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Joel Schaeffer, owner of Ona Mission Honey Farm | Jane Boursaw Photo
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There seems to be a lot of honey bees swarming on the Old Mission Peninsula this year. I don’t know if there’s a scientific basis for it or if I’m just noticing them and hearing about them more.

In addition to quite a few bee swarms this summer on Johnson Farms (my family’s farm), several people have emailed me asking if I know of anyone who can move bees that have swarmed on their property.

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The good news is there’s someone right here on the Peninsula who might be interested in moving your friendly neighborhood bees to another location. At the Farmer’s Market in downtown Traverse City recently, I met Joel Schaeffer, a beekeeper who lives near the end of the Peninsula and has a honey bee business called Ona Mission Honey Farm.

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Honey from Ona Mission Honey Farm | Jane Boursaw Photo

Throughout his life, Joel always had a passion for bees and had a few hives as a backyard beekeeper. When he retired from his career as a biologist in 2012, he and his wife Sue moved to their cottage on the Peninsula and he became a fulltime beekeeper, maintaining a number of hives and selling honey at the Traverse City Farm Market and Elk Rapids Farm Market.

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Bee Hives of Ona Mission Honey Farm | Jane Boursaw Photo

You can also find their honey at the Peninsula Market, Burritt’s, Bayside Market, and at Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor. Joel is also a member of the Michigan Beekeepers Association.

If you have honey bees swarming that need to be moved to a new location, or if you’d like more info about Ona Mission Honey Farm, email Joel at¬†[email protected] or call him at (517) 256-1246. Visit the Ona Mission Honey Farm website¬†here.

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Bee Swarm on Johnson Farms | Jane Boursaw Photo

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

Bay View Insurance of Traverse City Michigan

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