Friday, April 9, 2010

After a long winters nap, we're back! And ready for spring!

Steller Apiaries has been on somewhat of a hiatus, but now we're settled and ready to get back to business. We recently moved from our rented property in Whitmore Lake, to our new home, complete with eight acres for the bees, in Jackson. We've had an interesting off-season along the way. We went into the winter with thirteen beehives, some that we combined for over-wintering, so we figured it to turn into ten hives. We ran into some issues with mouse nests in our Kenyan top bar hives, and have since re-designed some of the key components to our most prized hive.

In addition to some trouble with mice, we took on some trouble with our township and their local ordinance. Mind you this was written in 1987, so I suppose I can't blame them, but I found it to be a tad ignorant that we received harassment from our township for housing "exotic pets" on our property; meaning the bees. After a meeting with our zoning administrator, we saw how our bees were going to be perceived and new we had a fight on our hands. A fight worth fighting! Through much research and tedious phone calls and emails, we were relieved to see that though the township has restrictions, they cannot trump what is accepted in the state of Michigan and the USDA as GAAMPS.

GAAMPS stands for Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices, and they update this document from time to time, and we were so relieved that a new chapter happened to be exactly the documentation we were looking for! Check out the link above, it has the official document related to the protection of the honey bee as well as the beekeeper when it comes to harassment, negative attention, and even lawsuits.
(You will need Adobe Reader to access this information)

Now that we're ready for spring to be here, we're busy building hive bodies, setting up removals of established colonies, harvesting our honey, and waiting for swarm season! More updates to come!

P.S. A very big thank you to those that stayed loyal over our winter season though you were without updates! Now we're in it full swing and you can rest assured you won't have to wait too long without a word from us here at Steller Apiaries! Happy beekeeping!