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

  • The Season Turns Beehives on a snowy morning and Goat Willow in bloom. Winter shifts into spring with the Spring Equinox on March 20, and with the change comes contrasts in weather. One day it’s 45 degrees and the pussy willows are blooming; the next morning everything is covered with 6 inches of snow. On warm days the bees ...
  • Winter Cluster, Winter Cold Winter Cluster, Winter Cold When cold weather comes, honeybees form a tight cluster inside the hive to keep warm. The cluster’s dense outer mantle of bees can approach bird feathers or mammal fur in its ability to insulate. Within, the looser inner core of bees surrounds the queen, and can reach a temperature of 90 degrees! ...
  • The Turning of the Year From the cover of an old scrapbook, found at justsomethingimade.com In the old days in many parts of England and Scotland, it was said that honeybees hummed in their hives exactly at midnight on Christmas eve — some even said they sang a Christmas hymn. This belief also existed in France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Germany. (See ...
  • Winter Arrives Beehives near Kirstead Green, Norfolk, Great Britain. © Copyright Evelyn Simak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License We’re heading to the bottom of the year now. In the last few months, the bees have worked hard to make enough honey to get through the winter and build up enough numbers to reproduce and ...
  • Fruits of Their Labors The staghorn sumac (Rhus typhinia or Rhus hirta) flowers that the honeybees pollinated in June have developed into dark, velvety fruit clusters, or drupes. You can gather the drupes to make into a Vitamin C- and flavor-rich drink, or to dry and use next summer for your smoker fuel if you keep bees. Make sure ...