Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

February 23, 2014

Benzie County bees stay north for the winter

BEULAH—Benzie County beekeeper Greg Griswold considers taking his honeybees to warmer climates during the winter, but he prefers keeping them in northern Michigan.

“My bees stay here all winter and they sleep in the snow bank,” he said.

Griswold is one of the few beekeepers in the region who keeps his bees through the winter season. His goal is to develop a northern Michigan hardy bee, which is no small challenge.

“This year, the snowfall is a big plus for my bees, as the hives are below the snow’s surface and they’re insulated from the cold. When it melts, it will provide good ground moisture for the plants they use to make honey,” he said.

Griswold is concerned about the health of his bees that produce honey for his growing business, Champion Hill Farm, and he’s also concerned about the declining honeybee population across the nation. Beekeepers started reporting higher than usual losses to their colonies in 2006. Scientists have since been trying to identify the cause for what is known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Federal officials say CCD is threatening the health of honeybees and the economic stability of beekeeping in the United States.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Research Laboratory has identified a number of possible causes: the acute and sub-lethal effects of pesticides, poor nutrition, genetics and the parasitic Varroa mite—the single most detrimental pest of honey bees.

“All these factors are the perfect storm,” said Griswold. “It’s very difficult to get a handle on what is going on. It’s very complicated. The Varroa mite is my nemesis. They have killed more bees than anything out there.”

Zachary Huang, associate professor in Honey Bee Biology at Michigan State University, is closely studying bees, looking for clues to explain CCD.

Text Only

the BIZ

AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide