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I want to make a donation but I would like it to be tax-deductible. How can I help?

The SBGMI created the Northern Queen Initiative, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to facilitate the development of queen breeding initiative in the State of Michigan and Northern States. We are a registered 501 (c)(3) non-profit and tax exempt. Your donations are considered charitable donations. We use PayPal to process donations as they offer non-profits discounts on credit and transaction processing fees. You may also write a check and send it to “Northern Queen Initiative”, 11126 Wayne Rd., Romulus, MI. 48174.

If you wish to donate online please go to our PayPal donate option.

Why become an SBGMI member?

Discounts for American Bee Journal Magazine, Bee Culture Magazine, 6-months access to Natural Bee Husbandry Magazine, 10% off Napoleon Bee Supply, 6% off Cutler Bee Supply, 10% off Premier Beekeeping Products, 10% off Heffernan’s Woodenware, 5% off ABC Bees Master Academy, Hive-Hugger Hive Insulation System

30+ Hours of Streaming Winter Conference Speaker Content from Cory Stevens, Michael Bush, Nathalie Biggie, Adrian Quiney, Les Crowder, Terry Combs, John Harbo PhD, Jamie Ellis PhD, David peck, PhD, Robyn Underwood, PhD, Kim Flottum, Stephen Repasky, Troy Hall, Stephen Martin, PhD, Kaira Wagoner, PhD, Melanie Kirby, Ang Roell, Randy McCaffrey, Ryan Williamson – and more….

Additionally, your support is utilized to facilitate monthly presentations from beekeepers, researchers, and innovators who are all invested in sustainable beekeeping practices that focus on better bred bees. Recordings are posted when available or made accessible to registered members.

What do you recommend to Northern beekeepers for winter preparation?

1. Insulated tops made of foam board (1” fine and 2” better. Be sure to use something to separate bees from foam because they will chew it – reflectix or plastic/feed bags etc.).

2. No upper vents of any form – no quilt boxes, no moisture absorption contraptions of any kind.

3. Full open bottoms that allow bees the ability to regulate temperature themselves, be sure to add mouse guards (½” hardware cloth folded into the opening works well).

4. Adequate stores of honey, avoid taking more than you need and leave as much as you can for the bees. If short on feed add a shim, dry sugar, or sugar blocks in Dec/Jan.

5. Adequate forward pitch (front of hive lower than back) for excess moisture to drain from the entrance.

Do you recommend package bees?

1. Packages are often shipped from out of state with honey bees and queens that are not from our region or climate, may be harboring pathogens, and have poor genetic adaptation. Though they come early and you feel you are getting a headstart – if they perish due to these issues, the headstart is for nought!

2. Your odds of success are better with local “nucleus” or “nuc” colonies from a reputable beekeeper and locally adapted bees. “Nuc” colonies come with at least 5 frames of drawn comb, bee brood in all stages, and resources (pollen/nectar/honey). Frame types may vary (deep is most common, but some supply mediums).

3. Nucleus colonies may not always be readily available and waitlists start in the previous fall season. If you must buy a package it is recommended that you treat the package with Oxalic Acid dribble or vapor (while broodless) and requeen the colony with vetted local stock from a reputable queen producer. (Detailed Instructions for the Treatment)


1. Influence of brood pheromone on honey bee colony establishment and queen replacement

2. Instructional video on purchasing bees by Dr. Adam Ingrao from Bee Wise Farms discussing “Packages vs. Nucs” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fq8rXNg3lPM&ab_channel=BeeWiseFarms

3. What’s in that package? Dr. Jamie Strange presentation for Alameda Beekeepers Association https://youtu.be/_ueBGH1A7-8

4. “What’s in That Package? An Evaluation of Quality of Package Honey Bee Shipments in the United States” Full Text Link for Study Here

Can I reuse old pollen frames for new colonies?

There is no reason to toss out those old pollen frames or remove stored pollen for new colonies.

It has been said many times to throw the frames out “they won’t use old pollen.”

We should ask ourselves a few questions about this practice before wasting a perfectly good frame of pollen. Here are some observations I’ve made and a few studies that influence what I do with “stored pollen frames.”

  1. Beekeepers regularly supplement colonies with “fake pollen substitute patties” made from corn, wheat, and soy scraps. Yummo. What is more appealing about this than stored bee bread/pollen?
  2. When you buy a nucleus colony or a “start” from a beekeeper they typically give you a frame of “stored” bee pollen, which may or may not be old pollen (so – how do you know? you don’t) and that pollen is likely from the early spring or contains stores from the previous winter if it was an “overwintered” nucleus colony. So why do they tell me to throw the frame out from a dead-out but supply me one from a living colony?
  3. What is chemically different one frame to the other based on age? Do honeybees actually have a way to “expiry date” pollen stores?

So – here are some links to review the science behind pollen stores, please review them and let them help you make an informed decision about whether you can use those old frames or not. Based on my evaluation – that is some very valuable resource – and a great benefit to a colony that will need as much help as it can get when starting over fresh/new.

The Benefits of Pollen to Honey Bees

Hive-stored pollen of honey bees: many lines of evidence are consistent with pollen preservation, not nutrient conversion

Honey bees preferentially consume freshly-stored pollen

Honey Bee Health Coalition Nutrition Guide Addressing Pollen Substitutes

How do you introduce a virgin queen?

Introducing virgin queens can be tricky, but we have been very successful using an introduction method developed by Cory Stevens from Stevens Bee Company.  (Special thanks for compiling this FAQ by Matthew Kobe at Kobe Apiaries)

1. Remove the queen from the hive which you want to requeen.

2. Return to the colony in 8-9 days and remove all queen cells that the colony has started. This will make the colony hopelessly queenless as they do not have any young larva to develop a queen from. Be sure to shake or brush the bees off of the frames to ensure you do not miss any queen cells. If you miss even one cell, it is likely that the bees will kill the virgin queen you are trying to introduce to them. 

3. Add the virgin queen in a candy cage. You can choose to tape over the candy plug to extend the amount of time it takes for the bees to release the virgin queen. 

4. Check back in 3-5 days to ensure that the queen was released from the candy cage. If she has not been released, manually release her into the colony. 

5. Check back in 2-3 weeks for a mated queen. Do not check back too early as this can trigger the colony to kill the young queen.

6. Too long don’t want to read? Here is a video presentation on the subject matter from Cory Stevens: (https://youtu.be/wYD5_YULdyE?si=pJK7HHYbsvv5svpA)

Why do you charge for memberships?

The simple answer is, members who are committed to the mission and willing to invest are our biggest asset as an organization. Funds are used to develop beekeeper education, invite monthly speakers, and subsidize the financial expense for our media presence. Future programs include nuc exchange programs, mentorship, a developing forum, and earn-a-nuc program for mentees are also subsidized by these funds.

The SBGMI is not-for-profit but is listed in Michigan as Sustainable Beekeepers Guild of Michigan, LLC. Therefore we are tax liable.

Is the SBGMI a treatment-free beekeeping club?

Short Answer: No. The guild will focus on education, fostering, and support of hobbyists and sideliners to propagate local sustainable survivor honeybee genetics and improved drone breeding populations that complement chemical-free and survival queen rearing practices.

But – Treatment-Free beekeeping is 100% accepted in the SBGMI scope of practice and welcome you and your bees – as you join us on our mission, to see an alternative to the permeation of prophylactic and systemic chemical treatment education and practice for mites in modern beekeeping. The simple objective is to equip beekeepers with knowledge to reduce the dependence on these toxic interventions and facilitate sustainable beekeeping that trends toward better bred bees.

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