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.

 

English Shepherds – Great All Around Dog!

English Shepherds – Great All Around Dog!

We first heard about English Shepherds from friends of ours, who had grown up with the breed.  They promised them to be intelligent, loyal dogs.  They’re bred to be herding or hunting dogs, but adapt well to being a family pet.

English shepherds are medium sized dogs, weighing between 40-70 pounds. The color and markings of English Shepherds are varied, and not emphasized as much as in other breeds. They can be black and white, black and tan, tri-color, red or liver colored, and sable or yellow to brown. They have a soft dense coat that doesn’t tangle or require too much maintenance (other than more frequent brushing when they’re shedding.)  They can be born with a natural bobtail. They used to be referred to as a “farm collie” or a “farm shepherd”, but have been recognized as a distinct breed through the UKC and English Shepherd Club since 1930.

They’re prized for their intelligence, coupled with a willingness to cooperate. They love to work closely with their favorite humans.

ESs are also known for their loyalty.  They usually choose one person as their favorite, or master, and are extremely loyal to that person.  Junie would often sit under my desk while I was typing, or lay on my feet in the living room.  She definitely listens to me better than anyone else in the family, but she’s found a way to relate to each of us differently. She even knows each of us by name, and will go check on them if she’s told “Go see what so-and-so is up to.”

ESs are territorial, and tend not to stray too far from home. Most often, an ES will alert you of a new person in her territory, and stand guard until you give her the all clear.  Once she knows this person is supposed to be there, she’ll accept that and calm down. Junie has assigned herself the job of patrolling our yard.  Every day she’ll run the same route around the property, scaring off any hawks or eagles.  Should she come across something that maybe shouldn’t be there, such as a baby possum, she’ll bark and keep it cornered until we come check on it. One time my cousin’s dog was over playing with Junie. It was all fun and games until they ran toward the railroad track. I hollered to Junie, and she sent that other dog packing.  I’m guessing she thought I was telling her he didn’t belong in our yard.

Because of the working background of English Shepherds, they make great pets for active families that want to include their dog in all of their adventures. ESs are happiest when they have a job to do, even if that job is escorting the family on an outing to the park or alerting everyone to the arrival of the UPS man.  If an English Shepherd isn’t given jobs to do, he’ll make them up for himself, and you might not be happy with what he decides to do.  These animals love to be a part of the family, so families without the time to train or involve their dog in daily routines should reconsider this breed.

If you think an English Shepherd might be a good fit for your family, fill our our New Owner Questionnaire.

 

Shop Small with Bee Lovely Botanicals

Shop Small with Bee Lovely Botanicals

“Come on, come on. Listen to the money talk.”

This year, we decided to stay home from Black Friday shopping. We were never hard core door busters, but we liked to buy the boys a few new pairs of jeans and get a deal on batteries.

After spending a few years on the road doing craft shows, we have met so many awesome, unique people. We see the hard work that they put into their products and the time it takes to sell them. We know their families and their stories. We know the jewelry maker whose tent collapsed, almost ruining all of her inventory, the seamstress whose retina detached and had to take time off of work, the florist’s son who offered Josh breakfast and a place to stay when our car broke down, and the artist on a mission to further the good news.

We know that when we buy products from them, our money is speaking about our values. It’s saying that we value these people, and their families. It’s saying that we appreciate the countless hours they put into their trade, making sure that each product is just right. It’s saying that their values remind us of our own values, and we want to see them succeed.

We want you to know, dear customer, that your money talks too. We want you to know that when you support our small business, your money is talking. We’re not a large corporation that has mass market appeal. We’re a family business, and we have family values. Your money says that you believe in family when you buy from Bee Lovely Botanicals. Your money says that you want to support your community when you buy from Bee Lovely Botanicals. Your money says that you care about the type of ingredients you use on your skin when you buy from Bee Lovely Botanicals.

We were at the Country Living Fair in Nashville this past weekend. Josh was sitting at a table eating lunch when he was…

Posted by Bee Lovely Botanicals on Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The next time you’re about to tender your hard earned money, stop and think about what your money is saying. Is this transaction going to support your morals and beliefs? Are these products good for you and your family?

Small Business Saturday is a great time to let your money speak to your values! We would love to provide you with quality products for your friends and families this Christmas season.

Free Shipping?

Free Shipping?

In the day and age of Amazon Prime, free shipping has become a well loved perk of many online orders, especially through e-commerce giants like Amazon or Walmart.com.  We are often asked about shipping costs, so here’s the way that we look at it.

There really is no free lunch.  Sorry to burst your bubble, but there’s no free shipping, either.  UPS, FedEx, or the US Post Office isn’t going to release their fleet of delivery trucks and drivers for free, and they shouldn’t. It’s their business to deliver packages, and they are and should be paid for their work.  So, the question really is, who is going to pay for their work?  The answer to this is simple, although sometimes deceptively simple.  Outside of once in a while special promotions, the consumer is the one who foots the bill for shipping, one way or another.

When you buy from mega e-commerce stores, such as Amazon, your shipping costs are factored into the cost of the product.  You’re still paying for the shipping, it’s just not a separate line item. Amazon also has very sophisticated search algorithms and cookies, so you’re more often seeing the higher priced items first in your search results. It makes it easy to figure your total cost up front, but might not be saving you any money.

At Bee Lovely Botanicals, we believe in being straight forward with our prices, and our shipping.  Our shipping prices are extracted straight from the USPS website, with no additional charges added. They are computed based on the weight of the package and distance of the delivery address. Once in a while, we can find a less expensive option, in which case we always refund shipping overages of differences greater than $2. Occasionally, we need to pay a little more than what was charged, and if that’s the case it comes out of our pocket. In the end, what we collect and what we pay out in shipping are about the same.

We are a small family business, and we believe this is the most conscientious and honest way to provide the best service to you, the customer.  We could increase the cost of our products to include the price of shipping, but in the long run, our best customers, who place larger orders at once would end up paying more than they would pay in actual shipping charges. There are rare occasions when we’ll run a special and pay the shipping for you.  If you come across one of these offers, you better jump on it, because we can’t afford to foot the shipping bill too often!

So yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, but sorry, there’s no such thing as free shipping.

We would love to hear your comments on this topic!  We truly desire to provide the best products and most useful service that we can!  Would you rather pay more for products, and have free shipping, or pay the actual shipping charges of your package? Let us know in the comments section!

Join the Bee Lovely Team

Join the Bee Lovely Team

Hey there! So glad you stopped by, because I have what might be an AMAZING offer for you!

My family and I started Bee Lovely Botanicals after a swarm of wild bees inhabited a hollowed out tree trunk.  We were so amazed by these little creatures’ ingenuity, intelligence, and creativity that we started beekeeping the following year.  Never in my wildest dreams did I see this path for myself and my family, but there is a time for planning and a time for letting God do His thing.

The beginning of our business was completely letting go and letting God.  My husband got laid off, and we were very blessed that he found a new job within a week or two.  That was no small feat for our area or that time, but it was a significant pay cut. I clearly remember thinking “God, the next thing to go on the budget is toilet paper!  We don’t want to go there!!”  For about a year and a half I prayed that God would lead me to some way to boost our finances while still staying home with the boys.  I wasn’t quite hit with a lightening bolt, but it was a very clear vision of a display at the farmers market.

Our business slowly grew as our family grew.  The boys needed less of my complete attention, and they developed skills to help out.  We were slowly coming into the time to plan.

About 6 years into our business, Josh quit his full time job to work full time for our business.  Over the last two years, we’ve done huge craft shows, small farmers markets, and everything in between.  Our products were sold in tiny mom and pop shops and huge corporations with stores across the country.  We learned a couple things through our experiences.

1. We like working with people. Real people.  We don’t want to be in huge chain stores that try to haggle over every penny.  We love working with other small businesses.  Small business owners are really the back bone of our country! (Did you know that small businesses account for 13% of businesses, but 48% of employment?!)  We love, love, love working with honest, hard working family people!

2. Travelling is fun, for a while.  We worked at so many markets that we were beginning to burn ourselves out, and we felt it taking away from instead of empowering our family. We really did enjoy getting to interact with our customers, and we have made some life long friends out of neighbors at the farmers market, but I can’t be in two places at once, and our business was growing to the point where we needed to decide where our work would have the biggest impact and reward.

If you’ve read this far, thank you! You’re probably asking yourself, “What is this really all about?”  Bee Lovely Botanicals has always been about our passion for family (and I dare not forget my most industrious business partners, the bees!).  I want to share the blessing that God gave us with other families.  That is why we are launching a direct sales pilot program.  I’m hoping to offer families a fun, flexible way to boost their bottom line, while offering a community of Christian women that raise each other up.

Josh, the boys and I have been in direct to the customer sales for the last 8 years, and we are experts!  We want to offer that support to our Beauty Beeologists!

Our products are very high quality, and we know all there is to know about our products. We want our Beeologists to be well versed in each product, too.  We’ve invested hours upon hours into training videos that tell you everything you need to know to sell our products.

We can teach you the basics of making killer graphics, and selling through e-mail marketing and social media, and we can help you knock it out of the park with in-person selling! 

Although are products are really, truly fantastic, they don’t sell themselves.  If you think you might be interested in becoming a sales rep, know that you will have to put the work in.  For our pilot program, we are asking for a 6 month commitment.  Do you think you’re our next Beauty Beeologist?

Join our live facebook event August 23, 2018 at 6:30 to learn more.

Adopt a Hive

Hi Y’all,

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.

Thank you!

Jodie + Josh

Bee Lovely Botanicals