or beekeepers. We also compile events. So if you go to our website pollinators dot MSU dot edu, and click the Events tab, you'll see several different events. We host monthly webinars for beekeepers throughout the beekeeping season where we'll cover seasonal management topics. And we also have lots of time for questions and answers. So this is a great place to join for local seasonal information. And then to hear what other questions beekeepers have and they get answers to your own questions. We also co-host the Michigan Beekeepers Association's Spring Conference on campus every year. This year it will be on Saturday, March 11th at MSU at the Kellogg Center. So you can register for that. And then we have ways for you to stay connected and receive information, as well as upcoming events. And you can find, you can sign up for an email news digest by going to our website, clicking, stay connected, and then newsletter and then selecting the pollinators and pollination news digest. And that will give you regular emails, but upcoming events and relevant resources. Alright, and we really do work hard to help answer beekeeping questions. So one of the best ways to do that is to ask questions other than joining our monthly webinars, is to go to our website and click questions. And there you'll find an ask extension form where you can ask a question and then you can also upload images. So e.g. if you have an issue in your hive and you're not sure what you're saying. You can take photos, send them to us, and then we're able to respond to your questions. We have a YouTube channel with information for beekeepers as well as several recorded webinars on planting for bees and on wild bee species at the Michigan State University beekeeping YouTube channel. Then we're also on Facebook. So specifically for honeybees and beekeeping, our page is MSU beekeeping, um, er, MSU honeybees. And then Michigan pollinator initiative is our Facebook page. That's all things pollinators. And again, I'm with MSU Extension. Our programs are open to everyone. Here's my contact information. The best way to reach out to me is through that link at the bottom, pollinators that MSU dot edu slash questions, and that'll bring you to our Ask extension for him. All right. With that, I'm looking forward to hearing your questions. Thanks Ana, for all that great information. So I tried to share the links that you send me, but I realized that the chat is only open for you and I so if somebody can maybe type on the Q&A resources, I'll put I'll type the all types of resources there. But in the meantime, we're going to start with the first question. Sure. Norah. She says, I do not understand why we would feed them sugar instead of hunting. Clearly, Connie's their own food. If it's to save money, we should look at the overall health of the bee, which in the long run will save money. Is there a different reason to use sugar instead of honey? This is a great question. I'm real quick and I put links in the chapter. I think it's a one-way situation so we can send chats. It's just that the attendees can't. So I'm going to do that real quick. And so a lot of the resources I mentioned now you'll have links to I love the question. Is that okay, here we go. So I had to do it in two chats because I have so many likes. Alright, I love that question. I think it's really great and really nice to hear how you're thinking about honeybees and their health. Unfortunately, one of the diseases that I mentioned called American foul brood has spores that can remain in honey. So we don't want to feed our honey bees, honey from unknown sources because it can contain that sport. And that's a disease that we take really seriously. Oftentimes beekeepers at will burn hives or destroy hives if that disease comes up, but in order to prevent the spread. So that's the main reason we don't spread. Feed honey to RB is sometimes beekeepers, if they have surplus honey from their own bees, they might use that for feeding. It's actually pretty common for beekeepers to move frames from one HIV than others. So if one has plenty of honey, we'll give it a colony that needs more honey, one of those frames. But in general, sugar water is much, much better than having our bees starve. So we are quick to feed syrup if we need to. Perfect. The next question from Carol. She asked, when and how often should they be treated? That's a great question. And if you get beekeeping, one of the things you'll start to hear a lot is it depends. That is, I think the most common answer to any beekeeping question. So it really does depend on, it depends on what the level is R. It depends on what treatments you use and how effective they are. It depends if your colony had a brood break, so a time when the queen wasn't laying and then the rural mites couldn't reproduce and the brood. So very much depends. I will say with our colonies at MSU, we're probably treating most of them about four times a year, so quite a bit in order to try to keep those might level is low and keep them healthy. There are again, some non-treatment things that we do in order to try to keep my levels low. They're just normally not enough by themselves. Perfect. Next question we have is, whatever tree for flowers with small footprint than short flowered plants spread out. So I think the best place to look about for, for planting resources, that website. So you don't have it right now. You can pull up an email and I'll send it to you. But there are lots of different trees and we do have a whole team of people at MSU Extension who work on consumer corporate culture and helping you plant in a lot of them focus on planting per kilometers so we can give you some recommendations, but I don't have any specific suggestions at the top of my head right now. Okay. Next question is, when are the MSU in Hyde classes? I didn't find them on the website. Great. So we're hoping to post them on the website within the next couple of weeks. There is a queen ran workshop on the website already, but that's more of an intermediate or advanced topic with them. By the end of March, we'll say we'll ever in high workshops posted. Perfect. And you're going to share that on your social media to your right? Sure. Yeah. They're gonna revise page Yep. Are they will be on our Events Page. Perfect. Can you please provide the link for the MSU pollinator champions? Sir? I'll put that in the chat here real quick. Okay. Next question. Sugar syrup ratios for different times of the year. Yeah. Yes, that's a great question here and I do the pollinator champions and girl. So you'll see that in the chat and you can feel free to sign up. Yeah, so it's pretty common for beekeepers to feed what we call light syrup and the spring. So that's often a ratio of one part sugar to one part water. You can do it by weight, but a lot of times we just do it by volume because it's a little bit easier to measure. And then oftentimes in the fall we're feeding heavier syrup. So two parts, cigarette at one part water, it probably doesn't make a whole big difference. And there's some data that are suggesting that it's a cigarette. But for the fall it is nice to give them heavier syrup because they need to evaporate or dry out that syrup so that it doesn't ferment. So it's nicer to have a thicker stirrup. Perfect. Next question is, how long can the workers survived and the high without a queen before they grow wheat? Yeah, so typically they're only going to suddenly going to be a small number of hours before a colony starts raising a new queen. And then it takes that clean about, since they're raising it from a young larval stage, about 14 days to emerge. Then it takes that new queen a couple of weeks to go on mating flights so that she's fully made it before she begins laying eggs so they can live. Let's say, you know, about a month between queens laying in the hive. If it's longer than that or if something happens to the new queen and e.g. she doesn't return from a mating flight, then that colony is what we call hopelessly queen list. And some of the workers will begin laying eggs. But because since the workers can't mate, they can only lay on fertilize eggs to all the eggs develop into drones. And so that is a very common beekeeping issue that we ran into and there's ways we can resolve it. Typically we just combine that queen list HIV. That's the hopelessly queen less with the colony. That's clean, right? And that's another reason why we really like you to start with at least two colonies. So that if you find yourself in that situation where your colony can't get back on track, you can just combine the colonies. Perfect. Our next question is those MSU provide free plans? Not that I'm aware of, although I would check with our consumer horticulture team in case they know of any events where people are giving out plants. There are some options for if you're doing large-scale pollinator plantings. So several acres where you can get some assistance. There's both USDA and non-profit organizations that will provide some assistance to use. So that's on our pollinator planting webpage under large-scale pollinator habitat. Yeah, Anybody not? There's always some groups in your community that are giving out plans or seed exchange of seats that you can start your flower garden for your bees. Next question. In general, what is the time commitment to ten to two to three highest? Again, I'm gonna go with my standard beekeeping answer, which is, it depends. If you're a brand new beekeeper, it's going to generally take you much longer to go through a colony. So I would expect to take a couple of hours and your weekend from the time when you gather materials, you get to your yard, you sued up, you get the smoker started. You open up your hive and you kinda learn to figure out what you're looking at. Take your notes, close everything up. I would say probably up to a couple of hours for a couple of hives. Went to your experience, do you can go through Colonies really quickly, but it does sometimes take time when you don't know what you're looking at and you're not used to handling all that equipment, then as far as the frequency goes, I would say in the spring, you're probably going to check your colonies anywhere from every week, every couple of weeks. And then in the summer and the fall that can be a little bit less frequent, maybe every two to three weeks. As a new beekeeper though, you generally need to check your colonies more frequently because it's much harder to anticipate what the colony is going to look like a few weeks from now, as you get experience, you are able to anticipate that you're able to leave them with extra boxes when you expect a strong nectar flow. So it depends. And then in the winter we are not talking or colonies very much at all. We do is check them every once in a while just to make sure they still have honey to feed on. And then we can feed if we need to grade. And we have a one comment here for plants. Check if your county conservation districts spring orders being taken now for late spring arrival. Yes, that's a great point. Thank you for sharing that. Well, since we don't have any more questions. Thank you. Thank you for all the information you shared today. And this concludes this session. Thank you and enjoy the rest of your night.