Warm Colors Apiary is located on eighty acres of woodlands, open fields, and wetlands in South Deerfield, MA. They produce over seven different kinds of delicious regional honeys from Western MA. Right now at Warm Colors Apiary, owners Dan and Bonita Conlon are working to prepare their bees for the coming winter. They are insulating the hives, checking them for disease, and making sure there is enough honey in the hives for their bees to survive through the long stretch of cold weather approaching. UMass Dining is the largest single buyer of Warm Colors Apiary honey. Their honey is used in the Dining Commons and the UMass Bakeshop.
Honeybees and other pollinators are crucial to the health of ecosystems and the survival of humans. More than 75% of all flowering plants on earth need pollinators to reproduce, including a majority of the food that we eat. Dan Conlon explained that bees have been around for 80 million years and have overcome all kinds of natural phenomenon, but many species of pollinators, including bumble bees, are endangered. The decline of pollinator species is attributed to a loss in feeding and nesting habitats, and Warm Colors works to provide both of those for their bees and other pollinators.
Since we last spoke with Warm Colors in April 2017, they have been working with UMass Amherst to incorporate more bees into the UMass landscape, and will hopefully be installing new beehives in different gardens around campus in the coming year. This project hopes to connect students to bees and other pollinators and educate them about beekeeping and honey harvesting. Installing beehives on campus would also provide ultra local honey for students to enjoy. Additionally, Warm Colors Apiary is working with Graduate students in the School of Engineering to develop sensors that diagnose disease within beehives to help beekeepers like Dan and Bonita catch and treat them early before they spread out of control.
Dan urges readers to be aware that “the biggest threat to all of these creatures is human activity. Everyone should be conscious of their activities, actions, and how they affect the environment.” Dan has many suggestions for how everyone can help bees to survive and thrive:
"Everything in nature has a purpose and contributes in some way to the cycle of life. Insects are actually very important to humans. I admire these little creatures."
Many thanks to Warm Colors Apiary for all of their hard work to protect pollinators and for their many contributions to the UMass Amherst community. UMass Dining is so thankful to work with you. For more information about Warm Colors Apiary, visit their website.
Photo credit: Keith Toffling
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