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SBGMI Virtual Winter Conference 2024

The 3rd Annual SBGMI Virtual Winter Conference is brought to you by Northern Bee Books and the Natural Bee Husbandry Magazine, Miller Bee Supply, Premier Bee Products, Hill Co. Beekeeping Products, American Bee Journal, Bee Culture Magazine, and BetterBee

Please join us February 24, 2024 beginning at 8:00am(est) (may change) for a live and interactive conference featuring 9 dynamic and exciting speakers. Registered attendees will receive one year of group membership to the Sustainable Beekeepers Guild of Michigan which includes a complimentary six-month digital subscription to the Natural Bee Husbandry magazine, access to conference recordings, access to our local lending library, American Bee Journal/Bee Culture subscription Discounts, and much more!

Featured Speakers

Opening Keynote Presentation: Troy Hall, Hall Apiaries, “Keep it small, keep it all.”

The treasures that benefit our industry come out of small commercial apiaries. It is here beekeepers can be engaged in a multifaceted management scheme adapted to their bees and environment. It is also here I believe innovation for the future of our bees will result in breeding schemes that can solve some of the biggest issues we face.

I will share with you what I have learned and how I currently manage my apiary with this approach in mind. I will also discuss management for breeding, honey production, and raising the next generation of honey bees for replacement and sale. Today’s economy has enough challenges and like my bees – this is how I’ve learned to adapt!

Additional Speakers

For over a dozen years I have been working for a meaningful genetic solution to our Varroa problem. Beekeepers in commercial, migratory, and stationary operations all suffer the same dilemma as the beekeeper with only a few colonies – mites and diseases!

In this presentation you will learn what I feel is a proven technique that has long-term potential for the future of beekeeping. When it comes to pest management the toolkit for beekeepers is limited and we are beginning to run out of creative options. You will learn productive and impactful pest management options that will help you change your odds against Varroa for the better.

In this presentation on the science of cell starters, Ang Roell of They Keep Bees delves into the intricate world of honey bee biology, focusing on the critical role of cell starters in beekeeping. Ang, an experienced beekeeper, queen producer and passionate advocate for sustainable apiculture, explores the fascinating dynamics within a honey bee colony as it prepares to raise a new generation of bees.

Through a lens of curiosity, Ang Roell sheds light on the intricate process of selecting and nurturing cell starters while emphasizing the importance of genetic diversity and robust health in these foundational units.

Quality queens are the backbone of healthy and productive honey bee colonies and thus central to a successful beekeeping operation. Many beekeepers purchase their queens but in doing so also assume both risks and cost otherwise mitigated by raising your own well-nourished queens.

The art of queen rearing is a rewarding complex dance with the bees. Raising your own queens opens a window into the world of the bees most of us aren’t privileged too. Of all the mind-boggling methods of queen rearing available I have comprised my own techniques and tricks and will share my preferred methods with you.

For decades, beekeepers have continued to control Varroa populations by the use of chemicals and other invasive methods. However, throughout Africa and most of South and Central America mite-infested colonies survive without any form of mite-control. This has been linked with poor mite reproduction, although what causes this has remained unknown. Throughout, Europe the USA and Wales an increasing number of naturally evolved, mite-tolerant colonies are being discovered. The talk will discuss the various tolerant mechanisms and how honey bee populations in Brazil, Cuba, Africa, USA and UK all appear to have evolved similar ways to combat the Varroa mite.

What do we really know about locally adapted queens, and how important they are (or aren’t) for our beekeeping? With so many bee lineages being shipped to different climates and latitudes, how important is it to have bees from your own area? Is it better to keep a local lineage with “poor traits”, or to import foreign bees with “better traits”?

In this talk we will attempt to answer some of these questions, and may not come up with satisfying answers to any of them. We will explore how evolutionary biologists talk about adaptation, discuss the complexities of the honey bee mating system, and reflect on the value of continued selection on producing bees with our favorite traits.

Our management is one of the environmental factors that impress upon our bees.

Learning how our management and stewardship within a hive and surrounding landscapes affects our bees can help us to better decipher what we observe and how we select. There is a synergy as we begin to better understand how genetics, environment, and stewardship interact.

This presentation will share insights into emerging methodologies and applications of bee breeding selection based on these synergistic interactions.

UBeeO™ is a groundbreaking new tool designed to accurately predict a colony’s ability to self-manage mites and disease through hygienic behavior – a vital aspect of colony health.

Combined with skilled management and beekeeper intuition, UBeeO™ can guide you in improving apiary management through achieving and maintaining mite and disease resistance. 

I’ll plan to discuss what UBeeO™ is, how to use it, the benefits of high UBeeO™ queens, what we still need to know, and the latest updates regarding UBeeO™ availability in the US.

Feral bee colonies are intriguing in the way they choose their dwelling patterns. They often seek out secluded and protected locations, such as tree hollows, abandoned structures, or occupied dwellings to establish their hives. Understanding the preferences of feral colonies can provide us with valuable insights.

In this talk, we will take a look at feral colonies and their dwelling patterns to determine what draws them to these habitats. We will discuss how we can use that information to implement improved management strategies and bee health in our apiaries.

Virtual Conference Purpose

SBGMI was founded out of a desire to see an alternative to the permeation of prophylactic and systemic chemical treatment education and practice for mites (Varroa destructor) 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. We strive to ensure our members receive the support, resources, and opportunities needed to prosper along with their bees. This conference serves to bring together those who know, those who want to grow, and those curious about the path toward treatment-free beekeeping and sustainability in their own apiary!

You will learn from beekeepers who are successfully keeping bees in a manner that is within the spirit of the SBGMI Mission. You will also learn about core principles from our speakers on best practices, grow your apiary sustainably while focusing on a better bred bees. This conference will provide you with a new perspective, tools, and inspiration to implement the same into your current practice. Whether you are just starting out or looking to make some changes, these speakers will equip you with new and refreshed tools to better your practice and apiary! Our speakers are of good repute and plan to share their habits and philosophies that have enabled them to replicate success in their own apiaries while striving and achieving sustainability.

(includes annual individual SBGMI membership for new members, access to conference digital recording, 6-month NBH subscription, discounts on ABJ, Bee Culture, Premier Bee Products, ABC Master Academy, Cutler Bee Supply, Napoleon Bee Supply plus more)

Price increases to $55.00 effective December 1st, 2023
SBGMI Members Receive $20.00 Discount on registration


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