Our Bees

Our mission is to produce strong, healthy, productive bees that can survive in northern climates with minimal intervention.  Our goal is to produce better bees for bees that  climates that can handle current pests and pathogens, and respond to our climate in Michigan.  We raise queens from our own stock that we have collected over the years, and we introduce new genetics, especially those that exhibit traits that can handle varroa.  Our goal is to provide beekeepers access to better genetics. 

  • If you would like to be on the mailing list for future classes or nuc and queen info, please sign up here.
  • For information on what we will offer in 2018  Click here. 
  • We are no longer taking orders for mated queens, though we may have cells and virgins available.  For information on cells and virgins, please email or call  (sandhillbees@gmail.com / 651-428-0543)
Scroll down for information on our queens and how we select for the best bees. 
God save the queen - Photo by Sarah B. Scott

God save the queen - Photo by Sarah B. Scott

Purdue Mite Biters Developed by Greg Hunt and Krispn Given at Purdue University, these bees were selected to target phoretic mites (mites that are running loose in the hive).   They are more likely to recognize, attack, and damage mites when they are in the hive.  Breeder queens and drones for insemination are selected from colonies with over 40% mite drop showing damage.  Read more in the Bee Culture April 2016 article on the Purdue Breeding Program.   For the last 3 years I have gotten a breeder queen through this program.  I have grafted off of them directly for sale, and used a lot of their stock to fill my drone yards. 

VSH Varroa Sensitive Hygienic bees were bred to recognize mites that are underneath the cappings.  Worker bees will remove the damaged pupae, making the mites at risk for predation, and disrupting their reproduction cycle.  In 2017 I received a breeder queen from VP queens, and will be incorporating these genetics into my drone yards, as well as making daughters available for sale.

Michigan Mutts The bulk of our stock are bees that we collected from swarms, cut outs, or were trades from other Michigan Beekeepers.   We evaluate colonies for two years before they can potentially become breeder stock.  In order to make the cut, the bees have to have good temper and temperament (they have to be nice and nice to manage), must produce sufficient honey, and must be able to handle varroa without chemical intervention.  The first year, the colony grows, and must survive the winter. The second year, it must operate as a full colony, have low levels of varroa without treatment, and survive a second winter.  

 

All of the queens that I sell are open mated in our home apiary in Munith, MI.   I have drone yards surrounding the yard with big colonies with drone frames, and I provide queens to my neighbors, so I try to flood the area with good genetics. For 2017, the bulk of the drone yards have Mite Biter Daughters from 2016 (unrelated to the queen I'll get in 2017).   I'll add VSH daughters this coming year, for drones for 2018.    

Other producers in Michigan with Purdue Mite Biter breeder queens (2017): 

For other states, please contact the Heartland Honey Bee Breeders Cooperativehttps://sites.google.com/site/heartlandhoneybeecoop/

Meghan Milbrath   | sandhillbees@gmail.com
Fred Ransome  |   fredransome@aol.com - WI
Nick Groenhof  |  ngroenhof@gmail.com
Glenn Willoughby  |  gwilloughby.northernbee@hotmail.com
Mike Risk  |  mrisk75@gmail.com
Gregg Willis  |  willis.willis3@gmail.com
Sheldon Schwietek  |  beesnug@me.com
Michael Sautter  |  msautter9361@comcast.net
Jamie Ostrowski  |   queenbeeenterprisesinc@gmail.com