Erin Hampton/ The State News

Erin Hampton/ The State News

Some dates not yet scheduled for 2019.  Sign up for our mailing list to get more details. 

Gentle Beekeeping

Learn the art of handling the hive, and how to interpret what the bees are telling you.  At the Sand Hill, we focus on 'speaking bee' - where our management is determined by what the bees tell us that they need.  Learn how to work with your colony without causing them distress, how to interpret the bees actions, and how to read a hive to know if your bees' needs are being met.  We will focus on basic inspection and handling techniques, but this course is designed for all levels of beekeepers. 

Requeening your hive and Making a Nuc

Your colony has the best chance of going through winter with a young local queen. Not comfortable re-queening? In this clinic you will learn how to make a nuc with your old queen and to requeen your hive with a new queen.  You can even pick up a nuc box and queen at the clinic.  Learn how successfully requeen, and get all the tools you need in the same day! Cost of the full clinic will be $100, and will include a wooden nuc box ($40 value), a Michigan Queen ($35 Value), and handouts (priceless).  Clinic only will be $25 (you can have the handouts too).   

Open House

We will be hosting an open house this summer -  see the operation, ask questions, eat good food, and see how the nucs are made. This will be free, and a free-for all.   I'll show you how I keep bees, tour the mating yard, answer questions, and discuss all the systems that worked and didn't work for us this year.  Old-timers and individuals willing to tell me how I can make my operation better are especially welcome!

2019 Teaching/Speaking Schedule

Below is my schedule for 2019. I’m taking a break from out of state travel for a while, so I’m not scheduling any physical trips outside of the state of Michigan. However, I am willing to talk with your club through the power of the internet. I can use a program called zoom. It is free, and you can still hear me and see me and my slides.  All you need is a computer, screen, good internet connection, and a microphone on your end, and I can set up the meeting. Its easier on me, your club’s treasurer, and the environment. Contact me if you are interested.

  • January 9 - 12, 2019 - American Bee Research Conference

  • January 21, 2019 - Knox County Beekeepers Association

  • February 22-23, 2019 - Nevada State Beekeepers

  • March 3, 2019 - 4-Corners Beekeepers

  • March 9-10, 2019 - Michigan Beekeepers Association, East Lansing, MI

  • March 16, 2019 - South East Michigan Beekeepers Association, Novi, MI

  • March 23, 2019 - Bee Prepared, Jolliet Illinois

  • March 25, 2019 - Fox Valley Beekeepers, Batavia, Illinois

  • March 30, 2019 - Upper Peninsula Beekeeping Conference, Marquette, MI

  • April 4, 2019 - Muskegon, MI

  • June 10, 2019 - Center of Michigan Beekeepers, East Lansing, MI

  • June 27, 2019 - Montgomery County Beekeepers

  • July 3, 2019 - Grand Rapids Beekeepers

  • July 10 - July 14 - Western Apicultural Society

  • July 17, 2019 - Eastern Apicultural Society

  • August 18, 2019 - South East Michigan Beekeepers Association, Novi, MI

  • October 4-6 - Northern Michigan Natural Beekeepers Conference, Benzie County, MI

  • December 8, 2019 - River Raisen Beekeepers


Dr. Meghan Milbrath began working bees with her father as a child over 20 years ago, and now owns and manages The Sand Hill Apiary, a small livestock and queen rearing operation in Munith, Michigan. She studied biology at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, and received degrees in public health from Tulane University and the University of Michigan, where she focused on environmental health sciences and disease transmission risk.  Meghan worked as a postdoctoral research associate under Zachary Huang at Michigan State University, studying nosema disease, and is currently an academic specialist at MSU, where she does honey bee and pollinator research and extension and is the coordinator of the Michigan Pollinator Initiative.   Meghan is active in multiple beekeeping organizations, writes for multiple beekeeping journals, and speaks about bees all over the country.  She currently runs the Northern Bee Network, a directory and resource site dedicated to supporting queen producers, and she is passionate about keeping and promoting healthy bees.

Commonly requested talks:

  • Amazing anatomical adaptations of Apis mellifera - The alternative title for this talk is “Why honey bees are the most amazing organisms ever”. We’ll see beautiful pictures and hear interesting facts about this fascinating creature. The focus of this talk is how honey bee anatomy drives their experience and perception and can guide our care.

  • Do you know what to do about American Foulbrood? - American foulbrood is a disease with potentially devastating consequences. Even though this is a serious risk for beekeepers, most can’t confidently identify the signs of this disease, nor would they know what to do if it showed up in their hives. This talk covers the biology of AFB, how to diagnose your hive, easy field tests, how to sterilize equipment, and how to navigate antibiotic use.

  • Gentle Beekeeping - This talk covers how we can work with bees to provide them with care while causing the least distress to them and ourselves. It is designed for the less confident beekeeper, or those who want to learn more about handling their bees. This talk comes from the viewpoint of animal handling - we’ll cover how to recognize when bees are becoming defensive, and how to trigger and subdue defensive behaviors.

  • Small scale queen rearing - Many beekeepers would like to raise their own queen cells, but are intimidated by the process. They are overwhelmed by the equipment and the many options in this process. This talk is targeted towards the beekeeper that is interested in getting started raising some queen cells. We will cover the basic steps involved with raising queens, and discuss options for raising queens, including those that don’t require grafting.

  • Towards treatment free - Every beekeeper wants to be treatment free, but many beekeepers who are trying to reduce chemical inputs end up losing lots of bees. This talk discusses the philosophy of treatment free beekeeping, and the theory behind some of the common practices. We’ll discuss a plan that allows you to keep bees with minimum inputs that doesn’t put your bees at risk.

  • Varroa biology and management - Many beekeepers are overwhelmed by all of the options for varroa control. Treatments range from good useful tools, to harsh chemicals, to useless gimmicks. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of each treatment option, and help guide beekeepers to make a plan to keep this pest under control. *** This talk can be 1 -3 hours, and can be combined with identifying how a colony is lost to varroa, varroa biology, and varroa monitoring.

  • Swarm biology and swarm control - It is so disheartening to lose your bees to the trees after getting them through a hard winter. Many beekeepers are intimidated by the process of swarm management, and many lose swarms because they wait too long to practice management. We’ll cover the early signs that indicate that a swarm will occur - so beekeepers can take action well before queen cells are formed, and we’ll discuss various strategies for managing colonies to prevent the loss of your bees from swarming.

  • Sustainable Northern Beekeeping using late season nucs - Never buy bees again! In this talk we cover a management strategy that can help beekeepers get off the treadmill of buying bees every year. We discuss how to make replacement colonies and expansion from within your operation, so you can be self-sufficient.

  • Successful overwintering - How do bees survive the winter cold? What can we do to make it easier on them? We’ll cover the biology of the the winter bee, with of focus on how their behavior can drive our management. We’ll also cover ways that we can improve overwinter success. *** It is really difficult to give this talk in October, because it really focuses on the work that needs to be done in August and September. Even though people request this talk in the fall, I’d much rather give it earlier in the year, so people are set up for success.


In the Media

Pollination Podcast - Episode 9 -

Blog Post -