For the last decade we have seen a degrade in the quality of our bees during the summers here in SW Florida. Due to numerous factors including nectar dearth, severe heat, rain, hurricanes, and loss of coastal locations to place bees due to foliage clearing and developments, we found every summer the percentage of hive losses was getting higher and higher. All this led to us coordinating to take our bees to southern Michigan for the summer months.
One of our bee yards in East Naples became severely flooded after 3 days worth of afternoon storms.
The extent of the flooding made it impossible to get our skid-steer to the bees. We ended up having to pick the pallets up by hand and ferry the bees out on a jon-boat to the truck.
We ended up losing about 50% of the bees in this yard due to the flooding, about 24 of the 48 hives.
We were given the opportunity to send some of our hives to Michigan with a friend that would look after them for us as we could not go with them. That summer, of the 200 hives that went to Michigan, there was only a 5% loss. The hives that had been left in Florida decreased by about 60%. We quickly learned how we needed to change our summer plans.
Our first summer taking our entire family and bee operation to Michigan for the summer.
Unfortunately we ended up coming back just in time for Hurricane Ian but we were blessed in only losing about 80 hives. We know beekeepers that lost thousands, not to mention all the people that lost loved ones and homes.
We know had our bees not been in Michigan up until then, we wouldn't have had any hives left after the storm.
We continue to take our whole bee operation to Michigan every summer.
The whole family goes, including the 3 small kids and 3 large dogs. We live in a camper trailer and live like a bunch of bee gypsies!
But we make the best of it and the bees thrive.
The bees are put on pollination of crops and they also make some really unique honey varieties. Most of the honey we sell before we come back; but we do bring some honey home for ourselves and for the people that ask to try some.
Thank you for reading about our Michigan bee adventures. And thank you for your continued support, its what makes this all possible!