Sunday, April 1, 2018

Helping Bees in Your Backyard

Your backyard is the perfect place to help honeybees! All it takes is the right food sources for bees, along with providing them with water.
A honeybee collecting from a dandelion.

Spring has officially arrived, and soon dandelions will start popping up everywhere! Before your dad (or whoever has the task of taking care of the lawn) starts up the lawn mower, tell them to wait a couple weeks. Dandelions are a honeybee's first food source before the other flowers start to bloom.

When it comes to other food sources for honeybees, we can help by planting what they like. Honeybees like plants and flowers that provide plenty of nectar and pollen. Some great flowers to plant for the spring are crocus and hyacinth. For summer and later blooms, try planting asters, goldenrod, cosmos, and zinnias. 

Honeybees safely drinking water.

With all the flying and work honeybees do to collect nectar and pollen, they get thirsty. Getting that drink of water can sometimes be difficult. To help the bees out, place marbles or rocks in a shallow dish, and add fresh water. The bees can land on the rocks without risk of drowning. Place the water container near your newly planted bee-friendly plants for easy access!

I hope you see how easy it is to help honeybees in your very own backyard! By simply planting the right flowers, letting your dandelions live longer, and providing a safe place for bees to drink, you are helping our bees to survive.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Honey is More Than a Sweet Treat!

Honey is an amazing substance. It is a health-conscious sweetener, the only never-spoiling food, and is full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Honey comes in more than 3,000 varietals worldwide, depending on the nectar source from the honeybee! This causes each honey varietal to have a unique color, flavor, and chemical makeup. While most people know honey as a sweet food, many do not know about honey’s other uses.

Image result for honey varietals
Honey comes in over 3,000 varietals worldwide.
One of the most remarkable things about honey is that it is antibacterial. With Spring just around the corner, more and more folks are outside to enjoy the fresh season! However, between gardening, hiking, and other outdoor activities, there’s bound to be some scraped knees here and there. An incredible and natural way to care for minor wounds is honey! Some years ago, my dog Chuck ran away from home. When we finally caught up to him, he had a large cut on his paw. We took Chuck to the veterinarian, and after getting a number of stitches, she asked us to put honey on his wound. Because honey is only 17% water, bacteria cannot live in it. Additionally, honey is so viscous and thick that when it covers a wound it not only blocks bacteria from entering the wound, but it actually draws bacteria out. At the same time, it secretes a minute amount of hydrogen peroxide which actually promotes the healing process. Today, Chuck has minimal scarring and his paw is just fine. Honey works the same way on humans as it did on Chuck. Many hospitals now order honey in bulk for its medicinal purposes.
Chuck wearing a veterinarian- recommended honey cast for his wound.
Honey and other hive products are also often used in natural cosmetics. Being allergic to many artificial substances, I opt for all-natural cosmetic products, which typically feature honey. For example, the honey in my shampoo creates beautiful iridescent bubbles and develops a natural sheen to my hair because of its many vitamins and minerals.
Honey is truly a miracle substance. While many people only see honey as a delicious sweet treat, it is so much more than just a food!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Will You Bee Mine?

With Valentine's Day around the corner, you might be wondering what to give that someone special. I would suggest something honey or honeybee themed! If you want to be crafty, try making thumbprint bees on your Valentine's Day cards. You will need:

A blank card
Yellow paint or ink pad
Black marker
Other markers to decorate

Thumbprint bee valentine
Start off with making your thumb print bees. Get your thumbs full of yellow color and press onto your blank card. Once the paint or ink dries, use your black marker to add details like wings or a smiley face. Then add other decorations, such as drawing flowers or writing a message like, "Will you bee mine?"
Great gift idea!

If you really want to give a sweet treat, try making this delicious recipe for honey filled chocolates. This recipe will definitely require some assistance from an adult. 

Honey is a great gift any time of the year, but with Valentine's Day, you can show how sweet you think someone is by giving out delicious honey treats. Check out these cute homemade valentines that use honey straws! Or, simply make a "Bee Mine" or "You're So Sweet" tag and attach it to your favorite honey bear with a ribbon. As the American Honey Queen, I would love to receive honey for Valentines!

Monday, January 15, 2018

2018 Representatives Crowned in Reno

The new American Honey Queen and Princess were selected at the 2018 American Beekeeping Federation Convention in Reno, Nevada.

2018 American Honey Queen
Kayla Fusselman from Pennsylvania

2018 American Honey Princess
Jenny Gross from Wisconsin

Congratulations ladies! They will travel the United States promoting honey and beekeeping and post interesting articles about bees and honey along the way. Keep an eye out for the sweetest representatives in America!
2018 American Honey Queen Kayla Fusselman and 2018 American Honey Princess Jenny Gross

Monday, January 1, 2018

Honey's Top Ten for 2018

Happy New Year, Honey! A new year equals a new you, and 2018 promises to be the sweetest yet. Start your year off right with these TOP TEN honey tips and tricks!

You're going to need a lot of energy to make it a great 2018! Try this recipe for Honey Energy Bars. Honey is often called "nature's perfect energy." Whereas refined sugar simply has empty calories, honey contains small amounts of proteins, enzymes, amino acids and minerals.

Sadly, it's likely you or someone in your family will get sick this winter. Try this recipe for Honey Cough Syrup to soothe your sore throat.

Homemade slime, putty and play dough is all the craze among young people! Try this easy recipe for Honey Play Dough.

There are more than 300 varieties of honey in the US. It all depends on the flower the bee got the nectar from! Make a goal to try at least two new kinds of honey in 2018. Buckwheat honey is great in BBQ sauces and wildflower honey would be delicious in honey butter!

When Spring arrives, plant a bee-friendly garden in 2018! Plant native flowering plants like Bee Balm, Blackeyed Susan or Goldenrod, and choose flowers that bloom at various times throughout the growing season so the honeybees will have a continuous supply of food.

Honeybees add nearly $20 billion to the value of US crop production through pollination! As honeybees gather pollen and nectar for their survival, they pollinate crops like apples, cranberries, melons and broccoli. Try this pollination experiment that uses Cheetos!

Read a book about honey, beekeeping or honeybees in 2018! Check your local library or read one of our favorites: Jump into Science: Honeybees, The Honeybee Man or What if There Were No Bees?

Use honey to help with your seasonal allergies! By eating a few teaspoons of local honey each day, your body can build up an immunity to the pollens in your area.

Did you know Cleopatra used to take baths with milk and honey for soft and silky skin? You can, too! Try this recipe for Milk & Honey Bath Melts.

Start every day out right by eating honey for breakfast! Try spooning some into hot tea, drizzling it on your peanut butter toast or sweetening up your oatmeal.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Colors that Honeybees See

         Did you know that honeybees can see flowers so small they are barely visible to you and me? Do you wonder how they can see tiny little flowers while flying so quickly? Honeybees are truly amazing insects, so let us learn how honeybees see. 

Honeybees have incredible eyes. In fact, they have five different eyes with different jobs. Three small eyes on top of their heads control how much light enters. The other two eyes are used to see an image of their surroundings.

           Not only do honeybees differ from humans by having five eyes, but also they are able to see different colors people are unable to see. Honeybees see in ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light allows bees to see more blues and purple, whereas people see more reds and yellows. Almost every flower has ultraviolet light in it. The ultraviolet color pattern on the flower acts as a runway that leads the honeybees to the nectar. Honeybees prefer flowers that are open and with fewer petals so that they easily land on the flower to drink nectar and collect pollen.

So, how do the honeybees spot the tiny little flowers while flying? They have five eyes that help them see better and they see ultraviolet light that helps them see even the smallest of flowers. Honeybees need lots of flowers to pollenate, so if you love flowers too, help the bees by planting flowers or taking care of the flowers near you.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Mother of the Hive

                As the American Honey Princess I always have children asking, where do the bees come from? How did they get there? How are there always new bees showing up? Well, to begin with, there are three types of bees in a hive, the queen, the drone, and the worker bee. The hive needs all three types of bees working together to be able to live their everyday lives. There is one queen in the hive, about 1000 drones, and anywhere from 40,000-80,000 worker bees. That is a massive amount of bees! Today, I want to tell you about the queen bee.  She is the mother of the hive, and because of her we have new bees all the time.  

            There is only one queen in the hive and she has one very important job! She lays all of the eggs in the hive; laying up to 2000 eggs each day! That is her only job. Honey bees do not sleep, so the queen will lay her eggs 24 hours a day until the weather gets cold in the winter. The queen will live about 1 to 3 years and then she will die and be replaced by a new queen.

            When the old queen dies the worker bees locate a 1-3 day old egg she laid before her death. They remove the egg from the cell it was laid in and place it in a new, larger cell that allows the egg more room to grow.  This particular egg will need extra room to grow because it will grow into the new queen bee.  Remember, the queen bee is the largest bee in the hive. After placing the egg in the new cell, the worker bees feed the egg a liquid called royal jelly, which they make from the sides of their heads. Other normal eggs in the hive get fed a mixture of pollen and nectar; however, queen eggs are fed only royal jelly. This special liquid is what makes the egg become a queen bee.  That is how new queen bees are made.

            Five days after the queen emerges out of the cell she goes on a mating flight where she will mate with approximately 15 drones.  Afterwards, she will fly back to the hive. The queen will never leave the hive again unless the hive swarms because she is mated for life. When she gets back to the hive, the new queen will start laying her eggs.

Because the queen lays so many eggs every day, she does not have enough time to take care of herself. Instead, the worker bees take care of her. She always has a group of bees that surround her called the queen’s court. The queen’s court takes care of all the queen’s needs.   They feed and groom her. She lets off pheromone smells, like a perfume, that allows the other bees in the hive to know her identity and requirements.

            The queen is only 1 bee in a hive of 60,000 bees, but without her the whole hive will could not survive. Every bee in the hive is important and they depend on each other. The queen helps continue the colony by laying more eggs. This way the hive can be strong and healthy. The queen is the mother of the hive.