Bjorn Apiaries

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Who, What, and the Why of Bjorn Apiaries

If you call Bjorn Apiaries, you will most likely talk to me... Mike Thomas. While some call me "Bjorn", this is not my name. "Bjorn" is part of my wife's maiden name, originating in Denmark. Bjorn means "Bear". So we have bees, honey, get the point.

I have been married to Ida since 1992. She has been the much appreciated work force behind the scenes, making things run smoothly while keeping a tight reins on my wild ideas and suggestions.


We have three children. Lauren is the oldest, and we have twins, David and Amelia.


My earlier years included two overseas tours in Europe while being active duty Air Force. I worked primarily in Satellite Communications. I followed that with a couple years in the Pennsylvania National Guard. I then wondered through my "lost years" while working in the cemetery business (counseled and buried several thousand people), becoming an insurance agent, and getting licensed as an auctioneer.


I finally settled in with honey bees and started Bjorn Apiaries. Not having any farming or bee experience previously, we jumped in with both feet and never looked back.


Our operation is constantly in motion. Testing new hives, trying new ideas, and experiencing all we can. We have often said that when there is nothing more to learn, nothing more to build, and nowhere to expand, we will probably move on. But it seems with bees, there is always something else coming down the road.


If you have a chance, stop on in. We love having visitors and helping other beekeepers. We have dedicated ourselves to improving the honey bee industry. And encourage others to make a difference in the world around them. We are not fanatic in our beekeeping philosophy, but encourage education and understanding of the environment around each one of us. We do not use chemicals in our hives and stress an IPM strategy based on equipment, management, and genetic selection.

Besides the many bee talks and seminars both participating and attending, conventions, and other activities,  these are the main highlights to date:



1999 - Fell in love with honey bees after one of many 

             visits to LongWood Gardens in Kennett

             Square, Pennsylvania.

2000 - Completed a Basic Beekeeping Short Course 

             and Started Bjorn Apiaries with two packages.

2001 - Treated 6 hives with Fluvalinate. This was the

             last time we treated for varroa mites with

             standard chemicals.

2004 - 2006 Employed by the Pennsylvania

             Department of Agriculture as an Apiary


2004 - Certified as a Pennsylvania registered queen



2004 - Along with Shawn Moyer of Oxbow Apiary, held

             the first annual picnic open to all beekeepers

             and guests. This continues yearly to this date

             with over 150 in attendance.


2005 - Applied for and received a permit from The

             Department of Conservation and Natural

             Resources for a Feral Honey Bee Population



2007 - Stepped down as an Apiary Inspector to work

             fulltime running Bjorn Apiaries. 

2008 - Founded Northern States Queen Breeders



2008  - Elected 2nd Vice President of the

              Pennsylvania State Bee Association


2008 - Held the first "Sustainable Beekeeping - A

             More Natural Approach" bee class at Bjorn

             Apiaries at Honey Comb Farms.


2009 - Founded National Honey Bee Day

2009 - Held the first Queen Rearing class at Bjorn

             Apiaries at Honey Comb Farms

2010 - Resigned as an officer of the Pennsylvania State

             Beekeeping Association.

2010 - Founded Pennsylvania Apiculture Inc., and the

            Pennsylvania Backyard Beekeepers Association.


2010 - Held the first "Inspectors Course - Disease

             Diagnosis" class at Bjorn Apiaries at Honey

             Comb Farms.


2013 - Launched "Bjorn Naturals" line of bee

             products. Opened the "Beekeepers' Outpost",

             catering products to beekeepers, gardeners,

             and nature loving folks.