honey bees

Honey bees on the farm will pollinate our flowers.  Todd began a relationship with honey bees over 50 years when he and his brother Tom, 9 years old, bought their first hive for their family farm. They were enchanted by how industrious the bees were, giving them honey, pollen, propolis and beeswax for candles and salve. Around 40% of what is eaten is pollinated by insects, this to a great degree by honey bees. Because there are so few nectar & pollen plants on Thornhill Farm, we are planting these plants for the bees. We know the soil is worn out on the farm because our honey bees make so little honey. This is why we have pigs. When the forest is cleared, we do not burn the wood that is left behind, but chip it and mix these wood chips with manure and fungus mycelium to make piles of compost to improve the soil. Last summer we grew peas and oats as a green manure crop, and the pea flowers gave voluminous amounts of nectar to the honey bees and pollinating insects.


 Health & the Hive: A Beekeeper’s Journey

A Jan Cannon Film that explores the importance of honeybees in our lives through the seasons of Honey Gardens Apiaries, Todd and the team. Topics addressed in the film include pollination, queen breeding, disease control, bee venom therapy, organic agriculture and honey-based plant medicine. 53 minute dvd. $10 + $4 (shipping).
to order, send a check to: 198 Taylor Road, Greensboro Bend, Vermont 05842


writings & images about the honey bees of Thornhill Farm


Live from the Hive by Annie Watson – Winter 1997 to July 2015 archives

  • a profile in courage, Paul Cappy It is always an honor to be around a person of courage. This week I spent three days with Paul Cappy as we gathered some of our colonies of honey bees in eight yards around and in Chittenden and Addison Country, Vermont; he is taking over the stewardship of these bees, bringing them to Florida for ...
  • honeybees in traditional communities, Ghana, Africa a field report from Keith Morris, part 1 of 2 Throughout this past summer I’ve had the honor of working in West Africa as a volunteer apiculture specialist with FarmServe Africa. I met with small family farmers, youth groups, a variety of co-ops, women’s collectives, ‘resettlement communities’, university students and professors, as well as agricultural specialists ...
  • seeing interdependence of nature and people The gathering of elderberries will continue for several weeks as the luscious umbels of purple berries ripen at a different pace throughout the fields. Walking through the plants we can see that the deer have been here and left their mark. There are chunks missing from leaves on one side of the land. After growing for three ...
  • raising queen bees from survivors in organic beekeeping Each of these waxy peanut-shaped cells contains a queen bee that within the hour are placed within a small, four frame mini-hive called a nucleus. After another day a virgin queen will emerge and in another 2 weeks she will be fully mated and laying eggs, the bees collecting nectar and pollen, and the hive ...
  • our best crop There are defining moments in life that you always remember, a passage in a relationship that is a poignant reminder of a special time. This month our daughter Meriwether became comfortable with the bees and is now a beekeeper. In what could be the hardest week of the year, we needed help in the field. The strong ...