"Things with Wings" is an annual celebration of bugs, birds, and butterflies at Matthaei Botanical Gardens (1800 N. Dixboro Rd., Ann Arbor, MI). This year, A2B2 club members introduced attendees to honeybees with our observation hive featuring real, live bees! Visitors also got to inspect beekeeping equipment, sample honey, and learn more about these fascinating creatures. Many thanks to all those who helped make the day a success!
Each year in early spring, A2B2 sponsors an equipment-building session to teach club members and bee school students how to assemble hive woodenware correctly. Club experts provide hands-on demonstrations, instruction, and necessary tools, with the focus on assembling frames and hive boxes. Many thanks to Dave Pearce, bee school instructor, for setting up and running the session this year. (Programs like this are just one benefit of club membership; learn more here.)
A2B2 Club offers two fee-based courses, for beginning and intermediate beekeepers, at Matthaei Botanical Gardens (1800 N. Dixboro Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48105). Classes meet February through October, and include classroom lectures as well as time outdoors in the teaching apiary. Participants gain valuable hands-on experience as they learn about equipment, bee biology, pests, honey extraction, and fall and winter preparation. Instructor: Dave Pearce.
This year's potluck on July 12 was a great success! Thank you so much to Slow Food Huron Valley for co-hosting; to Erica Kempter for her presentation on edible pollinator plants (download her slides here); to Eileen Dickinson for her leadership of the Bee Safe Neighborhood project in Ann Arbor; and to everyone who attended. We look forward to more community collaboration in the future!
Native plant expert Mark Charles of Wild Ones was our guest speaker at the April 12 club meeting. He has been growing native plants in his Ann Arbor yard since 1995. He has organized pollinator events for children, and helped with schoolyard butterfly gardens. He is a volunteer park steward for the City of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation.
Mark generously provided us with some handouts on planting for pollinators; download them below. Visit the Wild Ones website for more helpful info: http://www.wildones.org/.
Our annual members-only equipment build on April 9 was a huge success! Thank you so much to Dick Dyer for hosting, to Keith Lazar of Buggs Nest for providing woodenware for purchase, and to everyone who participated. Programs like this are a benefit of club membership; learn more here.
After a long, cold winter, it's been a busy spring around the A2B2 club! Our monthly meetings have been packed, and many folks went to one or more bee conferences in the area. I'm a newbee, myself, so I've been taking every opportunity to soak up as much information as I possibly can before my two packages arrive next Saturday. I'd like to give a shout out to all the seasoned beeks who have been so incredibly helpful to not only myself, but all of the beginners who are eagerly looking forward to giving their ladies and drones a happy, healthy life.
At the SEMBA conference, our very own Winn Harless gave an informative and entertaining talk about swarm catching. He even brought along a couple of his home-made contraptions to show us.
We also had an equipment building bee (like a quilting bee, only with power tools) at Dick Dyer's farm. A special thank you to Dick for letting folks camp out for half a day, and another special thank you to those who brought air compressors, power staplers and glue. It was a beautiful morning, and with everyone helping everyone, we were able to get all of our woodenware put together. I also added a new item to my wish list...a frame jig!
And last but not least...the bees began to arrive! A couple weeks ago, Meghan demonstrated how to install package bees into a top bar hive. These bees belong the UMBees club which has hives at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. It was a cold, windy day, so she didn't have to spray them with any sugar water. The girls were content to stick together and stay close to the queen. It didn't take long at all before the girls realized that the hive was a much better home than the crowded screened box and started waving their little bee-hinds in the air to give the "come on in" signal to their sisters. With the queen inside, they hunkered down to eat honey candy and work on furnishing their new house.
Tune in next time when we'll have highlights of bee school activities. This Sunday at Beginner's Bee School, we get to go inside the hive!
Enjoy the sunshine and dandelions, everyone!
Seek Forage is a group interested in various ways to increase the number and location of plants that pollinators use to improve habitat for honeybees, native bees and other pollinators in Michigan. For more information, contact Therese McCarthy (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Each spring, county Conservation Districts sponsor sales of tree seedlings and plants – and deadlines are quickly approaching. View a list of southeast Michigan Conservation District sales, with deadlines and links, here: