Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Flowers for the Honeybees

Happy Spring Everyone!
Image result for seed ball plants
The life of a beekeeper is always buzzing, especially in the spring of the year! Beekeepers are beginning to get their new bees as well as prepare their honeybees for the adventures of the summer to come. The spring is an important time for honeybees. If you are looking for an easy way to help honeybees, leave the dandelions in your yard! Dandelions are the first floral sources for honeybees and will help get their hive off to a great start.

Are you looking for an activity to help honeybees? One thing you can do is to plant flowers in your yard that provide pollen and nectar for honeybees. Check out this activity on making seed balls!

Seed Balls:
2 parts potting soil
5 parts potter clay mix
1-2 parts seeds
Water

Mix together the soil, clay, and seeds in a large container. Once combined, add water little bits of water until it has the consistency of cookie dough. The balls should not be sticky. Once combined,  use your hands to form 1-2 inch balls. Let them dry overnight.

Now that you have your seed balls, it's time to plant them! Find an area with sunlight, flat landscape, and won't get mowed over. Next, place the seed ball where you would like the flowers to grow and let nature take care of the rest! There is no need to plant or water the seed ball as these require little to no maintenance to grow flowers. Best of luck planting!

Monday, March 11, 2019

The Buzz About Beeswax

When people think of honeybees, one of the first things they think of is the honeycomb's hexagon shape. The six-sided comb is where the bees store honey and nectar, but what is it made from? Honeycomb is made from beeswax and is one of the many products we can can get from our bee hives. A female worker bee does many interesting things in her lifetime, and how she makes beeswax is one of their most impressive skills.

When a worker bee eats honey, she produces a clear wax in scales from eight 
glands on her abdomen. These special glands take the sugar from the honey and make it into beeswax. The bee who made the wax will remove these scales with her legs, or another bee will come and help her remove them. The bees take that scale and shape the beeswax using their legs and strong jaws to make it into a soft ball. Then, it is able to be taken around the hive and placed wherever it is needed. 

Beeswax has many uses outside the hive and is great for many homemade crafts such as candles, lip balms and beauty recipes. 
Beeswax is also a great moisturizer found in a lot of cosmetics. Lip balms and lotion bars are very popular products made with beeswax because beeswax acts as a barrier to trap moisture and leave your skin feeling soft. Search "homemade honey beauty recipes," and try one today!


Beeswax candles are environmentally friendly and burn clean (meaning they create little smoke). Beeswax candles are also known to burn brighter and longer with a strong natural smell. Beeswax candles can be made either by rolling colorful sheets of beeswax around a wick or by melting beeswax and pouring it into a candle mold. Search "make your own beeswax candles" for more information.

Honeybees work hard to produce beeswax, and they use it to store all their most important belongings. Keep an eye out for some amazing products made with beeswax.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Love and Beekeeping

Happy Valentines Day! Did you know that Saint Valentine is the Patron Saint of Beekeeping? Valentine's Day is all about love and cherishing those around you. This is the same concept Saint Valentine shares with beekeeping. Being the Patron Saint of Beekeeping means Saint Valentine watches over the beekeeping industry, protecting the beekeepers and the honeybees.

This love for beekeeping is still cherished by many today. During winter months in northern states, beekeepers have to provide their bees with extra love to help them survive the winter.  The winter months of the north mean temperatures and snow are constantly falling. Beekeepers either keep their bees in the North or send the honeybees to the warmth of the Southern states.

Wintering in the North
Hives snowed in for the winter
Temperatures in the North can get as low as -30°F or colder. While the temperature of the air outside is that cold, the inside of the bee hive will be as warm as 98° throughout the entire winter! The honeybees are their own heating system. Honeybees will be in constant motion creating heat with their bodies, and then they fan their wings to move the heat around! To ensure the safety and warmth of the queen bee, she is at the center of the cluster of honeybees. 


A common path of states visited by Migratory Beekeepers
Migratory  Beekeeping
Migratory beekeepers move their honeybees throughout the United States to help pollinate crops. A migratory beekeeper might go to California to pollinate almond crops in the winter and then to Washington in the spring to pollinate apple blossoms. Summer could be spent in Wisconsin pollinating cranberries or North Dakota pollinating sunflowers. Migratory beekeepers are always on the move and help advance agriculture from coast to coast! 



Sunday, January 13, 2019

2019 Representatives Crowned in Myrtle Beach

The new American Honey Queen and Princess were selected at the 2019 American Beekeeping Federation Convention in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

2019 American Honey Queen
Hannah Sjostrom from Wisconsin

2019 American Honey Princess
Nicole Medina from New Jersey

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!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Lessons from the Honeybee

Happy New Year! Here are some fun and educational activities to learn hands-on about pollination and honey. Try them at home or at school! Click on the "Lessons" tab above for more resources.

Cheese Balls Pollination Activity
Draw two flower shapes on a white piece of paper. Glue a white muffin cup in the center of one and fill it with cheese balls. Eat all the cheese balls--be careful not to lick your fingers! Then touch your fingers to the other flower. You just "pollinated" your flower! The cheese residue represents pollen and your fingers represent the fuzzy bees!


















Honey, I Love You!
There are so many ways to use honey! It is delicious to eat, can soothe a sore throat or heal a cut,  helps beautify skin and hair and provides energy! See if you can use honey in these four areas this month: baking, healing, beauty and energy. Print off the coloring sheet below (made by a former honey queen!) for ideas.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Happy Holidays


Happy Holidays to everyone! December is a busy month full of celebrations. Hannukah and Christmas are among the top most celebrated holidays. As American Honey Queen, I think of how to incorporate honey and other products of the hive into my celebrations!

Beeswax candles are used for Hannukah.
This year, Hannukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, runs from December 2-10, where candles are lit every day in celebration of the re-dedication of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The candles used can be beeswax. Beeswax candles burn longer, give off a slight honey smell, and are environmentally friendly.

Like most holidays, there is always cooking and special foods involved. A traditional food for Hanukkah is fried latkes. Check out this recipe for honey inspired applesauce and latkes.

Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, takes place on December 25. This popular holiday is often filled with gift giving. If you need a last minute gift, consider giving a book on beekeeping or unique flavor of honey to a friend or family member. If you know a beekeeper that you still need to give a gift to, consider a new set of gloves or hive tool.

Another food filled holiday, most families sit down for a meal as part of their Christmas celebration. Your Christmas meal would be great if it included honey! Check out this recipe for Pineapple Honey Glazed Ham.

No matter what holiday you celebrate, I hope you have a sweet time!

Have a happy holiday!


Thursday, November 1, 2018

Honey Turkey Thanksgiving

You can't have Thanksgiving without the turkey! But, have you ever thought about using honey on your turkey?

Here are some of my personal favorite Thanksgiving honey recipes:

HERBED TURKEY BREAST

YIELD: Makes 6 servings
INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup - honey
1/4 cup - orange juice
2 T - butter or margarine, melted
1 1/2 tsp. - dried sage
1 tsp. - dried thyme
1 clove - garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. - salt
1/4 tsp. - pepper
1 - boneless, skinless turkey breast, about 2 lbs.
DIRECTIONS
Preheat broiler. Position oven rack 6 inches from heat source.
Combine honey, orange juice, butter, sage, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper.
Place turkey breast on rack set in broiler pan. Brush with some of honey mixture. Broil, brushing frequently with remaining mixture, turning turkey once, until no longer pink inside, about 40 minutes.
Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

CHUNKY APPLE CRANBERRY SAUCE

YIELD: Makes 4 cups
INGREDIENTS
2 cups - fresh cranberries
2 - tart apples, peeled, if desired, cut in 1/4-inch slices
1 cup - chopped onion
1/3 cup - olive oil
1/3 cup - honey
4 tsp. - red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. - ground ginger
1/4 tsp. - ground cinnamon
Freshly ground black pepper
DIRECTIONS
In a medium saucepan stir all ingredients. Heat to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes; stirring occasionally.
Cool and refrigerate.

HONEY CORNBREAD STUFFING

YIELD: Makes 4 servings
INGREDIENTS
4 cups - day-old Honey Cornbread, crumbled
1 (4 oz.) - Italian sausage
1 cup - chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup - minced onion
1/2 cup - chopped celery
1 T - minced parsley
1 tsp. - dried thyme leaves, crushed
1 tsp. - salt
1/4 tsp. - ground black pepper
1/3 cup - chicken broth
2 T - honey
DIRECTIONS
In large bowl, place crumbled cornbread.
Remove sausage from casing. In medium skillet, crumble and sauté sausage until brown. Using slotted spoon, remove sausage from skillet and add to cornbread. Drain all but 1 T of fat.
Return skillet to medium-high heat; stir in bell pepper, onion and celery. Sauté until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. Cool slightly, then add to cornbread.
In small bowl, combine broth and honey. Pour over stuffing.
Place stuffing in a greased 9x9-inch baking dish. Cover dish with foil and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes until stuffing is lightly browned. 
TIP
As an alternative, pack you may pack stuffing into poultry cavity before roasting.
I hope you have a wonderful honey-and-family-filled Thanksgiving! For more honey recipes, click here!