Wednesday, December 1, 2021

How do we use products from a hive?

Honeybees are quite amazing insects if you really think about it. Not only do they make it possible to have so many delicious fruits and vegetables but the products that they produce are used in so many different ways! The unique and diverse ways that these products are used my surprise you and who knows, you may even be already using them at home.


What do you reach for when you feel a tingle in your throat? Make it your jar of honey or honey cough drops! Honey and propolis are found in many health products for the immune boosting properties found in them. Honey helps to naturally sooth a sore or scratchy throat. One product that you may not think of is pollen. Pollen is a great addition to your diet as it is high in protein and has many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found within the yellow, green, and orange pollen pellets collected by honeybees. This pollen can improve your imune system in addition to improving wound healing.


Beeswax can commonly be found in beauty products such as chapstick, lotion, makeup, and even hand creams. The properties in beeswax not only helps to lock moisture into the skin but can also help to draw additional moisture to the skin. Royal jelly is another product made by bees that can be found in beauty products. Typically you will see royal jelly in facial and hand creams for its believed benefits that it helps to reduce the signs of aging. But besides beeswax and royal jelly, honey can be found in hand soaps, hair masks, and body wash as honey not only adds moisture to skin and hair but it can also help to reduce inflamation of the skin. 

Home Products

There are many uses of beeswax around the home! Making and using beeswax cloth wraps are a great alternative to plastic food storage bags if you are looking to wrap up some fruit or maybe a sandwhich. Not only is it reusable but it is also super easy to clean because beeswax repells water. The ability to repel water is a great reason to use beeswax to waterproof boots, clothing, tents, and equipment that you don't want to get wet. You may ocassionally see beeswax used in furniture and shoe polish or even applied to skis to help them glide. Firestarters are commonly found using beeswax to protect the firestarter from getting wet making it better able to handle the elements when camping. It can also be used to lubricate zippers, wooden drawers, instrument valves, or even grease your baking pans!

We can utilize the products of the hives in so many different ways. But the fascinating aspect is that many of these products have been used for thousands of years! Try incorporating products from the hive into your health care and beauty routine or maybe try some of the home products featuring beeswax.

Monday, November 1, 2021

The Fascinating Languages of Honey Bees

Honey bees have many ways to communicate with each other. In this month’s article, we will cover how honey bees talk in the hive and communicate where food is!

Pheromones - The Honey Bees’ Perfume

Here a worker bee extends her abdomen to warn the colony of a threat.

The first way honey bees communicate is through smell. The two main odors are for alarm and the queen bee. The alarm smell helps the guard bees to quickly tell the rest of the colony that an intruder is about to attack. The colony in response will come to that location to provide assistance to protect their hive. Generally, bees will respond to alarm pheromone only at or near the colony, not in the field. Honey bees also use this scent to help her sister locate the hive, food, and water. The queen bee produces a unique smell that tells the colony that all is well. If the queen were to die, that smell would be missing and the worker bees would begin to make a new queen from a female egg.

The mixture of pheromones plus the distinctive queen signature pheromone, mix with food odors to give each bee colony a distinctive hive odor.

Waggle Dances - Where’s the food?

Honey bees use the sun as a point of reference to find flowers.

Honey bees communicate where resources are by performing a type of dance on the bee comb. When she first discovers a new field of flowers, she will remember exactly where it is in relation to the beehive. She takes a sample of the nectar back to the hive to share with her sisters. As she arrives back to the hive, she makes her way to the dancefloor, eager to tell the colony about the resource that she found! By moving in a figure-8 pattern at a specific angle on the comb, she tells the colony how far away the flowers are and which direction the bees should head. She will also wiggle her abdomen to show the quality of the nectar or pollen that she found.

Friday, October 1, 2021

The Relationship Between Beekeepers & Farmers

Have you ever heard about "mutual relationship"? A mutual relationship is when both individuals benefit from the interaction. In this case, we are going to look at the relationship between beekeepers and farmers and the benefit they each receive from working together with one another.

Benefits to the Consumer

With the joint effort of farmers and beekeepers, we are fortunate to be able to enjoy a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes. There are over 90 different crops that are pollinated by insects like honeybees. Some of your favorite may include melons, berries, pecans, apples, cucumbers, and so much more all because of the pollination from honeybees! Without farmers, our diets would look drastically different and without honeybees and beekeepers, 1/3 of the food that we eat wouldn't be possible. 

Working Together- Farmer Benefits

Beekeepers and farmers may work together for a multitude of reasons with one being pollination. When beekeepers introduce honeybees into fields of crops, the pollination that these honeybees help increase not only the yields but also the size and uniformity of the produce in that field. If large scale farmers have acres and acres of crops, there may be a chance that the local bees will not be able to effectively pollinate all of those crops leading to decreased yields and revenue for the farmer. Farmers receive the benefit of better crop production made possible through the partnership with beekeepers and their bees. 

Working Together- Beekeeper Benefits

When farmers and beekeepers work together, not only do the farmers benefit in this relationship but so do the beekeepers. When farmers ask beekeepers to bring hives of bees to crop fields for pollination, farmers typically will pay them for these pollination services. The payment from these pollination services can be a good source of income for the beekeeper as some beekeepers focus on providing these pollination services over producing honey. In addition to the payment that these beekeepers may receive, the bees that are placed in these crop fields will have the opportunity to collect nectar and pollen to store away as food. Some beekeepers may be able to receive specialty honey depending on what crops the bees are pollinating such as blueberry honey, orange blossom honey, and even cranberry honey. These specialty fruity honeys take on a faint taste of the flavor in which the nectar is gathered making orange blossom honey have a slight citrus flavor to it. Beekeepers can then go on to sell this honey as a specialty item as these types of honey are less common.

Small and Large Scale Beekeepers

There isn't just one type of beekeeper that farmers work with. Small scale beekeepers may not be solely focusing on providing pollination services to their local farmers. Rather, they may inadvertently be helping surrounding farmers as their bees visit the surrounding crops and orchards leading to increased production. These small scale beekeepers are typically keeping bees for a few reasons including pollinating their garden, receiving fresh honey, or for the joy of keeping bees. Large scale beekeepers, especially those that are focusing on pollination have a slightly different goal for their hives. While large scale beekeepers might focus their efforts on honey production, there are many other large scale beekeepers that partner with farmers for the purpose of pollination. These commercial beekeepers will transport their hives to wherever the farmer needs bees depending on which crops need pollination. 

Communication for Success

In any relationship, communication is vital! Through communication, beekeepers and farmers have the opportunity to prepare and plan for pesticide and insecticide applications on crop fields. When a beekeeper knows that a farmer is going to be applying chemicals to their crops, beekeepers have the ability to remove their bee hives from those fields to reduce the chance of those bees coming into contact with chemicals. Not only does this benefit the beekeeper as less bees will be affected by the chemicals but the farmer also benefits as there will be more bees available for crop pollination.  

Maintaining the relationship between farmers and beekeepers is mutually beneficial to both parties. Not only do the farmers benefit from larger yields of crops but the beekeepers also have the opportunity to receive payment for pollination services that are provided. Since 1/3 of the food we eat is impacted by pollinating insects like honeybees, don't forget to thank your local beekeepers and farmers that are responsible for providing us with delicious food for our tables! 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Let’s Celebrate National Honey Month!

While honey may be the most well-known product from the beehive, honey bees' greatest impact is through pollination of food crops. But how do honey bees collect pollen? They use an invisible force called static electricity Today, I have a neat activity for you to try. With these experiments, you will be able to see and feel static electricity as it pulls on different items.

Move It - Salt and Pepper on Plate with a Spoon

Step 1) Pour about 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper onto a plate.

Step 2) To combine, stir the ingredients with your finger and then spread the pile out into a thin layer.

Step 3) Rub the spoon through your hair or on a piece of wool for about 1 minute.

Step 4) Slowly move the spoon, almost touching the plate, across the salt and pepper. What happened? The pepper weighs less than the salt and is lifted up by static electricity. To remove the pepper, simply touch the pepper flakes or gently tap the comb against the plate.

See it - Balloon and Hair

Step 1) Take a rubber balloon and inflate it to nearly its full size, stretching the rubber tight.

Step 2) Rub the balloon vigorously on unpinned hair for a full minute.

Step 3) Slowly lift the balloon away from your hair and watch the hair stand up towards the balloon! If you move the balloon close to your hair again, the hair will bend towards the balloon as it comes close.

Tips: This experiment works best on thin or naturally blond hair. If your hair is shorter, you may want to stand in front of a mirror to see the full effect. Alternatively, you can try this process on your arm hair.

Feel It - Feet and Doorknob

Step 1) Put on your shoes and move to a carpeted area.

Step 2) Shuffle your feet across the carpet for about 1-2 minutes. This will build a small electrical imbalance, creating static electricity.

Step 3) Shuffle over to the nearest doorknob and touch the handle. You will feel a quick zap that shows the static electricity discharging and returning to normal levels. If you want to feel the zap again, you will need to start again by shuffling on the floor. 

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Queen of the Hive

If you had to pick your favorite bee in the hive, would it be the worker bee, drone bee, or queen bee? All bees play an important role in the success of the hive but the favorite for most is probably the queen bee. Her role within the hive is instrumental to the success of the entire hive making her one important bee!

The Beginning
Let's start at the very beginning to how a queen is created. When a hive is queen-less or the queen is beginning to fail in her ability to lay eggs, the worker bees will start the process to create the next queen for the hive. In order to create the queen, the worker bees will create queen cups which are large cells where the queen will start to develop. In these queen cups, workers will place a single female egg in each of these cells which are now destined to become a queen. While the larvae begins to develop, worker bees will feed her royal jelly until the cell is capped over at day 9. On day 16, the queen will chew her way out of her cell with the help of worker bees. There can only be one queen bee in the hive so the first queen to emerge from her cell will kill the other developing queens or if multiple queens emerge at the same time, they will fight to the death with the strongest queen surviving. 

Queen cups have been created to start drawing out (creating) a new queen.

The Largest Bee
Each of the three bees found within the hive are a different size which correlates to the job that those bees have within the hive. The queen bee is the largest bee in the hive because of her responsibility to lay eggs. It was because of her diet of only royal jelly while she was developing in her cell which played an important role in allowing her to become the largest bee. Her body can be up to 20 mm long and she will have a large area on her thorax which will be free of hair making it easier for a beekeeper to identify the queen. Because her body is so long, her wings are only about half of the length of her body as she rarely has the need to leave the hive and use her wings. Another aspect that makes the queen unique is her stinger. Her stinger does not have a barb on it meaning that she is able to sting multiple times but she also uses the stinger to help position the eggs she lays in each of the cells. The next largest bee is the drone bee (male). The role of the drone bee is simple as they have one sole purpose which is to mate with a queen. The bees that do the majority of the work in the hive are the worker bees (female). A hive can be comprised of up to 50,000 worker bees each with different roles to support the hive. The different jobs that a worker bee has changes as she becomes older so in her short 5-6 week lifespan, she may do up to 8 different jobs!

The size of the bee plays an important role in the job they will have during their life.

The Role of the Queen
The queen has an important job for the rest of her 1-2 year lifespan which will focus around producing eggs and keeping the hive strong with worker and drone bees. Shortly after the queen emerges from her cell she will leave the hive in order to complete her mating flight. After returning to the hive, she will lay up to 1,000 eggs every day of her life. She is the only bee within the hive that is able to reproduce and determine the gender of each egg that she lays. The majority of the eggs that she will lay are female with the purpose of becoming worker bees. 

One egg is layed in each cell by the queen.

Caring for the Queen
Since the queen has the sole responsibility of laying eggs, she has servants to care for her. These servants are called the queens court as seen in the picture below. The queens court will surround the queen in order to take care of all of her needs. These worker bees will not only feed the queen but they will also keep her clean each day of her life.

The queens court surrounds the queen to care for her.

While there is only one queen bee in the hive, she has a very important role everyday of her life. The success of the hive is dependent on her ability to lay eggs that will grow up and have important roles within the hive. No wonder she is called the queen because she is so important! 

Thursday, July 1, 2021

If I were a Worker Bee...

The jobs of the worker honey bee correspond with their age. The older the worker bee, the more responsibility she gains. She cares about the colony as a whole and does everything that she can to help her family. This article is written by a newly emerged worker bee. Read on as she shares about the jobs that she does throughout her life!

Mortuary Bees (days 3-16)

From the first day I am born, I clean the hive from top to bottom. By taking the scraps of wax, grass, and dead bees out of the hive, I help protect the colony from dirt and disease. Because everyone pitches in, our home is spotlessly clean! It has to be clean because there are 2,000 new bees being born every day! 

Nurse / Queen Attendant (days 4-12)

Speaking of the young bees, also known as brood, someone needs to feed those mouths; that’s my next job! During this time, I make a special high-protein, a white milky substance called royal jelly. All honey bee eggs, queens, drones, and workers get fed royal jelly for the first three days. After that, there is a diet change. The drones and workers are fed bee bread for the rest of their life. Starting from the outside of the comb and moving in, I take some honey, mix it with pollen to make bee bread. The queen bee however is fed royal jelly throughout her entire life! 

While I am a nurse, I assist the egg-laying queen by cleaning, grooming, and feeding her constantly. The other assistants and I help pass the word to the rest of the colony that the queen is in good health. If the queen were to get sick, we could make a new queen by feeding royal jelly to the female bee eggs.

Pollen Packing / Honey Sealing / Honeycomb Building / Water Collecting (days 12-35)

When the forager bees bring in pollen, I store the pollen baskets in the wax cells and keep everything organized. We bees eat pollen for our protein just like humans eat meat, eggs, and almonds.

When the foragers bring in nectar from flowers, I have to process it before storing it. I take a small drop of nectar and roll it back and forth on my proboscis (bee tongue) to remove the water and concentrate the sugar that is inside the nectar. Once the nectar has begun to thicken, I place it into the comb cell and fan it with my wings. With the help of my sisters, we create a strong airflow that blows across the comb and dehydrates the nectar even more! As the cells fill up and the nectar gets super thick, we will seal the cell with a layer of beeswax to preserve it for later. We eat honey for our carbohydrates like humans eat fruits and vegetables.

Many times, people wonder how honey bees make the magnificent wax combs that we use for storage. Let me tell you! First, we eat a lot of honey. In order to make 1 pound of beeswax, we have to eat 8 pounds of honey!  And then we link arms and legs forming what looks like a bee ladder from the top of the frame to the bottom. Since we have six legs, we use our middle legs to take the wax flaxes that are secreted from our abdomens and work it like you would with play dough or clay. As I work the wax flake, it warms up and is easier to build with since it can move. We have found that by making the wax combs in the shape of hexagons we are able to store more honey and use less wax. Once I put the wax flake in place, it begins to cool and harden so that we can walk on it later. 

Guard Bees (days 18-21)

Now that I am almost three weeks old, I stand guard at the entrance of the hive. Traditionally, castle guards have swords and shields. However, I do not have those weapons. I have a stinger that delivers a dose of venom to intruders like mice, bears, and skunks! When a worker bee stings, they have a white venom sack that stays attached to the stinger after the bee flies away. Sadly, worker bees die shortly after they sting, but they are willing to die to protect their hive. Honey bees only sting when they feel threatened or that their colony is under attack.

If you are ever playing in a field of flowers and I accidentally sting you, take your fingernail and scratch it out quickly! Tell an adult as soon as you can so that they can help you as well.

For insect intruders like wasps, I call my sisters by releasing a certain smell (alarm pheromone) and we cluster around the insect. Our stingers cannot penetrate the intruder’s hard exoskeleton, so we warm up our thorax by wiggling our wing muscles. This clustering and heating action cooks the insect to death!

Forager Bees (days 22-42)

As a forager, we bees are looking for food that we can take back to the colony for food. 

Forager bees are the most common that you may think of because of their important role in helping to produce human food. Honey bees pollinate 80 different crops in the United States of America! They help produce apples, blueberries, cranberries, oranges, watermelon, cantaloupe, and many other favorite fruits, veggies, and tree nuts! 

Dear human, thank you for planting lots of flowers for us to gather food from! As we gather pollen and nectar from the flowers, our plants will produce more flowers and continue to look beautiful while giving us more food for the bee colony. We all benefit when you plant and water your flowers year-round! I look forward to visiting your garden and seeing your wonderful flowers!

More Info:

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies

2021 American Honey Queen Jennifer Hinkel


1/2 C. Butter or Shortening

1/2 C. Honey

1 Egg

1/2 tsp. Vanilla

1 3/4 C. Flour

1/2 tsp. Baking soda

1/4 tsp. Baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 C. Chopped nuts

1 C. Semi-sweet mini chocolate chips


Cream shortening or butter with honey until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Stir together dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Add nuts and chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoons on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Bee Healthy with Products of the Hive

Honeybees are the only insects to provide humans with products that we can use. But did you know that these products of the hive can help to keep you healthy? Humans have been harvesting honey for more than 8,000 years while Ancient Egyptians used honey as part of their beauty regiment 3,000 years ago. From beauty care regiments to health supplements, the products of the hive can make you beautiful and healthy both inside and out.


One of the most apparent products of the hive packed with many health benefits is honey! There are trace amounts of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B6. Besides the trace vitamins and minerals found in honey, this golden liquid has antioxidants but also improves your health by lowering blood pressure and has been shown to improve cholesterol. In addition to using honey as a sweetner or in your cooking, it has other uses like a moisturizing hair mask or skin scrub. Honey is a humectant helping to draw moisture to the skin when used as a mask leaving your skin smooth and hydrated and helping to combate acne and inflammed skin. It is the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties found in honey that make it a great option when you have a cough and are looking for a soothing remedy or as a wound treatment. For years, honey has been used as an alternative wound care treatment on cuts, scraps, burns, and sunburns because of its ability to promote healing and prevent infection.


Pollen is not only food for the bees but also something that we can enjoy because of the numerous health benefits. In pollen, there are over 250 proteins, amino acids, minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, as well as vitamins A, E, D, C, and B. Pollen also has high quantities of antioxidants which can decrease wrinkles and signs of aging but also can decrease free radicals that lead to cancer. But those are not the only health benefits as pollen can lower high blood pressure and the risks of heart diesease. So the next time you are cooking, try incorporating some of those delicious yellow, green, and brown pollen pellets into your recipe to get a flavor boost in addition to the numerous health benefits found in pollen!


The bee glue as it is sometimes referred to can close the openings within the hive but also be consumed as a way to keep you healthy. Because of the antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties in propolis, it has been used for thousands of years for wound healing in medicine and for beauty. Propolis can help to stimulate blood flow while also decreasing inflamation from bug bites, rashes, and other skin irritants. Your oral health can also benefit from consuming propolis as it can reduce plaque and heal sores. 


Besides the pleasant aroma of a beeswax candle to calm and relax you after a long day, the additional health benefits of beeswax may surprise you. When using beeswax in skin care products like lotion, makeup, chapstick, and face masks, the vitamin A works to rejuvenate and soften the skin. A beeswax lotion will add moisture to the skin but also help your body to retain the natural moisture found in the skin by creating a barrier from the elements. The healing properties of beeswax reduce acne as well as black spots but also help to reduce the appearance of scars. Incorporating beeswax into your skin care routine is easy and will benefit your skin.

Bee Bread

Bee bread is not only food for the bee larve but can also be consumed by humans. Bee bread is comprised of pollen, honey, beeswax, and enzymes mixed in from the bees and is filled with vitamins and amino acids. Besides the trace nutritional benefits, bee bread can help you when stressed to sleep better at night. 

Royal Jelly

Royal jelly sounds like it has to be healthy because it is royal. Royal jelly is nature's superfood for the bees and the queen. The queen bee is fed a diet made up of only royal jelly which helps her to develop into the largest bee and the bee responsible for laying eggs each and every day. The most common use of royal jelly is in beauty creams to promote collagen production. In addition to promoting collagen production, royal jelly is both antibacterial and antiviral which can assist in boosting the immune system. 

From pollen to honey, it is easy to be healthy with the many products of the hive. These poducts can be incorportated into your daily beauty regiment, your daily meal prep, or even into your health care routine! 

Saturday, May 1, 2021

What’s So Special About Pollen?

Check out this picture! Do you know what the tiny yellow bits are called? They are pollen! But did you know that not all pollen is yellow? It’s true! Pollen comes in many colors, and it all depends on what plant that it came from. 

Pollen is often brightly colored

Pollen that is transferred between plants helps to produce food. Each type of flower has a different pollen DNA. Just like human DNA, pollen (plant DNA) is unique to each species of plant. Pollen can help identify the origin of the plant because not all plants grow in all regions of the world!

Some specific physical characteristics of pollen are found on the outside shell of the pollen. Pollen can be transferred by 1) insects, 2) wind and 3) water. Today, we will focus on insect and wind pollen. Insect pollen has tiny barbs that hook on to the hair of insects and fibers on clothing. Wind pollen is smooth and lightweight so that it can be picked up easily and float in the air. In general, pollen’s color is bright reds, oranges, and yellows. However, some plants produce green or blue pollen. 

There are many different colors, shapes, and sizes of pollen.

Surprisingly, there are 380,000 pollen-producing plants worldwide! These plants range from flowering honeysuckle vines to tall, cone-bearing pine trees. Some popular snack foods that are pollinated by honey bees include blueberries, strawberries, oranges, avocados, watermelon, cantaloupe, and cucumbers, just to name a few! Pollen is the plant’s way of reproducing itself. In fact, one-third of our food is pollinated by honey bees. Isn’t that amazing?!

This sunflower is made of multiple small buds,
making it a valuable resource for pollinators.

Bonus: While bee pollen can be eaten, always check with your doctor before you try it. Pollen can be sprinkled on salads, mixed in your protein shake or added to your hot chocolate. Honey bees collect pollen to eat as their protein resource! 

This pollen is a shade of white/tan.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

BEE-utiful with Honey

You have probably heard the saying "honey has been used since ancient times." Could that really be true? The answer may surprise you but yes, honey was used thousands of years ago all over the world in places like Greece, Egypt, and Spain! Some used it as a way to flavor or sweeten food while others realized its medicinal properties and used it as a way to heal wounds. But those that wanted to have beautiful skin realized honey was the answer. It is easy to look your best when you incorporate honey into your skin and hair care routine.

An 8,000 year old painting discovered in Arana Cave in Spain
where honey is being gathered from a hive on a cliff face.

Hair Care

Honey has been used as a hair treatment for centries since honey has numerous benefits when applied to your hair. Honey is an emollient, which means that it both smoothes and softens dry hair, as well as a humectant which helps to retain moisture. Besides boosting your hair's moisture content, honey can also make your hair shinier and more manageable. And if you are looking to naturally lighten the color of your hair, honey can bring out your hair's natural highlights. Through using honey as a hair mask on a regular basis, you can see stimulated hair growth as it can nourish and regenerate cells on your scalp. But the benefits of using honey don't stop there! If you have dandruff, honey just might be the answer. Besides moisturizing the skin cells on your scalp, honey is antibacterial which can help to treat infections but also kill the bacteria that can lead to dandruff. Pamper yourself with a simple homemade honey hair mask to soften your hair and soothe the scalp!


Skin Care

We now know that honey can moisturize your hair but those same moisturizing properties found in honey can also do great things for your skin! Brighten and moisturize your skin through a honey face mask. Using honey as a facial scrub can exfoliate dry and dead skin leaving your skin softer and smoother. Besides using honey as just a facial scrub, you can also use honey to moisturize chapped lips. If you struggle with acne, psoriasis, or eczema, try applying unpasturized honey to your sking to activate your immune system while also reducing inflammation and redness. The power of honey does not end there. By applying honey on scars, it can fade acne scars or improve the healing of a wound or sun burn. And if you are really looking to pamper yourself, indulge in a milk and honey bath just like Cleopatra did. 

                                   Try these easy 2 ingredient skin care recipes!

Pamper yourself with honey beauty regiments that have been used for thousands of years. Through honey and its moisturizing properties, refresh and brighten your skin or moisturize your hair to be BEE-utiful through the use of honey!

Monday, March 1, 2021

School in the Honey Bees' Hive

Have you ever wondered what school would be like in the beehive?

Let me show you how honey bees use math, history, science, and biology to keep their home

organized and travel internationally!


To build the comb out of wax, honey bees eat about 8 pounds of honey in order to make 1 pound

of wax. The wax cells are in the shape of hexagons that have 6 sides. In these cells, bees can store

nectar, pollen, and brood. The brood are the baby bees that start as an egg and then grow into an adult. 

A queen bee can lay around 2,000 eggs each day! After 3 weeks, those eggs will emerge out of

their cells and join the workforce of the hive, cleaning the hive, feeding the brood, foraging of food, and many other jobs. Each year, 1 hive can produce about 50 pounds of honey. Each worker bee makes

1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her entire lifetime! 


Honey bees can smell flowers from a few miles away! One way that honey bees communicate is

through smells. In the hive, these smells are called pheromones. Honey bees detect different smells

that help them locate flowers, identify the age of a larva (~4-8 days old brood), and find open cells

of nectar. Worker bees will put the nectar into their honey stomach, add enzymes to it, and dehydrate it

and make the nectar into honey. To preserve the honey, worker bees will make a wax capping for the

cell of honey. Honey does not require any processing before eating, so you can buy comb honey

from many stores.


Since the beginning of time, honey bees and honey have been deeply ingrained into human culture. 

Honey bees are the only insect that produces food that humans can eat--honey! Humans have found

many uses for honey including beauty routines, wound care, and cooking with honey. Because of the

bees’ great benefit, the explorers brought beehives with them as they sailed across the ocean to find

new lands. In 1622, the pilgrims discovered the new world, which they later named America.

Whether it's making honey or pollinating flowers that grow into our fruits and veggies, honey bees

continue to serve an important role in our lives.


The biology of honey bees is different from that of humans. In order to breathe, honey bees have tiny

holes in their exoskeleton. According to Flow Hive, “These valves, called spiracles, are located on the

sides of their body."

Another feature of honey bees is their stinger. Worker bees have a barbed stinger so that they can

defend the colony from predators like bears, skunks, and mice. Since the queen bee’s only job is to

lay eggs, she has a smooth stinger to help establish herself as the only queen bee of the colony.

Since drone bees do not defend the hive, they do not have any stinger! 

Honey bees have 5 eyes: 2 compound eyes and 3 ocelli. The compound eyes allow the forager bee

to see the large grouping of flowers and the ocelli helps the bee see the details of the flower.

What kind of details can she see? Honey bees see the world in ultraviolet (UV) light spectrum,

which means that yellow and purple flowers are brighter and look more attractive to bees while red

flowers look black and unattractive. In the pictures below, the flower on the left is seen as normal

and the picture on the right is the same flower in UV light. Each flower species has its own pattern

under UV light. These patterns on the flowers are called nectar guides and help lead the bee to the

sweet nectar that she is foraging for. With the help of her eyes, honey bees can locate and pollinate

many plants.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Sweet Kitchen Tricks

Using natures sweetener has endless possibilities! From cooking to baking, maybe using it as a sweetener, or utilizing it in your meal as a flavorful glaze, your imagination awaits. Use these 8 sweet kitchen tricks to use honey like a pro.

    1. Get that last drop: Over the course of a worker bee's life, she will collect enough nectar to make 1/12 teaspoon honey. So make sure you get all of the honey out of your measuring cup so you can enjoy her hard work! Before measuring out your honey, spray the utensil down with cooking spray to help the honey glide out of the utensil.                                                                                                        
    2. Crystallized to liquified: Honey will naturally crystallize but you can liquify it by placing the jar in a warm water bath and stiring until the crystals dissolve. You may also microwave a microwave-safe container with the lid off, stirring every 30 seconds until the crystals dissolve. To slow the process of crystallization, store honey at room temperature.                                                                          
    3. Substitute: Honey can be substituted for granulated sugar by beginning to substitute honey for up to half of the sugar that is needed in that recipe. With some experimentation, some recipes can have all of the sugar subsituted with honey.                                                              
    4. Turn the temperature down: Honey can increase the speed of browning in the oven. For baked goods, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees to prevent over-browning from occuring.                                                                                                                                          
    5. Reduce the liquid: Honey naturally has more moisture than granulated sugar so to acheive the same consistency that you would with granulated sugar, you need to reduce the liquid used. For every cup of honey that is used in the recipe, reduce any liquid by 1/4 cup.                      
    6. Neutralize: Honey has an acidic nature making it great for marinades as the acid can tenderize meat. To neutralize the acid when baking, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of honey that is used. The acidic nature of honey is what makes honey self-preserving.                                                                                                                      
    7. Choosing honey: There are over 300 varieties of honey available in the United States, each with a different flavor because of the floral source. So how do you choose which type of honey to use for each recipe? A lighter colored honey typically has a milder taste while a darker honey will have a more bold flavor. A dark honey is great to use in sauces and a lighter colored honey tastes splendid in tea or lemonade. Experiment with the many different varieties of honey to see which honey works best in your favorite recipes.                                                                                       
    8. Honey conversions: If a recipe calls for 1 cup of honey, all you will need is a 12 ounce jar of honey. The conversion is 1 cup = 12 ounce jar of honey. 

Experiment with the over 300 varieties of
honey available in the United States!

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Moo Goo Gai Pan Recipe

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cooking Chinese

Serves 4-6


1 whole large chicken breast, skinned, halved lengthwise and boned

1 ½ cup water

⅓ cup soy sauce

¼ cup dry sherry

2 ⅕ Tbsp cornstarch

2 Tbsp Honey

2 tsp instant chicken bouillon granules

1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained

1 cup fresh pea pods or 3 ounces of frozen pea pods, thawed

½ cup fresh mushrooms

4 to 6 green onions

2-3 Tbsp fresh ginger root

2 Tbsp cooking oil


1) Partially freeze chicken; thinly slice into bite-size strips.

2) In a small mixing bowl, stir together the water, soy sauce, dry sherry, cornstarch, honey,

and instant chicken bouillon granules; mix well.

3) Slice the drained water chestnuts; set aside. Halve the pea pods crosswise; set aside.

Slice the mushrooms and green onions; set aside. Grate the ginger root; set aside.

4) Preheat wok or large skillet over high heat; add oil. Add the chicken to wok or skillet;

stir-fry 3 to 4 minutes. Remove chicken. (Add more oil, if necessary) Stir-fry water

chestnuts, pea pods, mushrooms, green onions, and ginger root 3 to 4 minutes.

5) Return chicken to wok or skillet. Stir the bouillon mixture and stir into chicken. Cook and

stir till thickened and bubbly. Cover and cook 2 minutes more or till heated through.



Sunday, January 17, 2021

Honey Cinnamon Butter Recipe


  • 1 Stick butter (1/2 C.)
  • 1/2 C. Honey
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon

    Mix all ingredients together and serve with pancakes, bagels, rolls, or toast.

Honey Cranberry Dip Recipe

  • 8 oz. Cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 C. Honey 
  • 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 C. Dried cranberries
  • 1/4 C. Pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
  1. Beat the cream cheese with a mixer until it is fluffy. 
  2. Add the honey and cinnamon and beat until combined.
  3. Fold in cranberries and choice of nuts. 
  4. Chill until firm. 
  5. Serve with graham crackers and fresh fruit.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

2021 Representatives Crowned Virtually

The new American Honey Queen and Princess were selected at the 2021 American Beekeeping Federation Convention held virtually this year.

2021 American Honey Queen
Jennifer Hinkel from Wisconsin

2021 American Honey Princess
Virginia Allen from Texas

Congratulations ladies! They will spend the year promoting honey and beekeeping throughout the United States and post interesting articles along the way. Keep an eye out for the sweetest representatives in America!

Friday, January 1, 2021

What is a Swarm?

Have you ever seen a cartoon or show where a large cloud of bees chase someone, flying over their head and stinging them everywhere? That's a swarm, right? Thankfully, a real swarm is much more gentle and an interesting phenomenon!

In a normal hive taken care of by a beekeeper, a honeybee hive is made out of wood, and can be stacked to add more room for bees. One hive of bees has between 60,000 to 80,000 bees, with the majority of that number being workers. Sometimes, the honeybees may feel overcrowded in their home. After all, it is a large population for such a small home. If the hive isn't getting enough honey supers added for the bees to store their honey in, they prepare to fly away and make a new home somewhere else in the wild. Half of the bees will search for a perfect spot to create their new home, while others will stay at their current home and continue to live there.

In preparation for the swarm, the queen of the hive has to stop laying eggs about two weeks before they leave. She is too heavy to fly herself outside of the hive, so when she discontinues laying eggs, her body will shrink a little smaller, so she can carry her own weight and fly with the swarm. Before she stops laying eggs, she has to prepare new queen cups for the old half of the hive. She will then lay eggs in the queen cells, and the workers will feed them their royal jelly. Once the old queen and the half of the hive leaves or "swarms," the new queens will be born, and they will have to fight to the death for a new queen to take over.

When the swarm of bees look for a new area for their home, they like to find places high and away from living things, or in small and dark spaces, where they feel safe. During a swarm, honeybees are very docile. This is because they do not have anything to protect yet. They need to have the queen lay more eggs, and they need to start building their new home so they can store honey and pollen again. Sometimes bees will swarm in places that humans aren't very fond of, so they will call a beekeepers to safely remove the swarm, and rehome them back into a wooden hive. 

If you ever happen to see a swarm, it's best to stay a safe distance away, call an experienced beekeeper, and let them do the rest!