Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What exactly do you mean by "natural beekeeping?"
Answer: When we refer to natural beekeeping, we're talking about raising bees without the use of medications or harsh chemicals . . . namely antibiotics and mite pesticides.
Q: Why do you raise your own bees?
A: Well, for one thing it's much cheaper to raise your own bees than to purchase them from a bee supplier. But the real reason we raise our own bees is because by selecting our hive increases from the strongest, best producing, most disease resistant colonies, we're doing ourselves a favor by encouraging the growth of better, more genetically diverse bees . . . and who wouldn't want that?
Q: What breed of bees do you have?
A: I have bee mutts. Back in the day when I purchased queens and packages, I always ordered Russian and Carnolian stock. Over the years, they've bred with feral bees to become hybrid mutts, so to speak. (I don't really care about pure bee breeds. The only thing I care about is disease resistance, genetic variation and winter survival.)
Q: When is the best time to order nucs?
A: It's best to order nucs in early Spring (around late February or March). I generally produce only around 20 nucs each season . . . so order early as it's first-come-first-served.
Q: Why is your honey so expensive?
A: I don't think it's all that expensive considering the methods I use to raise my bees and extract their honey. Look . . . we're a small, family-run farm, not a big corporate operation. We don't have a favorable economy of scale.
Q: Why is your honey so cheap?
A: Someone actually told me that my honey is priced like Walmart. Yikes! I think that I'm charging a fair price considering the tri-county market. (But next year, I'll have TWO kids in college, so don't be surprised if the price goes up a bit.)
Q: Shipping should be easier . . why do you make shipping so complicated?
A: We're really interested in serving the LOCAL market . . . Washtenaw, Jackson & Lenawee counties . . . so it's easier just to drop honey off without having to ship it. For those interested in purchasing local, naturally raised honey outside of our general area, I would encourage you to find a local beekeeper committed to our same beekeeping philosophy. (Beekeepers who think like us are growing in number, thank goodness.) In the meantime, let me simplify things by mentioning that we no longer ship our honey.
Q: Why don't you ship queens and / or nucs?
A: Beekeepers who are interested in purchasing queens or nucs should find LOCAL, high quality suppliers in their own area. Besides . . . we really only raise barely enough for our friends and neighbors in the greater Washtenaw County area.
Q: Do you pasteurize your honey?
A: No. The honey we sell is raw, straight-out-of-the-comb, coarsely filtered, healthful honey.
Q: Hey . . . there's a bee leg in the honey you sold me. Didn't you filter it?
A: Our honey is raw (unpasteurized) and coarsely filtered. That's a good thing because we all want the tiny particles of pollen suspended in local honey to help our bodies build hay-fever and seasonal allergy immunity (even though there is no hard scientific evidence to support this claim). As for the bee leg in your honey . . . no extra charge!
Q: Help! . . . the honey I purchased from you turned solid in about a month. What the heck is going on here?
A: All raw honey will crystallize over time. It's completely natural . . . and it doesn't affect the quality or taste of the honey at all. In fact, many folks like the consistency of crystallized honey because it spreads easily on toast. But if you wish, you can melt your crystallized honey by heating it gently in warm water (about 90 degrees F.) Don't heat your honey up too hot because heat destroys many of the beneficial enzymes found in unpasteurized, raw honey.
Q: Why are your hive boxes all different colors?
A: Because I pick up the rejected / returned paint mark-downs at Lowes and Home Depot.
Q: Is beekeeping your full-time work?
A: I retired from teaching art / art history in Ann Arbor Public Schools in 2019, so beekeeping is keeping me busy most days.
Q: Do you ever get stung?
Q: But doesn't that hurt?