Foraging Winter Honey Bees in Michigan

By Glen Wunderlich

As a youngster, I recall a winter’s day in Highland Park, Michigan when I found some “dead” wasps on the rear porch of my grandparents’ home.   Someone gave me a jar and the motionless insects were dropped in and the lid was screwed shut.  There in the warmth of the house, I shared my discovery with the family, when the critters began to wake up and fly within the confines of the container.

The incidental experiment was a learning experience reminiscent of the warming trend recently provided to us Michiganders, courtesy of Mother Nature.  The migrating birds were singing, the trees were budding, frost evolved into mud, and the insects were thrust into a world they hadn’t seen in months and instinctive honey bees were among them.

For the second year in a row, I found honey bees by the hundreds – maybe thousands – atop a shed where I scatter seed for the birds.  Because no flowers are available in February, foraging bees are attracted to the cracked seed as a pollen substitute and protein source, which will be used as food to rear their soon-to-be-hatched larvae. 

Winter-time Honey Bees in Michigan

How they collect and transport the nutrition to the hive is an interesting exercise in the relentless pursuit of survival.  Here there are no slackers; each worker bee pulls its own weight collecting the harvest in a most intriguing manner.  Since they cannot carry seeds to the hive, they dig in and roll around in the seed mixture in an effort to get pollen dust attached to their bodies.

These female bees begin grooming themselves and wipe the seed dust into storage sacks on their legs called pollen baskets or corbicula.  Pollen is almost microscopic, so visible granules of any size are made up of thousands of pieces of pollen.

Interestingly, this natural storage basket can hold up to 1 million grains of pollen. Although many insects collect pollen from flowers, none can rival the bee’s production. However, even though bees’ bodies are ideally engineered for pollen-gathering, it takes considerable effort. Depending on the efficiency of the worker bee, filling the basket takes between 3 and 18 minutes, after which she carries only two pollen packets back to the hive. It takes an average of 20 pairs of pollen packages to fill one honeycomb cell, meaning that bees tirelessly to supply the hive.

A decade ago, beekeepers in the US reported that a mysterious affliction, dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), had caused widespread die-offs of bees. Scientists now agree that CCD was likely caused by a combination of environmental and biological factors, but nothing specific has been confirmed or proven. CCD is no longer causing large-scale colony death in North America, but beekeepers are still reporting disturbing colony losses—as high as 45 percent annually.

If bees have taken over your bird feeder, you can feed them a solution of 2 parts white sugar to one part water in a shallow dish or brewer’s yeast to divert them from bird feeders.  In any event, it’s a worthwhile event, if you can catch the show.



Vortek StrikerFire Backcountry

Old Saybrook, CT – Traditions™ is pleased to announce that the NEW Vortek StrikerFire® Backcountry is now in stock and currently shipping. Please contact your sales rep, distributor, or Traditions for more information on availability and to place an order.

The Vortek Strikerfire® Backcountry has a 26″ Chromoly barrel which makes this gun more maneuverable and perfect for long hunts where weight counts. This is the muzzleloader you’ll want with you in the backcountry when you’ll walk mile after mile and need a rifle that won’t weigh you down. Smaller framed shooters can also use this rifle more comfortably thanks to the reduced barrel length. The Backcountry weighs 5.8 pounds.

The Vortek StrikerFire® Backcountry has all of the same great features as the standard and LDR StrikerFire models. The gun features the patented StrikerFire system with no external hammer, TAC2 Trigger system with a trigger set at 2 pounds, Hogue™ Comfort-Grip Overmolding, Accelerator Breech Plug™, Dual Safety System, and more. The Backcountry also comes with Nitride Finish which coats both the outside and inside of the barrel and provides superior protection against rust, corrosion, and pitting. Read more


Midlothian, VA — GPO USA, the industry’s newest premium optics company, introduces the PASSION™ HD binocular portfolio. This product is German designed and engineered, and it combines quality, features, price and value for the benefit of the American hunter. The PASSION™ HD binocular lineup is built on a high-performance and highly durable magnesium frame and includes 42mm and 50mm objective lens models.

“PASSION™ HD hits the core of what most serious hunters are using in the field. It is incredibly well built, optically breathtaking and will be immediately recognized as a leader in its space,” says Michael Jensen, owner and CEO of GPO, USA. “Feature for feature, spec for spec, this product simply outshines other competitive premium European product lines.”

The PASSION™ HD binocular line will be initially offered in 8×42, 10×42, 8.5×50, 10×50 and 12.5×50 models. With a durable magnesium frame; pop-up locking center-focus diopter; smooth-rotating, aluminum, locking eyecups; and a magnesium micro-bridge that is built ergonomically for maximum hand-holding comfort, these binoculars will meet the needs of everyone looking for a high-performance field optic. Models include a wide-angle field of view, PASSIONdrop™ hydrophobic lens coatings, GPObright™ high transmission lens coating technology, extended eye relief, and close focus capabilities that are sure to please the optical enthusiast. Additionally, it comes with a custom molded hard case. Read more

UTG Everyday Defense L-Light

We often encounter challenges throughout our everyday lives. Some are big, some are small, but no matter what it might be, overcoming it is much easier with proper tools and know-how. That is why UTG just introduced its brand new Everyday Defense L-Light. This compact 400 lumen powerhouse is designed to adapt to any scenario and situation that you might encounter. The light was designed for heavy duty use with its IPX7 waterproof rating and aircraft grade aluminum construction, while its sub-compact size and removable pocket clip make it easy for everyday carry.

The most unique attribute of this light is its L.I.B.R.E Technology. L.I.B.R.E stands for Light with Integrated Brightness Regulate Emitter. This Emitter allows you to smoothly scale down the brightness from 400 to 20 lumens by using the L-Light’s rear lumen control pad. Once the desired brightness is selected you will be able to retain your setting with the light’s memory function. A quick double tap of the rear button will activate the full power 400 lumen strobe. The top button works like a master switch that functions as a momentary or constant on/off switch for the full power 400 lumen as well. The L-shape of the light makes it very ergonomic and easy to manipulate both buttons while pointing the light at the desired location. Read more

RCBS Ultrasonic Case Cleaner-2

Ultrasonic Case Cleaner-2 Offers 100 Percent More CapacityOVERLAND PARK, Kansas – – RCBS, the leading manufacturer of ammunition reloading equipment for rifles and pistols, offers reloaders the new RCBS Ultrasonic Case Cleaner-2 to clean even more brass and firearm parts than before.

The new Ultrasonic Case Cleaner-2 includes significant changes from the previous model. Most important is that the Ultrasonic Case Cleaner-2 is nearly 100 percent larger.

“The 6.3-quart capacity is twice as big,” said RCBS Product Manager Kent Sakamoto, “A second ceramic heater and transducer add more heat and vibration to better clean brass cases and firearm parts.”

It comes with a stainless steel parts basket and smaller stainless steel parts tub. The LED is easily programmable, and the timer can be set for up to 30 minutes of continuous cleaning. It is available in a 120 VAC model as well as a 240 VAC EU/UK/AUS compliant model. Combined with RCBS Ultrasonic Cleaning Solution, the Ultrasonic Case Cleaner-2 delivers piles of clean brass in a short amount of time.

RCBS, a brand of Vista Outdoor, is the leading manufacturer of ammunition reloading equipment for rifles and pistols, offering reloading equipment throughout the world. For more information, please visit

About Vista Outdoor
Vista Outdoor is a leading global designer, manufacturer and marketer of consumer products in the growing outdoor sports and recreation markets. The company operates in two segments, Shooting Sports and Outdoor Products, and has a portfolio of well-recognized brands that provides consumers with a wide range of performance-driven, high-quality and innovative products for individual outdoor recreational pursuits. Vista Outdoor products are sold at leading retailers and distributors across North America and worldwide. Vista Outdoor is headquartered in Utah and has manufacturing operations and facilities in 13 U.S. States, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico along with international customer service, sales and sourcing operations in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe and New Zealand. For news and information, visit or follow us on Twitter @VistaOutdoorInc and Facebook at

MI DNR’s Report All Poaching hotline now accepts text messages

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is making it easier for citizens to report fish and game violations through the convenience of text messaging.

The Report All Poaching (RAP) hotline (800-292-7800) now accepts text messages in addition to telephone calls. Text messages may include photos. The RAP hotline is a toll-free, 24-hour, seven-days-a-week number that enables citizens to report violations of fish and game laws, as well as other natural resource-related laws. It is operated by DNR’s Law Enforcement Division. The DNR also offers a web-based reporting form. Read more

Sightmark Wolverine Red Dot Sights

Sightmark unveils new Wolverine Red Dots!(MANSFIELD, TEXAS) – Sightmark is proud to announce the release of new Wolverine Red Dot Sight models. Already known for their 1,000,000 hour battery life and robust rubber armored construction, the Wolverine family is happy to welcome 4 new models to the popular line; Wolverine FSR LQD (SM26020-LQD), Wolverine CSR LQD (SM26021-LQD), Wolverine FSR Dark Earth (SM26020DE) and Wolverine CSR Dark Earth (SM26021DE).Wolverine CSR and FSR models will be adding a locking, quick-detach mounting system designed to increase the versatility and functionality of these compact red dots. The secured locking design allows the sight to be detached, as situations demand, and re-attached in seconds. The Wolverine CSR LQD 1×23 Red Dot Sight features a 4-MOA dot reticle while the Wolverine FSR LQD 1×28 boasts a 2-MOA red dot reticle. Read more

Sellmark Stands With Texas Hog Hunters Association to Oppose Sid Miller

(MANSFIELD, TEXAS) – Sellmark and its brands stand with the Texas Hog Hunters Association in helping to stop the introduction of a new Warfarin based pesticide, approved by Texas AG Sid Miller, to control the feral hog population. Sellmark and Texas Hog Hunters Association believe in hunting, trapping and aerial management to protect landowners from the millions of dollars of damage hogs cause each year, but discourage the inhumane and unsafe use of poisons. While Warfarin may kill hogs, it may also put other wildlife, humans and the entire ecosystem in harm’s way.

“For Texas to introduce a poison into the equation is a bad decision and could likely contaminate humans who unknowingly process and eat feral hogs,” said Texas Hog Hunters Association founder Scott Dover. Sellmark President James Sellers added, “We want to take a stand against using poisons to control wildlife populations. Any animal that accidentally ingests the poison or feeds on a hog carcass may be exposed to the harmful toxin; humans relying on feral hogs for sustenance may also be at risk. Read more

RCBS Offers New ChargeMaster Lite

Overland Park, KS – RCBS, the leading manufacturer of ammunition reloading equipment for rifles and pistols, offers the new ChargeMaster Lite for unparalleled powder-measuring accuracy in a compact package.

The one-piece unit features an LCD touchscreen display that ensures accurate data input. The hopper holds nearly a pound of smokeless powder, and can dispense anywhere between 2 to 300 grains with a +/-0.1-grain accuracy.

“The ChargeMaster Lite’s ambidextrous scale pan, wind cover, built-in bubble level and powder hopper and quick-drain system give reloaders all the functionality they need for fast, accurate charge dispensing,” said Kent Sakamoto, RCBS Product Manager. Read more

Parker Introduces New Hurricane XXT Bow

STAUNTON, Va. – Parker Bows, the leading manufacturer of high quality Compound Bows and Crossbows as well as RED HOT Crossbow Accessories is proud to announce the all NEW Hurricane XXTreme Crossbow for 2017. Parker’s Flagship Hurricane XXT Crossbow combines new Xtreme Xbow Technology (XXT), Value, Performance and Features into a Tactical Styled Crossbow Package.

The Hurricane XXT incorporates radical new crossbow technology that breaks all the historical barriers of crossbow performance and design. Parker’s new patented Xtreme Xbow Technology (XXT) combines, 1) Inverted Cams, 2) Split Limb Array, 3) Cavity-Back Riser and 4) HP Synergy Cams to set a new performance standards for speed, quiet operation, and ease of cocking, all while being packaged in a light-weight, compact, maneuverable platform. The Hurricane XXT also features a QuickGrip adjustable forearm has 4.5 inches of adjustment for added comfort and feel when sitting in your treestand or groundblind. It comes equipped with Parker’s exclusive factory installed Anti-Vibration and Shock (AVS) System and Split Limb Dampeners to reduce noise and vibration for ultimate concealment in the woods. Like its contemporaries, the Hurricane XXT is equipped with arguably the best crossbow Trigger in the industry. It features an ambidextrous auto-engaging safety for right or left handed shooters and an anti-dry fire lock – A Parker Exclusive. Read more

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