The buzz on local bees

SKANDIA– Our ABC10 Feature this week highlights the only Hive House in the nation. ABC10’s Lauren Lee met up with the bee keeper to see what we can do to help our pollinators.

Now what actually is a hive house?

Bee keeper Joel Lantz who constructed this Hive House, compared the structure to a sauna. The wooden shack hosting hundreds of bees is popular in Eastern Europe. There the hive houses are seen as a therapy spa.

“The basic concept of this is you sleep over the bees, or you can rest over the bees, or you can have coffee in with the bees,” bee keeper Joel Lantz said. “They’re there but they can’t get to you. They’re underneath you, they’re all there screened up. You can smell the hive, you can hear the hive. It’s the closet you can get to being inside a bee hive without the bees on you.”

Joel and his wife built the Hive House two years ago. Since then they have welcomed travelers to stop by and experience the exotic form of relaxation. The couple describes their property as quite bee centered; taking care of hives, admiring the bees, and tracking swarms every day. The Lantz’s land is not for honey production but educational use hosting groups of children, seniors, and of course the Superior Bee Keeping Club.

While admiring the bees tending to their hive, I had to ask Joel how bees became a big part of his life.

“I got started in bee keeping over, oh boy, 40 years ago. Actually I had a daughter, she wanted a 4-H project, she says ‘dad well how about bees’ and I said ‘okay we can do that.’ Like most kids when they go off to college, or off to work, or whatever they are going to do-they leave their animals behind so dad gets to take care of it. So I have kept them ever since it’s been kind of a love affair.”

Queen bees lay 1,000 eggs a day and we are currently in the biggest honey production season, July. Some bee keeping duties include managing mites and making sure they have enough room to produce. Mites weaken bee hives causing a big problem, especially in the U.P. Commercial bee keepers rid of mites through chemicals, other bee keepers such as Joel as searching for an organic way to save the hives.

If you want to help save the bees but you can’t have a bee hive of your own, avoid using pesticides, let your lawn grown long, and plant lots of flowers.

For more information on the Hive House click on the link.