Bee Enemies

Bee Enemies

Who would be an enemy to a bee?

Who could hate a bee and be her enemy? Well, it turns out there are a lot of natural bee enemies. Bees have struggled ever since the beginning of time with pests that want to destroy them from within. Some are old enemies and some are newer.

Varroa Mites

Varroa Mites started out being a pest to the Asian bee and later moved on to the European honeybee (what we know as honeybees). Varroa mites did not make there way to the United States until 1987 and it didn’t take long for it to rise to the top of the list of bee enemies where it still sits today. The mite sneaks into the bees cell right before it is sealed. While there is feeds off of a bees fat bodies and reproduces under the protective cell cap.  If that wasn’t bad enough, as it feeds off off the bee it also introduces other viruses into its body.  One of the first visual signs that you have an infestation is the appearance of deformed wings on bees. There are treatments that can reduce the number of mites in a hive, but they can never really be gotten rid of. Treatment for mites can be nasty chemicals too that are not good for bees or humans.  At Bee Lovely we treat our bees with a combination of CNG (Certified Natural Grown) treatments.  We believe that it is better for the bees and the end products of honey, wax, propolis, and pollen is cleaner as well.


Nosema is a fungal infection that affects the intestinal tract of honeybees, most of the year it is not a big deal but shows up more in winter. Honeybees are extremely clean animals and will not go to the bathroom in the hive. In the winter they will hold it until the weather warms up to above freezing and is sunny.  They will then make a quick flight out to finally go. However, nosema is like honeybee disentary and they can’t hold it any longer and relieve themselves in the hive or just outside the entrance.  This eventually leads to more bees getting sick and spreading the problem further.  One of the treatments for nosema is antibiotics, but we have chosen to use a treatment based on essential oils and plant sterols. Studies have shown that it is just as effective as antibiotics without the long term effects that antibiotics can cause.


Neonicitinoids are a special type of pesticide, it is a seed coating that once the seed it planted it is incorporated in the whole plant, all fluid in the plant then contains pesticide. The trouble is that this is not just used on agricultural seeds but also many decorative plants and vegetables.  When CCD was first noticed many concerned beekeepers started looking at the research on the lethal dosage for bees.  What they eventually found was that the research was faulty and that the lethal dose for bees is much lower than originally thought. Many other countries have banned the major neonicitinoids and have seen bee populations improve.  More research is coming on systemic pesticides as well as others once thought to be safe.  We are also seeing that glyphosate and fungicides are causing problems with a bees reproductive capabilities and gut health. Closing thought on pesticides is be very careful with pesticides that you spray in your yard.

Colony Collapse

Colony Collapse was first discovered in 2006 when beekeepers where noticing their hive populations dwindling over the summer.  In most cases bees are relatively healthy in the spring and summer when their populations turns over consistently and they can leave the hive to do their work.  The signs of CCD are that the hive has a queen, she is laying eggs and brood is being reared, but the population in the hive just continues to diminish.  As mentioned before bees are very clean and when they know they are sick they will leave the hive to die otherwise fellow bees have to remove the body and possibly spread the disease.  When a hive is being plagued by CCD the bees leave knowing they are sick, as this continues there are less bees to care for the young ones. The queen then lays less eggs because of the lack of worker bees and the hive continues this till it is dead.  To date there is no final decision as to what  causes CCD, the closest researchers have come is finding that all infected hives have mites and nosema. The trouble is that bees have been dealing with those for a long time and not seen effects like we are now. Many beekeepers now believe that it is a combination of varroa, nosema, and systemic pesticides.  Pesticides might be the straw that broke the camels back and bees can no longer thrive if all three are present.

Unfortunately for bees there are so many outside forces trying to take them down. For us beekeepers we have to stay on top of the latest research on how to treat them and what are the newest enemies on the horizon. Zombie Bees are right around the corner (in case you are wondering; yes, it is real).

Save the Beekeepers to Save the Bees

Save the Beekeepers to Save the Bees

Pollinator Week 2019

We are asked all the time if the bees are doing better? Well that is a loaded question and depends on the overall goal of asking.  Is the honeybee populations increasing? Yes. Well there, I am glad we made it through that rough patch.  If life were only that easy.

In 2006, when colony collapse was first reported, people became nervous about the health of the honeybee. Since that time many people picked up the mantle to be a beekeeper and bee colonies have since seen an increase in numbers. Does that mean that bees are getting better or there is just more bees?

Bees are still suffering.

Bees are still suffering like they were, in fact the number of honeybee deaths are continuing to increase.  So how is it that bee populations are increasing, then? Good question.

Bees are a fantastic animal that can populate quickly. A good queen can produce almost 2000 eggs a day when food supply is plentiful. There is also money to be made from bees, making it financially advantageous to be a beekeeper.  Bees can make so much honey that the excess can be sold, pollinations services are needed more now than ever, and other products from a beehive are in high demand. The reason bees are not in a decline is because beekeepers are stepping up to help this amazing little bug and can make money doing what they love.

But what if bees are not so easy to keep, or money can’t be made from them? We can see the effects of that with the Rusty Patch Bumble Bee. The Rusty Patch Bumblebee was once prolific around the Great Lakes Region, but it was placed on the endangered species list last year. It does not make enough honey to sell, you can’t easily domesticate it, and its hive is limited in size because the queen is the only one that survives winter.

Other pollinators are in decline

Other natural pollinators are seeing the same kind of decline in their populations.  If it becomes financially insolvent to be a beekeeper, many businesses will give up and decide to let their passion go. If hives continually die, many hobbyists will also throw in the towel. If that happens, we will once again see a huge decline to the bee populations.

What is the simplest way to help the bees? Help the beekeepers. Beekeepers are on the front lines keeping bees alive and healthy, but we need your help to do it.  We need you to buy our products, support our business, and spread the word.  We need you to let your dandelions bloom and to stop using sprays that harm bees.  We need you to plant flowers that are not treated with systemic pesticides, so bees have more forage. We need you to be calm and call a beekeeper when you see a wild swarm dangling from a tree in your front yard.

Bee Lovely Botanicals has an excellent option that allows you to support beekeeping and get a little in return.  Our Adopt-A-Hive programs is geared toward giving you the knowledge you need to do your part and the support we need to do ours.  With our Adopt-A-Hive program you get to pick between a full share or half share.  Each share includes equal amount of product as your investment, a hive manual, an adoption certificate, and hive updates.  You can also name the queen with the full share option.

Please join us on Facebook  for our 2nd Annual Pollinators Trivia Night.  We’ll be giving away an awesome honeybee inspired gift set to person with the most knowledge of honeybees and the fastest typing fingers.


Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream Giveaway!

Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream Giveaway!


We’re launching our new Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream today!

We named our business Bee Lovely Botanicals because you can’t get better natural skincare than when you combine the power of botanicals with the awesomeness of bees! In our new Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream, we’ve added ingredients to focus on diminishing the appearance of dark circles and fine lines.

Just like when we formulated our Royal Jelly, Green Tea, and Vitamin B3 Face Cream, we researched many ingredients for safety and effectiveness. We chose the ingredients that were first and foremost safe, and second, proven to give your eye area a renewed youthful appearance.

We have chosen to use Blue Chamomile and Blue Tansy, along with Geranium and Frankincense essential oils. These oils will calm the delicate, stressed skin around your eyes, and promote a healthy, youthful appearance. Coupled with natural compounds like caffeine, plant peptides, haloxyl, raw beeswax, Vitamin K, and minerals like copper and magnesium, these ingredients markedly decrease the appearance of dark circles, puffiness and fine lines.

I have suffered from dark circles pretty much all of my life. I would carefully cake on light colored concealer, yellow concealer, I tried “baking” it in, just to try to hide those dark circles.

When I would run into someone in the store without my concealer I would hear, “Aww, are you sick? You don’t look well.”

“Yes [fake cough] I think I’m coming down with something,” I would say to save us both the embarrassment of “Ah, no. This is just what I look like.”

If you can relate to my tale of woe, you should try our Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream. It’s full of skin loving ingredients to diminish the appearance of dark circles and fine lines. For a limited time, we’re running a contest and one lucky winner will receive a Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream free! In addition to the chance of winning a free eye cream, when you share our posts and giveaways, you’re helping our business succeed! Recommendations of our business are such a blessing! Thank you so much for sharing!!

If you’re still on the fence about our Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream, here’s what our testers had to say about it:

“The Bright Eyes Cream is amazing! I’ve been using this product every night and whether I get a good sleep or not with a newborn no one can tell. I highly recommend it!” Wendy

“Bright Eyes Eye Cream is superb to any eye cream I have used! Not oily, very rich and smooth. I use it in the morning and at night I love it so much! The best part it’s toxin free. I can’t get enough of this eye cream! I know I have less wrinkles since using it!” Joanne

“So this product is amazing! My eyes have way fewer crinkles and as a positive side effect I have longer thicker eyelashes!!!!” Christine

“After Jodie gave me a sample of the Bright Eyes Vitamins & Minerals eye cream, I couldn’t wait until they were able to get it packaged to purchase! The cream worked so good on taking the puffiness and darkness away under my eyes! This is an awesome product!!” Anne


If you’d like a Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream of your very own, click here for a special one time offer after checkout!

I can’t sleep!

As you may already know, I have lyme disease. Leading up to that diagnosis, my life was a mess.

I had a kindergartener, an 18 month old, and an infant. That entire year I went on about 3 hours of sleep a night. I would have trouble falling asleep. I would finally doze off, only to awaken a few hours later, around 2 or 3 am. I would toss and turn, cry and pray for sleep to come, only to doze off minutes before the alarm would go off to get my oldest ready for school. I was living in a mental fog, my heart would race from being so tired, my muscles ached, and my stomach was a mess. I snacked my way through every day just to stay awake.

My healing began with a diagnosis of lyme disease. (Insomnia is a symptom of lyme disease.) We then had something to research and began finding treatments to help. I was advised by my physician to make sure I slept at night. Your body heals from the stresses and traumas of the day while you sleep, and if you are regularly missing sleep, you’re body can’t recover and you end up in a downward spiral. If I was going to get better, I needed to get enough sleep.

My doctor gave me a prescription of ambien. I was reluctant to take it because I had heard horror stories of people getting addicted to sleeping pills and missing out on life. I would take half or 1 pill judiciously, and try then try skipping a night to see if I could sleep. Within a month or two, my body did reset and I could sleep without a prescription.

I did still have bouts of insomnia. It would go in phases, where I could sleep well for a time, but something would throw me out of my routine and I would begin a cycle of less and less sleep. Following are some of the natural treatments that I’ve tried through out the years, and how they worked for me. I’m sharing this just as information. Do your own due diligence, but this might be a starting point to find something that helps for you.

Melatonin: This is a natural hormone that helps your body know when it’s time to enter a sleep cycle. Taking melatonin at bedtime could help your body reset to be sleeping at night, and awake during the day. {I still occasionally take melatonin. Personally, I don’t like it as much as some of the other options I have. When I was so sleep deprived, I felt like I was experiencing sleep apnea when I took melatonin. I remember laying there thinking “Wake up. BREATHE!” and then taking a huge gasping breath. I haven’t had that problem in quite a while. I think I was just so exhausted at the time.}

Sunlight Lamp: A sunlight lamp works well in conjunction with melatonin. Sitting in front of a sunlight lamp every morning helps to reset your circadian rhythms, meaning it helps your body sleep and night, and be awake during the day, not vice-versa. Using a sunlight lamp is also purported to help with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) (basically depression due to lack of sunlight all winter).{I think the sunlight lamp helped me, especially in the long winter months without much sunshine. To be honest, I found it really difficult to stay in a routine where I sat by the lamp for 15-20 minutes every morning.}

L-Tryptophan: L-Tryptophan is an amino acid that is necessary for your body to produce serotonin. Serotonin helps control mood and sleep. {I really thought the L-Tryptophan was helpful for me. I would take them just before I went to bed, and I would start to feel calm and sleepy shortly after that. I didn’t feel groggy in the morning after taking L-tryptophan. I switched from it because L-tryptophan can contribute to a sluggish thyroid, and I had symptoms of a slow thyroid.}
L-tryptophan is converted by the body to 5-HTP. 5-HTP is also available as a sleep aid, and is supposed to help with depression. 5-HTP is supposed to be able to cross the blood brain barrier better than L-tryptophan, and therefore be more effective. {I just didn’t notice that the 5-HTP did anything for me compared to the L-tryptophan.}

Sleeptime Tea Extra: Celestial Seasonings has several different types of Sleepytime Tea. It’s a caffeine free herbal tea with soothing and calming herbs such as chamomile. Sleepytime Extra has valerian root in it. {I like the Sleepytime Extra Tea. I still drink it if I’m agitated or not sleepy and it’s time for bed. It helps you fall asleep, and I haven’t noticed feeling groggy at all the next morning. For me, the Sleepytime Teas without valerian didn’t really help much.}

Sleep Powder by Youtheory: This is a powder that you dissolve in hot water and drink before you go to bed. It contains magnesium, L-tryptophan, melatonin, L-glycine, and L-5-HTP. {This did help me fall asleep and stay asleep. I did not like the way this tasted, and it felt like a chore for me to drink the whole cup.}

Alteril: These are caplets that you swallow with water about an hour before bedtime. They include L-tryptophan, glycine, melatonin, and herbs including GABA, valerian, skullcap, hops, chamomile, and passionflower. {These also helped me fall asleep and stay asleep. They did make me feel a bit groggy when it was time to get up, but it wore off quickly. I don’t like taking these for 1 reason. Hops has a really weird, sickly sweet smell to me, and these caplets smell like hops. All said there are some really good, beneficial ingredients to aid in falling and staying asleep, but I just can’t tolerate the smell of it.}

Magnesium: You’re probably already aware of my love affair with magnesium. It’s integral for over 600 processes in the body. It helps with anxiety, and could also help with restless leg syndrome. Magnesium can interact with certain anti-biotics, statins, and heart medications, so check with doc before starting. If you take too much magnesium, it will give you diarrhea. My doctor told me to gradually increase the dose to that point, then back down a bit. That way I would know how much my body really needed. {I recently tried Calm brand of magnesium. It’s magnesium bicarbonate, and it’s flavored. It fizzes, similar to an alka-seltzer when you add it to water. The boys always ask for a sip, because they like the berry flavor. For me, the magnesium really works wonders. I can literally feel the tension melting away, and a sleepy calm feeling come over me. I do still occasionally wake up in the middle of the night when I take the magnesium, so it might not be as effective at helping me STAY asleep as GET to sleep. I twitch ALOT when I’m sleeping. Sometimes that’s what wakes me up, but Josh said that my twitching is less on the nights when I take magnesium.}

As you can see, I’ve tried many different natural sleep aids. Not everything works the same for everyone, but hopefully you can find something to help you get the sleep your body so desperately needs. I’m wishing you sweet dreams!!

This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase after clicking on a link, I will earn a small commission, at no cost to you. All opinions are my own after trying each product through out the past few years.

Sir Indiana Bones

Sir Indiana Bones

By Marianne Smith

Sir Indiana Bones (Indy) of Mount Pleasant is the sire of this beautiful litter. He will be two years old in June, and is about 47 lbs full grown. He’s an outside dog and though he was a soft woolly puppy, his lux fur is now more coarse. His coat is currently very thick for winter.

I’m amazed at the cleanliness of this breed. He cleans all the burrs out of his fur every day, and has created his own “latrine” area in his space. However, if I can get out to walk him early enough, he waits to do his “business” in our meadow or woods.

My walks with Indy are a highlight of my day. We live on 20 acres of mixed meadow, pines, and hardwoods. Indy loves to inspect the grounds, and “herd” any living creatures he can find (sorry, birds.) It’s a joy to watch him run full-bore in the meadow, his flag-like tail waving. It is clear that this is what he was made to do! (Here is a video of Indy enjoying the meadow.) For our situation, we have trained him with a long-range Garmin collar and he’s very responsive to commands.  There’s always new discovery, much sniffing, and marking of territory on our walks.

Indy also enjoys being a companion to our three boys as they hike and explore outside. He’s a part of any outdoor chores. He loves to be with his humans. He’s affectionate and will soak up any loving attention willingly.

He regularly conducts bird feeder inspections and defended our home from a stubborn groundhog that lived under our deck. He’s excited to see visitors, and alerts us with barking when someone drives into our property.

Indy was the last puppy available in the first litter of purebred English Shepherds named Tug and Honey (owned by Allen and Pam Stiles in Otisville, MI.) We really feel that we got the hidden jewel of the litter with our loyal, loving dog Indy.