Tuesday, December 1, 2020

What do Bees Eat?

Did you know that honeybees eat more than just honey? They eat a couple different types of food to stay healthy and have energy to work!

Of course honeybees eat honey! They make it from nectar, the sugary substance flowers make to invite the bees to visit. The honeybees gather this nectar to make into honey. You can learn about how honeybees make honey in our past post called “How Do Honeybees Make Honey?” The honey they eat is the source of carbohydrates and gives them energy. Did you know that honey is a good energy source for humans too!
The pollen baskets are packed full!

Honeybees also eat pollen (a powdery substance flowers make) for their protein. They mix the pollen with nectar and pack it onto their back legs into their pollen baskets. They then carry the pollen home to feed to the brood (baby bees). This pollen keeps the honeybees healthy so they can fight off infection in the hive and help the baby bees grow big and strong.
The milky substance inside the cells is royal jelly.

Royal jelly is a milky, protein rich substance that the honeybees feed special eggs to make them become a queen bee. If the egg wasn’t fed royal jelly then it would become a worker bee, but when an egg is fed the special food it supercharges their development so that they are able to lay eggs and become a queen bee. Royal jelly is made from glands in the bees’ head. Some people like to eat royal jelly because it has so many healthy proteins in it. While it doesn’t turn you into a queen bee it can be a great way to keep yourself healthy.

Lastly, honeybees drink water. All living animals need water and honeybees are no different. They look for slow moving sources of water because honeybees can drown. Pollinating and collecting nectar is a hard job and the worker bees need somewhere safe to land to take a drink of water. We wrote back in February about how you can build your own bee water bath!

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Beekeeping Tools and Uniform

Beekeepers use many different tools and protection when they work with their honeybees. All items have an important role to play when beekeepers tend to their hives. 

Beekeepers wear a special uniform called a beekeeping suit. With that suit connects a face and head covering called a veil. This is worn so that honeybees can stay away from their face, making it easier for them to work, and have a less likely chance of being stung. They have an option to wear gloves over their sleeves, to prevent being stung on the hands. If beekeepers are comfortable enough, some do not enjoy wearing gloves, because they know that honeybees are gentle, and they find it easier to work in the hive without the extra fabric of the gloves covering their hands. The suit is designed to zip up across your abdomen and chest, and zip around your neck. The ankle and wrist parts of a suit are cinched, so no bees may get in through those areas.

Beekeepers use what's called a hive tool in the hive, to separate sticky frames, removing the top of the hive, and pulling frames up when they are stuck. A hive tool almost acts similar to a crowbar. Between honey and propolis, everything may stick together, and to separate everything in a calm, gentle way, it's difficult to do so with just your hands. Hive tools get the job done, and some beekeepers discover their own different ways they may use them other than prying sticky substances apart.

Smokers are a very helpful tool for beekeepers. Smokers have two different parts, the chamber and the bellows. The chamber is where a beekeeper will start a fire using anything dry and flammable, such as leafs, rope, boxes, egg cartons, etc. After fire is going and a good smoke is produces, beekeepers will cover the chamber with the spout lid. The bellows is squeezed to push smoke out of the chamber. Beekeepers use the smoker in the front of the hive, and at the top, after the hive top is removed to check bees. What the smoker does is it tricks the honeybees into thinking there is a fire. They then will eat honey and become tired, and go to the bottom of the hive and calm down. This helps the beekeeper look at frames and make sure everything is going smoothly, without having all of the honeybees at the top of the hive or piled on the frames. 

Just like any career, beekeepers always come prepared in a uniform and have special tools they use to get the job done!
Bee Bucks – The Cost of Beekeeping - Backyard Beekeeping

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Honey Pecan Pie with video

Try 2020 American Honey Queen, Mary Reisinger's favorite fall recipe - Honey Pecan Pie! Here's a video showing you how to make it.


Here's the recipe so you can try it yourself!

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Make Your Favorite Recipes with Honey!

Cooking with honey is fun! You can use your favorite type of honey and end up with a completely different taste in the end. If you make these simple changes to your favorite recipe, it will come out with the same texture you love, and even tastier!
  1. Reduce your oven temperature by 25°F if baking – You don’t want your dish to burn or get overly brown!
  2. Use honey for half the measurement of sugar – Honey naturally tastes sweeter than sugar, so you don’t need to use as much to get the right sweetness.
  3. Reduce liquids by ¼ cup for each cup of honey used – Honey is a liquid while sugar is a solid. Taking out some of the liquid makes your dish come out with the right consistency.
  4. Add ½ tsp baking soda for each cup of honey – This is important because honey is slightly more acidic than sugar. The baking soda balances the pH difference.
There are so many different colors of honey!
Did you know that there are over 300 different varietals of honey in the United States and over 3,000 in the whole world? We get the different colors and flavors depending on where the honeybees gathered the nectar from. Some nectars are lighter and some are darker, but they all taste delicious!  

Try experimenting with the different varietals of honey in your recipe. I like to use dark honey such as buckwheat when cooking meats and light honey when making smoothies.

Did you know that honey is a preservative? That means if you make your recipe with honey it won’t go bad as quickly! I especially love to make cookies or bread with honey because it will stay moist and fresh longer.

If you want to walk through a recipe with me while I make the conversions, you can watch it on our YouTube channel here! I made a Honey Banana Bread, and recommend you try converting your favorite recipe to use honey!

Sunday, September 6, 2020

National Honey Month

September is National Honey Month! It is a time to celebrate and offer our thanks to honeybees and beekeepers across the United States. Typically, honey collection season ends in September and many are enjoying a freshly extracted crop of honey. Yum!

Honeybees are responsible for pollinating 1/3 of our food, their contribution valued at $20 billion! In her 6-week lifetime, a single worker bee produces approximately 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey by visiting around 2,600 flowers. Amazing! Honey comes in a variety of colors and flavors based on the nectar source. During this pandemic time, we have started a new YouTube video series teaching about different honey varieties from all over the Unites States. We invite you to follow along!

Monday, August 31, 2020

The wings of a Honeybee

Honeybees use their wings to fly, right? Honeybees have multiple important uses for their wings, including controlling the temperature, and communication. They can flap their wings up to 200 times in just a second!

Honeybees release what  are called pheromones, which humans also have. Pheromones are excreted through the glands of a honeybee. Pheromones have a smell that the other bees need to be aware of, because different smells mean different situations. During an emergency, a honeybee will use their wings to fan around a banana smelling pheromone to alert the other honeybees what is happening. The queen uses her pheromones to let the other honeybees know that she is their queen, and the hive she is in is their hive too. When the queen is ready to pass away or is getting old, she releases less pheromones, or different smelling ones, and that let's the other honeybees know that they need to prepare for a new queen soon. 

The honeybees use their wings to control the temperature in their hive. When it needs to be warmed up for colder climates, honeybees will ball up together and fan their wings to generate a nice, toasty heat for themselves. In hot climates, honeybees will bring droplets of water to their hive, and fan those out to evaporate the cool sensation of the water. Without their wings, honeybees would freeze in the winter, or overheat in the summer. 

Honeybees use their wings to create honey! When nectar is brought back to the hive from floral sources, a honeybee will put that nectar in a cell of the honeycomb, and she will then use her wings to fan the nectar, so it draws water out and becomes thicker. This is needed, so that the water content is down to at least 18%, and the honey will then not spoil.

With all the different uses of a honeybee's wings, they sure are buzz-y bees!
Training To Be A Beekeeper | Bee keeping, Bee, Bee garden

Saturday, August 1, 2020

8 Household Uses of Honey

Honey is more than a sweet treat! We find antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial (cleaning) and hygroscopic (helps with healing) properties in it which makes it useful for much more than eating. If you want to learn how honey gains these properties you can learn about it in our past blog post about enzymesHoney has many purposes both in and outside of the kitchen. Try out of some of our favorite ways to use honey!

Honey sticks have 1 teaspoon of honey in them which is the perfect amount for a face wash!
Honey sticks have 1 teaspoon of honey in them
which is the perfect amount for a face wash!

  1. Energy boost: Honey has the power to give you energy! A lot of athletes take honey before their competitions. The healthy sugars and protein rich pollen in honey give your body the nutrients it needs to perform!
  2. Face wash: To moisturize and clean your face with honey, simply wet your face with warm water and smooth some honey on your face. Leave it on 10-15 minutes and rinse off. You’ll find that your skin is cleaner, softer, and your pores are smaller. Tip: honey sticks are the perfect size for one face wash. Some Honey Queens like to travel with honey sticks to always have honey on hand for their face washes.
  3. Heal cuts and wounds: Did you know honey can be used to treat small cuts, burns, and bites? Some people even call honey “Nature’s Neosporin because of the cleaning and healing properties. Take some honey on a band-aid and place on your wound. Some hospital use honey as their preferred treatment for burns.
  4. Heal pimples: If you or your older sibling get pimples, you can dab some honey on it next time you get one. The cleaning properties of honey help it go away!
    Try adding honey to your favorite drink
    to soothe your throat
  5. Hair magic: Honey can even be used on your hair! To moisturize your hair so it’s less frizzy and make it shiny, smooth  honey throughout wet hair and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing.
  6. Beauty bath: Some say that Cleopatra bathed in milk and honey to keep her skin healthy and beautiful. Try adding a spoonful or two of honey to the water next time you take a bath!
  7. Soothe your throat: Honey coats your throat whenever you eat it and is a natural cough suppressant. You can add it to tea or your favorite drink or snack. One of our favorite drinks is honey water which you can make by warming up water and adding honey to taste.
  8. Sleep aid: Try taking a spoonful of honey before you go to bed to help you fall asleep!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

How is the Queen Chosen in a Hive?

In a hive of honeybees there are three different types of bees. The have very different, but very vital, jobs they need to complete to make honey and live happily. In a hive, there is only one queen. The queen is different based on a few factors: size, diet, and job. There are important steps that need to be taken for a female bee to become a queen. 

All honeybees are born in cells, the hexagonal holes the bees use to store their honey and pollen. The queen's body holds every egg she ever needs to lay in her life. In a day, she lays about 2000 eggs. In order to create a new queen, the current queen lays an egg in a special cell called the queen cell. The queen cell is larger because the larvae, or the baby bee, growing inside of it will be larger than all of the other bees in the hive. When the new queen is developing, worker bees will feed her royal jelly, a special milky substance that is produced from the glands of a honeybee's head. Royal jelly is full of special proteins that help the larvae in the queen cell grow and develop her reproductive organs that allow her to hold and lay so many eggs in her lifetime. The larvae of the new queen will stay in the cell for about 16 days, until she is ready to be born.
The queen of the hive is the only honeybee that can lay eggs, so when she knows that she may die soon or something is wrong, she will release pheromones. Pheromones are a smell that tell the other bees what's wrong, and instruct them to prepare for a new queen.

Once the new queen is born, she will sting or suffocate the old queen until she passes away. Sometimes there are a few queen cells made, with more than one queen hatching. The first queen to hatch is seen as the strongest to the other bees, so she will take over. All of the other queens have to be killed because the honeybees only accept one queen per hive. Having more than one would confuse them, and too many eggs would be laid everyday, causing overpopulation.

Once the old queen and all the other young queens have been killed, the new queen assumes her responsibility as mother of the hive. She will reign as long as she is healthy. 

Monday, June 1, 2020

Bees Like to Clean

This is what propolis looks like in a beehive.
It glues the frames together and seals all cracks.
Do you know the first thing a female honeybee does when she is born? She crawls out of her honeycomb cell, turns back around,  and begins cleaning. Honeybees like to keep their home clean. Have you ever heard it said honeybees keep their hives cleaner than a hospital? They do this through their use of propolis and cleaning each other.

Propolis is made of sap from trees mixed with beeswax and enzymes (special substances which give cleaning and medicinal properties). Beekeepers like to call it “bee glue” because it is a sticky substance the honeybees use to seal up cracks so no dust or debris can come in the hive. Just like a lot of the other products of the hive, propolis has cleansing properties. It cleans the air and any substance it comes in contact with. In fact, the air is so clean that it is considered sterile.

This nasal spray has propolis in it to boost
your immune system.
Just like honeybees love propolis for cleaning, a lot of medicine companies like to make cough drops with propolis. You can also find propolis in tinctures (propolis in liquid form that you can take a drop of if you’re getting sick), lip balms, toothpaste, mouthwash, and nasal spray. You can use propolis just like the honeybees do to stay healthy!

The second way honeybees keep the hive clean is through their behavior. If a hive is infected with a disease, the worker bees will remove everything infected and it will not be allowed back inside the hive. This is especially important to prevent spread of diseases. Once they remove it, they clean everything again with propolis. The honeybees even help clean each other and the queen to keep the hive as clean as possible. 

These bees are cleaning off a bee who came 
home from a day foraging.

By using propolis and having careful behavior, honeybees keep the hive extremely clean. 

Friday, May 1, 2020

Other than honey, find these in the hive!

Healthful Products from the Hive | Mother Earth Living
Everyone who enjoys honey loves it for the taste and the unique, sweet flavor it possesses. We use it for cooking, as a natural sweetener, and even for medicinal purposes! However, many people don't know about the other products honeybees use and produce in the hive!

Honeybees make beeswax to form their hive. The bees create hexagonal shaped cells with the beeswax to store honey and pollen in. The cells also serve as a temporary home for the larvae (the developing bees). People may purchase beeswax with the honey still inside the cells, which is known as comb honey.

Comb honey is the most natural form of honey because it is bought exactly as it comes from the hive. Other than comb honey, there is chunk honey, which is a chunk of comb honey in a jar of liquid honey. Beeswax is used in plenty of cosmetics because of its soothing and healing properties. Beeswax may also be used to create candles; the candles have a very fresh, delicate honey smell, and they last quite a long time!

Propolis is what honeybees use to seal the cracks of their hive; the propolis makes the hive safer and more sanitary. Propolis is very beneficial for not only the honeybees, but also humans. Propolis contains anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. It is so rich in beneficial properties because it is made from sap in trees and resin from the tops of leaves and plants along with honeybee saliva and beeswax.

Pollen is a powdery substance honeybees carry from flower to flower to successfully pollinate. To gather it, honeybees collect the pollen on the backs of their legs in their pollen baskets. Then they bring the pollen home to produce bee bread. Bee bread is a mixture of honey and pollen that is fed to the larvae. Humans may also consume pollen; it contains plenty of nutrients and a lot of protein. People may buy it to use on salads and in smoothies. Pollen is a great source of protein for vegetarians.

There are so many different amazing products of the hive people may purchase and use in their life. Make sure you talk to a local beekeeper and try some for yourself!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Elderberry Syrup

Try 2020 American Honey Princess Sydnie's favorite recipe to boost your immune system!

Elderberry Syrup: the Deliciously Sweet Cold and Flu Remedy That ...