Steller Apiaries




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Steller Apiaries is owned and operated by Keith & Jessica Steller and located in Jackson, Michigan. Keith & Jessica began beekeeping in 2007 with one standard Langstroth (square box) hive, and hoping to provide enough honey to home-brew a traditional sack mead (like wine, but made with honey.) But, sadly were met with the loss of their colony the first winter. After two years of unsuccessful beekeeping, The Steller's opted to do a little research and make beekeeping about the honey bee, not the honey. Keith & Jessica started gaining an appreciation and fascination for the honey bee and were driven to research alternative methods mainly because of the many impractical methods associated with commercial or standard beekeeping. Hobby soon spun into a passion, and now to a career, and they haven't looked back!

With their research and knowledge beginning in 2010 The Steller's began volunteering their time with a small group in the Jackson area that were interested in natural, sustainable beekeeping. Today they are working toward being recognized as Michigan's first Alternative/Top Bar Beekeeping Association.

The Stellers moved to Jackson in 2009. Their apiary consists of eight acres with native Michigan wildflowers, fruit trees, some favorite blooms of the bees, as well as the Stellers vegetable and herb garden. We pride ourselves on being a family business and believe honesty and hard work will be the foundation of our business.we approach all aspects of our business as a family and strive to bring that hard work and pride to you.

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At Steller Apiaries we serve the community by providing information and education on backyard and sustainable beekeeping. It sounds like a lot of words, but here is how we break it down so that people can understand a little bit more of what we're working towards. Backyard represents that we're small scale. We are not commercial beekeepers, but we are a business- and with that business we try to maintain a strict code of ethics when it comes to the safety and well-being of our bee's. We don't mass-produce colonies of bees. We rely on Mother Nature to provide us with natural feral swarms that we can capture and observe. We harvest only the bee's surplus honey, but offer raw, local honey to the community. We do not apply any type of chemical, insecticde, medication or pesticide on our land nor our bees.

It sounds crazy, right? Of course you wouldn't put chemicals on your bees, but did you know most commercial beekeepers do?

On our eight acres in Jackson, MI we operate about 10-15 hives. Smaller communities are taking charge and getting more in-touch with how food is grown, harvested, treated, and shipped. We're interested in using that approach with our beekeeping; many people getting together, to all do a small share, for a better end result. 

We tend our bees strictly in alternative hives. From historically acurate log hives to newer alternative designs, we operate our apiary with our honey bees best interest at heart, not the amount of honey they can provide us. Honey bees, first and foremost, pollinate our food source. We rely on honey bees to pollinate over 90 varieties of fruits, vegetables, nuts and herbs. Yet, the honey bee is mostly famous for producing sticky, sweet honey. But did you know honey is created to be the honey bee's sole food source during the winter when there isn't pollen and nectar available? With that in mind, we have shifted the focus of our beekeeping, to promote a more natural seasonal cycle for the honey bee. For them to live as if we weren't here intervening at all!

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At Steller Apiaries we believe natural beekeeping is about keeping outside the box...literally. We pride ourselves on being top bar beekeepers that were made for bees. Bees have existed for more than 30 Million years and we've only been keeping them in hives for the past 4-6,000 years. They had to be doing something right without our help!

The practices we're most proud to announce that we follow are:
*We keep our bees in more natural hives that are associated with better bee health.
*As a result of using these types of hive bodies, we can say our hives (As well as our honey) are COMPLETELY MEDICATION FREE!
*We do not use four-sided frames for the bees to build out their comb structure. We use top bars to allow the bees to naturally cling to each other and build out their comb without obstruction.
*We do not use stamped foundation for our bees. There is no 'one size fits all' for humans, why should bees be any different? Allowing the bees to build all of their cells to their specific size also promotes health throughout the colony by not leaving excess cell size available to mites when larvae and pupae are gestating in the cells
*We cut, crush and strain our comb to harvest the honey, and nothing else. We do not mix our varieties of honey and you don't need an expensive honey house to process honey!
*Once we harvest wax from a colony, we don't put it back. Brood comb is often reused until it is unsuitable to be put back in the hive. Every bee that is born from a cell leaves behind cells (like our skin cells)
*We do not pasteurize our honey. What you do get is the raw, unprocessed, perfect honey that includes all of the health benefits associated with honey, pollen, propolis and the nutrients and enzymes they each contain.
*Our method of beekeeping is more related to 'outside observation.' Using our observation window we can see the bees progress without actually hindering their progress. Every time you open the hive and smoke the bees, they are gorging on honey unnecessarily while you simultaneously remove their retained heat and nest scent.
*We harvest our honey in the spring time, AFTER the bees have made it through the winter with their hard earned honey stores
We are 'backyard beekeepers' that practice a natural alternative to the commercial beekeeping industry. We pride ourselves on practicing, as well as providing information on alternative hive designs and construction. We sustain our bees without medication or stamped foundation and strictly keeping in alternative hives, such as the top bar hive and Warre hive, but we practice with many non-traditional hives even from an alternative beekeepers standpoint! We strive to make aware that honey bees are necessary for the sake of their pollination, not to manipulate them for honey production.
     We believe that a natural approach is the right approach to sustaining the bee population and we're doing our part to naturally and organically pollinate food sources and blooms alike!
Many have heard about the epidemic killing the bees, known as Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD.  We firmly believe the constant over-medication, strain and manipulation of bees for commercial quantities of honey are larger culprits than many in mainstream beekeeping are willing to admit. Keeping honey bees has become about the ease of tending for the beekeeper, not the honey bee. Sustaining your bees naturally and providing them the essentials they need can produce healthy colonies of bees that readily provide noticeable pollination, honey production, beeswax, and even duplicate and swarm. Caring for your bees naturally and sustainabley can provide hobbyists with very healthy bees. And healthy, happy bees provide us with essential and beautiful pollination as well as the best local honey you can get your hands on!
Steller Apiaries is located in Jackson, Michigan on eight glorious acres filled with our own vegetable garden, native wildflowers, and beautiful countryside. 
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