General Backyard Beekeeping Workshop
Was Held in Ewen on Saturday, March 15, 2008

Story by Linda Graham

Michigan State University Extension teamed up with White Birch Apiary owner, Les McBean to offer two beekeeping workshops this month. On Saturday, March 15th, a General Backyard Beekeeping Workshop was held at the Ewen-Trout Creek School in Ewen. Forty-one individuals attended this all-day class. Attendees were from as far away as Ironwood, Hancock, Gladstone, Ishpeming and Marquette.

The workshop began at 10:00AM with a brief history of bees. Bees are not native to the United States; the Dutch brought them here in the 1600's. Indians called the bee "the white man's fly". Les McBean had many magazines and companies that he recommended for more information and supplies. For those individuals who were new to beekeeping, some of the terminology was bait comb, frames, hot hives, supers, hive body, making splits, etc. According to Les McBean, "beekeeping puts you in touch with nature" with the honey making season running from April to September.

Les McBean has been a beekeeper for 20-plus year and currently has over 300 bee colonies. He started his business with 175 colonies but a beginner will only need two. According to beekeepers around the United States, UP honey is the best in the  country. Les feels that the dandelion and basswood pollen contribute to the flavor. Les McBean, owner of the White Birch Apiary in Bruce Crossing sells honey to local stores, sells bees, and rents a honey extractor. A license is needed by a beekeeper before being able to sell honey.

An Advanced Beekeeping Workshop is set for Saturday, March 29th at the Ewen-Trout Creek School. Pre-registration is required with a fee of $25.00 for adults and $15 for youth age 12 to 18. For more information, contact the Ontonagon County MSUE office at 906-884-4386.



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