Saturday, February 24, 2018


Bees returning with the first pollen of the season Feb 24th.
 Orange pollen is from Grey Alder.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Flying in February

A warm February 20th afternoon after the fog burned off. Pollen feeders
are out and full, put up 2 weeks ago. Compensating for the poor fall season of  '17
some quality forage is just what the bees know they need for
healthy spring brood in '18. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Break in the Weather Jan 20

Took advantage of the break in the cold weather to visit a few of the 
bee yards, 47* calm and sunny. The bees seem to be holding their own,
most still heavy with stores although a few are lighter and will need some attention
in the next few weeks. Loses are minimal with a few small clusters getting caught by the cold temperatures of the last few weeks and a few others clustered high and away from the honey which is heavy in the bottom brood box.

Lots of cleansing flights with bee poop everywhere.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Islip Farmers Market Fall 2017

The Islip Farmers Market is open on Saturday mornings from 7am to 12pm beginning in late May and finishing in the middle of November. Our last market day this year is November 18th. 

Come visit us and the other vendors!

Islip Town Hall on Main St. in Islip.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

May in the bee yard

Lots blooming in late May and the bees know it! Tulip poplar, Black locust, Wild black cherry,
Red chestnut, Horse chestnut and white clover are just some of the blooms the bees are working lately. The bee yards smell of honey and the hives are getting heavy with nectar and honey and require constant attention so as not to run out room for storage. 
It's swarm season too and any colony that fills the brood nest with nectar so the queen has trouble finding open comb to lay eggs in is bound to head for the trees. A busy time for the bees and the beekeeper! Just the way we like it.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Empire State Honey Producers 2017 Summer Picnic July 22!

JULY 22, 2017

Theme: Determining Hive Health

Come join us at the 2017 ESHPA Summer Picnic at the famous Cornell Dyce Labs!  We’re going to do some hands-in-the-hive learning, play some beekeeping games, win door prizes, enjoy a good lunch and listen to the latest from Cornell bee researchers.

Picnic Date: July 22, 2017

Location: Dyce Lab for Honey Bee Research, 209 Freese Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850

Cost: $25 – includes Chicken BBQ, Pasta Primavera, Pesto Potato salad, breads cookies, water and soda from Ithaca Bakery (lunch pre-registration required by July 8).  Walk-in meeting-only registration also available.

Register online at or use the coupon on page 2 of newsletter.

Our special program includes a chance to learn from expert beekeepers (veils are required for everyone approaching live hives.) Planned breakout sessions include:

  • “Varroa detection in the hive” taught by Emma Mullen, CCE Extension specialist

  • "Hive inspection basics" by Earl Villecco, commercial beekeeper

  • “Supplemental feeding strategies using sugars and pollen” by Jim Doan, commercial beekeeper

  • “Making splits and nucs” taught by Dan Winters, commercial beekeeper

  • “Preparing for the Fall Meeting honey show in Ontario” by Jon Ryan, commercial beekeeper

  • “Nosema detection” by Christina Wahl


10:00am   Welcome by President Mark Berninghausen

10:15am   Speakers: Dr. Scott McArt, Department of Entomology Cornell University with an update on Cornell’s NY research programs,  and Emma Mullen, Cornell Honey Bee Extension Associate, on Varroa Mite Updates.

11:15am   General membership meeting

                    Lots of door prizes from Mann-Lake, Dadant and Brushy Mountain

12:00pm   Catered lunch and some fun beekeeper themed contests by Michelle Fuller

1:00pm – 3:00 pm   Breakout Sessions (rotating 20 minute sessions)


Scott McArt is an assistant professor of pollinator health at the Cornell Department of Entomology. Before starting at Cornell in 2014, he completed his Masters at the University of Alaska, PhD at Cornell and a postdoc at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Major current research projects include: 1) Assessing pesticide risk to bees across different landscape and agricultural contexts, 2) Evaluating the relative importance of pesticides, pathogens and other factors on colony performance, and 3) Understanding pathogen transmission in complex plant-pollinator networks. Current extension efforts include the NYS beekeeper tech team, training veterinarians on honey bee diseases as part of the new Veterinary Feed Directive and advising growers on pest control practices that minimize risk to bees.

Emma comes to us from Ontario, Canada, where she completed her Master’s degree in honey bee behavioral genetics at Western University and served as the campus beekeeper. She then worked at the University of Guelph, reporting to the Ministry of Agriculture on the status and trends of bee health in Ontario. 

The ESHPA summer board meeting will be held at Dyce Labs the night before (July 21, 2017) at 4 pm followed by networking at a local micro-brewery.   All members are welcome to come to the board meeting and join the board for dinner afterward.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Biophilia Organic Farm CSA in Jamesport NY

Our friends at Biophilia Organic Farm on the East End in Jamesport.

We thought it was about time we mentioned some of our friends out in farm country who have been of great support to Tom's Honey Bees over the years.

The gang at Biophilia Organic Farm have been one such group year in and year out. They work a 14 acre Preserved Organic Farm in Jamesport growing a wide variety of vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers every year for their CSA members. How does 5 dozen varieties of tomatoes (yes 5 dozen!) and nine varieties of garlic sound? Lettuce, kale, potatoes, carrots..... the veggie list goes on and on, berries, flowers and a whole lot of herbs. All Certified Organic and all about the best you'll ever taste.

I have an apiary on the farm to supply pollination to the crops and flowers and berries and fruits. It's been a pleasure. When a swarm issues from one of my hives, my phone rings right away so I know what has just happened. When we get freezing cold winter weather with wind and snow, I get regular updates about how the hives look. When all hell breaks loose during the nice spring weather and the bees are flying all over the farm, I get a call telling me how active they are that day. What more can I possibly ask for? and Farmer Phil Barbato is about the best steward of the land one could hope for, and he has become my friend.
The bees are healthy on Biophilia, they are safe and they make some terrific honey in a clean and wholesome environment.

Some information about Biophilia Organic Farm is below. Farmer Phil has the farm stand at the barn open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am-4pm if you'd like to stop by and see what goes on there for yourself. Take a little tour, walk around, watch my bees, talk to Phil and pet Pudgy the dog. This farm is not your typical East End farm and I say that proudly.
 Currently, there is a wide variety of veggie plants, herb plants and flower plants for sale this spring at the farm stand (and Tom's Honey). The name, Biophilia, says it all!   

The Biophilia CSA

 CSA shares are available now. As a CSA member, you will receive a variety of our freshly harvested, organic produce every week. The 2017 season will run for 20 weeks, from June 1-Oct. 13. Over the course of the season, the size and weight of shares will vary depending on what crops are being harvested. For instance, the fresh lettuce and greens in the beginning are lightweight and delicious, but when the squash, potatoes, and tomatoes come in starting in July, your share will weigh significantly more. Generally, a full share is enough for a family of three or more. The price of a full share is $550 for on-farm pickup or $650 for Port Jeff Brewery pickup. We also offer a weekly half share, generally enough for one or two people, for $345 on-farm pickup or $445 for Pt Jeff Brewery pickup. Final payments are due June 1st. We will fill slots as we receive payment. 


CSA members can also participate in the growing experience by purchasing a “working share” with their own labor. Labor equivalents are 4 hours per week, every week, for a full share. This is hard, demanding work, so talk it over with Phil before signing up.
 Pickups are primarily at the farm on Thursdays from 3:00-7:00 PM. A second pickup point is available at the Port Jeff Brewing Co. on Fridays from 1:00-7:00pm. If you cannot make a pickup you may have someone else pick up your box that week or we will donate it to charity.
Feel free to call or email (516-769-9732, with any questions you may have or to arrange a farm visit. We look forward to seeing you again or meeting you for the first time.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Long Island Nucs Available

Nucs For Sale
starting 4/30/17

Available: 5 frame Deep or 5 frame Medium Nucs For Sale
Local Nucs with Local Queen.
Deep nuc $275
Medium nuc $250
Limited Quantities.

Pick up in Jamesport, No Shipping
Contact us to make arrangements.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Vineyard Bees

50* clear, calm 3/30/17
A couple of hives located on one of our
local East End Vineyards. Yup, strong bees, healthy grape vines, good honey and good wine!
A healthy environment makes a difference.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Honey Shares '17

'17 CSA 
Honey Share Enrollment Open
Please see our website for details.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Nor'Easter March 14, 2017

Snow, changing to rain around daybreak. Rain and sleet most of the day, with winds
around 40 mph and gusts over 60 mph. Temperatures middle 30's.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

February Hive Photos

62*F in the middle of February. Didn't get to them all but
up to this point all are alive, flying and bringing back grey alder pollen
as well as maple and witch hazel pollen.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Honeybees in Winter

Jan 12, 55*F, Partly cloudy, Wind calm
It's been ten days or so since the weather has allowed the bees to poke their heads 
out of the hives. From gale force gusts, single digit temps and 11" of snow over that span, today
was reason for the bees to celebrate, and go for a cleansing flight!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Empire State Honey Producers Assoc. Fall Meeting 2016

Fri, Nov 4, 2016 8:30am - Sat, Nov 5, 2016 5:00pm

Pre-register and save, Open till 10/23/16,
or register at the door, can't guarantee lunch or dinner will be available for at the door registrations. Pre-Register to save and guarantee meals. 


The ESHPA Fall Meeting will be held at:

Embassy Suites Syracuse
6646 Old Collamer Rd South.
 (Same location as 2014 & 2015)
East Syracuse, NY 13057

2 Full days of Speakers and Beekeeping Presentations Featuring: 

Live Auction, and Silent Auctions 
Honey show with CASH prizes. 
Mead Competition - start those carboys brewing now. 
Beekeeper of the Year award. 
2 hour new beekeeper classes - requires sign up.

Gourmet Banquet featuring a honey of a menu: 
Honey Poached Pear Salad 
Honey Bourbon Glazed Pork Tenderloin 
Honey Creme Brulee. 


Guest Speakers

Bret Adee
Head of pollination at Adee Honey Farms, the largest Beekeeping outfit in the world.

Michele Colopy
Program director for the Pollinator Stewardship Council.

Paul Cappy
New York State Apiculturist for NYS Department of Ag & Markets.

Phil Craft
Phil writes the monthly column "ask Phil" in Bee Culture magazine.

Darrel Rufer
Run a large commercial Beekeeping Business.

A rep from New York State DOT will be on hand for questions.

Dr. Lundgren
Agroecologist, Director of ECDYSIS Foundation and CEO of Blue Dasher Farms.

Dr. McArt
Research Scientist in the Entomology Department at Cornell University.

NY FarmNet
Reps from NY FarmNet will be talking to us about what NY FarmNet is and how it can help.

Emma Mullen
Honey Bee Extension Associate in the Entomology Department at Cornell University.

Eric Wenger
Chairman of True Source Honey, Vice Chair of National Honey Board.

Mark Berninghausen
President of ESHPA, will be chairman of our fall meeting.


2016 Agenda for both days - Subject to change

Friday November 4, 2016
8:45 am - Welcome and introduction of Directors & Officers                                   
                 MARK BERNINGHAUSEN - ESHPA President
9:00 am - Dr. Scott McArt - Update on Cornell Research
9:45 am - Onondaga Count Health Department Rep - Lyme Disease Prevention and Detection
10:15 am - BREAK
10:45 am - Bret Adee - TBD
11:15 am - Hal McCabe - NY FarmNet - What is FarmNet and what can we do for your business?
11:15 am - Paul Cappy - NY Ag & Mkts - The New European is here
12:00 pm - LUNCH
1:00 pm - NY State Motor Carrier Safety Program Rep - Laws that affect motor vehicles used in beekeeping
1:30 pm - Dr. Jonathan Lundgren - Non-Chemical varroa control on Blue Dasher Farm
2:15 pm - BREAK
2:30 pm - Phil Craft - When beekeeping goes bad
3:00 pm - Darrel Rufer - Minnesota Hygienic Bees
3:45 pm - BREAK
6:00 pm - SOCIAL HOUR
7:00 pm - BANQUET –Silent Auction, Beekeeper of The Year Award, Honey and Mead Awards & “Beekeeping in Bangladesh - By Phil Craft”

Saturday November 5, 2016
9:00 am - Michele Colopy - Pesticides wintering in your hives
9:30 am - Dr. Jonathan Lungdren - Bio-Diversity and risks of pesticides
10:15 am - BREAK
10:45 am - Jerry LeClair - NY FarmNet - Where do we go from here? - Business Action Plans
11:15 am - Phil Craft - Varroa monitoring and control
12:00 pm - LUNCH
1:00 pm - Eric Wenger - True Source Honey - How clean is your honey?
                                                                             1:30pm - Bret Adee - TBD                                                                                                                                      
2:15 pm - BREAK
2:30 pm - Emma Mullen - Cornell Honeybee Extension Associate - NY Bee Tech Team Update
3:15 pm - Darrel Rufer - TBD


Friday, October 21, 2016

October nectar source

One of the few late fall plants for the bees to work are the Asters.
Native flowering plants that supply both nectar and pollen.

Some of the blooms are already spent but many are at full bloom and the bees
are working them hard. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Hayground School Artisanal Holiday Bazaar Dec. 3, 2016

Tom's Honey Bees will be at the Hayground Artisanal Holiday Bazaar in
Come visit, you won't be sorry!

Save the Date: Saturday December 3, 2016
Time: 10 am-4 pm
Place: Hayground School
151 Mitchell Lane Bridgehampton, NY

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bee Yards in Early September

Bees are working hard to store honey before winter.
The hives in the two yards above are in their winter configurations.
All are queen-right and will be monitored for honey weight throughout the fall. Hive manipulations are completed so the bees can arrange themselves for Old Man Winter uninterrupted except for the
occasional hive "heft" to check their weight. Next time we will open them up is in the early Spring.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Honey Bee Plants in Late Summer on Long Island



Joe Pye


Swamp Mallow


Honey bee on knapweed flower

Hive action on a hot late August day.
Orientation fights and bearding.