Don’t Spray a Swarm!
??It’s National Pollinators Week, and swarm season! ??
Beginning in June and ending in September or October, honey bees start to swarm. This is a natural event that is meant to increase the bee population.
What happens is that a hive becomes crowded, and (usually) the old queen and about half of the bees in a hive leave to start a new colony.
A virgin queen, or a queen cell, along with the other half of the bees stay in their original home.
The bees that leave will head out and hang in a cluster, usually on a tree branch. They’ll send scout bees out to look for a suitable new home. Once a suitable home is found, the bees will all take flight and move into their new digs.
They usually only hang out in a cluster for a few hours to a day or two. They’re most often very gentle while swarming because they have no home to defend.
If you see a swarm, call a beekeeper!! If you’re near the thumb or Tri-Cities, contact us, Bee Lovely Botanicals. In most cases, we can safely remove them and give them the cozy new home they’re so desperately searching for.
DO NOT SPRAY THEM!! If they frighten you, just let them ‘bee’ 😉 , knowing they’ll probably be gone by the next day. Please share this post to help #savethebees !
We just got back from Nashville, can you tell? We were vendors at the Country Living Fair and we were so happy to get a little southern sun and warmth while there. We also were blessed to meet so many wonderful vendors and customers. We want to thank all of you that participated in our questionnaire from last month. It definitely was nice to get to know you a little more and gain some valuable information on how to serve you better. Congratulations to Danielle on winning the $50 gift certificate for participation.
I know we make what we do look easy (he he he), but it can surely take a toll on a person’s spirit to always need to be on the cutting edge. We were so very encouraged by our neighbor vendor who had been doing shows for awhile. She gave us to the great advice to follow God’s direction (if this is on our heart then continue, He will provide a way to make it happen).
We know we have a great product, we love beekeeping, and we love the opportunity to serve our customers. However problems always crop up that make doing those things challenging. Computer issues that make running an online store difficult, having all of our bees die over the winter (apparently the US has had a huge bee die off this past year), and finding time to wear all our many hats can be very trying.
This beautiful, sunny day, we are going to clean out our hives. This is probably the saddest beekeeping day of the year, but even more so when you have no surviving hives. We’ve already missed seeing them buzz around the yard when the temperature creeps up in early spring, and our budding dandelions look really bare this year.
While we were in Nashville, we spoke with a bee inspector from Ohio. He said that both Ohio and Tennessee experienced heavy losses this year. We’ve also heard that large commercial operations in Michigan had losses exceeding 75% and that no hives survived in one Michigan county.
It’s discouraging and expensive to have to replace your entire apiary. If a cattle farmer lost all of his cows, if a majority of beef farmers over 3 states lost even half of their herd, people would wonder what was going on. When a beekeeper loses bees, people say you should have put them inside, you should have used antibiotics, you shouldn’t treat at all, you should this and that all day long. The truth is, this is a problem much larger than any individual beekeeper’s methods. Traditional, natural, non-treatment beekeepers all sustained heavy losses.
Bee populations are sustained by beekeepers. We read a recent study that bee populations are rebounding, and CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) is not a problem any more. Looking at the surface of these statistics, the number of beehives in the US may be on the rise, but the true statistic you need to look at is survival rates. If you were to look at the population at the beginning of March this year, my guess is that it would have been very low. In another few weeks, beekeepers will be rebuilding their hives, and the numbers should look a little closer to normal. Should beekeepers stop rebuilding their hives, the true weight of the problem would be realized. Ross Conrad has an excellent 6 part series on the effects of pesticides (especially neonicatinamides) on bees. (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part V, Part VI ). In Part IV Ross explains that honeybees are actually faring better than some of their pollinating counterparts because of the intervention of beekeepers.
This is where our Adopt A Hive Program
comes into play. It’s an excellent way to support honey bee populations, while also getting some awesome products and education. Each Adopt A Hive comes with an adoption certificate, hive updates, a Hive Awareness Manual, and products or honey.
It makes a great gift for Mother’s or Father’s Day. You could use the full share option and customize products for your mom, mother-in-law and grandmothers. 1. Finish shopping 2. Save the bees. Check!
Our Adopt a Hive program is also a great way to learn about bees in the classroom. Our full share option includes 4 video hive updates, the kids get to name the queen and we would ‘bee’ delighted to customize gift bags for the classroom. We’ll even bring the field trip to you by bringing the queen bee into the classroom in our observation hive (within reasonable distance).
We currently have 27 hives available for adoption, below you can see how the share program is broken down.
Full Share: Cost: $200. Includes:$200 worth of products (you can get all honey, all skincare products, or mix of both), 4 hive updates through the season, A Hive Awareness Manual, you get to name the queen, a personalized adoption certificate, and a fully customized honey tag if you choose to get honey.
Half Share: Cost:$100. $100 worth of products (honey or products), 3 hive updates throughout the season, A Hive Awareness Manual, adoption certificate, a customized honey label, and you are in a drawing with another half share to have the opportunity to name the queen.
Quarter Share: Cost is $50, with that you get $50 worth of products (honey or products), 2 hive updates throughout the season, Hive Awareness Manual, and an adoption certificate.
These options are already pre-populated with some of our best sellers, but just contact us if you would like to fully customize your box.
Let us know if you have any questions. We’d be happy to discuss custom options with you.
Jodie + Josh
Bee Lovely Botanicals
We were fortunate to be able to visit a family friend on a recent trip to Pennsylvania. Unfortunately we brought home an unwanted souvenir, a cold. It was nothing serious, but the boys did have an annoying tickle that seemed to present itself in their throat in such a way that none of us got much sleep.
After posting honey recipes to our facebook page last month, I decided to give making honey cough drops a go. After all, I’d almost made them on accident several times while cooking with honey. I snagged a jar of our Lemon Zest and Ginger Root Infused honey. I’d read that lemon oil is good for coughs as it’s anti-inflammatory, high in vitamin C, and is antibacterial, and that ginger can relieve a sort throat, so it seemed only natural to make my cough drops from our Lemon and Ginger Honey (pictured above) I used 9 oz of lemon ginger honey, and simply cooked it until it reached 300*F on a candy thermometer. I wanted to make sure that it got to the proper temperature, so I left it on the heat for a bit after it reached 300*. This was almost a terrible mistake, as honey can go from hot to scorched in a matter of seconds. I got the first whiff of the honey getting too hot and immediately poured it into a greased pan I had prepared. I think if I would have left it go for another couple seconds it would have tasted burnt. After pouring the honey into the greased pan, I let it cool and attempted to cut it. As the French would say, “C’est impossible!”
After being in the freezer for a while, the honey cough drops hardened up and I bent the pan back and forth to break them up. Then I tossed them in a mixture of powdered sugar and vitamin C powder. The result is actually quite delicious, as the honey caramelized just a touch, and the lemon and vitamin C powder add just a bit of tang. These little cough drops also multi-task as filling removers, so chew with caution.
Honey Cough Drop Recipe
! 9 oz jar of Bee Lovely Botanicals Lemon Ginger Honey (or 9 oz of your favorite honey)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vitamin C powder
Heat honey to 300*, being careful not to scorch it. Pour into greased pan and transfer to freezer until cooled. Break apart and coat in powdered sugar and vitamin C powder mix.