HAPPY NEW YEAR HONEYLOVERS!! What an amazing year for bees in Los Angeles… We are so grateful for all of your support!! ? YAY BEES!!!
VIDEO: A compilation of three summer months from inside a top bar hive.
Video shot using 2 MP Logitech webcam via extension USB cable to a laptop. The hive had a glass pane separating the (small) camera compartment from the inhabited part illuminated by a small low-energy light bulb in the camera compartment.
British Beekeeping Association: “Criteria for apiary sites” –
It will rarely be possible to find a perfect location for an apiary, but below are some factors to bear in mind when searching for a suitable spot.
Family, neighbors and the public: Unfortunately many people are afraid of bees. While honey bees are usually not aggressive whilst out foraging, sometimes the public confuses wasps with bees and may come blaming you when they get stung. To try and make your bees less visible, it’s good practice to enclose the apiary with a barrier of some sort, such as a hedge or fence to force the bees to fly in above head height… Keeping your hives less visible also helps reduce the chance of vandalism or theft…
Forage: Try to find out the amount and type of food sources available within your potential site, by taking a walk about and/or by asking local beekeepers… Bees usually forage within a 2-3 mile radius of their hives. It takes four pounds of nectar evaporated down to produce one pound of honey; it takes about a dozen bees to gather enough nectar to make just one teaspoon of honey, and each of those dozen bees needs to visit more than 2,600 flowers…
A flat site is easier to place hives on!
South facing is warmest.
The site should be sheltered from wind…
It should be a site which does not flood
Keep hives away from the bottom of dips in the land…
Most books advise that sites under trees are unsuitable…
The bees will need a water source to produce brood food, dilute honey stores and cool the hive in hot weather. If a suitable pond or stream is not available consider providing a shallow water source in a sunny position, with stones bees can rest on to avoid drowning. Place this away from their main flight paths to avoid fouling. Adding a distinctive smell, such as peppermint essence, will help the bees find the water.
Access: Easy access to a site throughout the year, with a hard path down to the apiary, is important. Honey supers are heavy, so if you are using an out apiary it helps if you can park your car nearby. Sites which require climbing fences or ditches to enter are a bad idea…
Space: You need room to stand while inspecting and somewhere to put the roof and supers down….
DIY HERBAL SALVES
Supplies you’ll need:
Dried herbs or fragrant flowers
About 2 cups (473 mL) olive oil or other carrier oil, such as calendula oil or almond oil
About 1 cup (236.5 mL) BEESWAX (you can use a small votive beeswax candle if you can’t find pure beeswax)
Essential oil (optional)
Clean glass jars with tight-fitting lids, for infusing oil
Cheesecloth or a jelly bag
Liquid ingredient measuring cup
Small clean tins or jars with lids
Kraft paper adhesive labels and printed Japanese washi tape
Yields about 2 cups (473 mL) of salve
Note: When you’re infusing the oils, there is no strict measurement or ratio of herbs to oil — just make sure to use enough oil to generously cover the herbs, since the herbs will absorb some of the oil.
1. Place the dried herbs or flowers in a clean jar and cover with olive or other carrier oil, filling to within 1? (2.5 cm) of the top of the jar.
2. Seal the jar tightly and place in a sunny window. Shake every day or so for two weeks to disperse the herbs throughout the oil.
3. Place a double layer of cheesecloth or a jelly bag over the measuring cup. Pour the contents of the jar over the cheesecloth or jelly bag to strain out the herbs. Let drain.
4. When the oil stops dripping, wring the herbs out with your hands to extract all of the infused oil. Discard spent herbs. Note how much infused oil you have in the measuring cup.
1. Pour the infused oil into a small saucepan. Grate the beeswax onto a plate. For every 1/4 cup (59 mL) of infused oil in the pan, add 2 tablespoons of grated beeswax to the pan and stir until dissolved. If you’re using essential oil, add a couple drops for every 2 tablespoons (29.5 mL) of infused oil, or more if you prefer a stronger scent.
2. Warm the ingredients gently over low heat. Meanwhile, place a saucer in the freezer.
3. When the wax is dissolved, remove the pan from the heat and place a spoonful of the salve mixture onto the cold saucer. Place the saucer back in the freezer.
4. After about a minute, check the consistency of the salve by removing the saucer from the freezer and testing it with your finger. If it’s very hard, add more infused oil. If it’s too soft, add more grated beeswax. Aim for a consistency that will work well as a salve (I prefer mine on the creamy side so I can use it as a heavy-duty gardening balm).
5. When the salve reaches the desired consistency, pour it into clean tins or jars.
6. Place the tins or jars on a level surface to cool and set. When the salve has cooled completely, place lids on the tins or jars.
1. Add decorative labels to the tins or jars to identify the blends. I printed the blend names on adhesive kraft labels and cut the labels to fit the tops of the tins. I also added a piece of washi tape along one side.
2. Store the salve in a cool, dark place.
VIDEO: “There is a lot of problems with bees, we’ve all read about it in the newspaper and I really think that the brain trust of the city, these people who get hooked on beekeeping in the city may very well provide the future of beekeeping… It would not surprise me at all if the future of the honeybee itself is in urban beekeeping.”
-Bryon Waibel (Her Majesty’s Secret Beekeeper)
“If I were a flower growing wild and free
All I’d want is you to be my sweet honey bee…”
-Barry Louis Polisar – All I Want Is You
Wishing you good times, good cheer, and a sweet new year!
? Rob & Chelsea ~ honeylove.org
Honey: The ‘bee penicillin’ that could even beat MRSA –
It is often hailed as a natural, healthy sweetener – but in most cases, honey bought from supermarkets today is simply sugar syrup with no nutritional value at all. To reap the true benefits of what was dubbed ‘the food of the gods’ by the Ancient Greeks, you have to look for the raw variety.
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE
Perfectly clear honey has usually undergone a process of ultrafiltration and pasteurisation, which involves heating and passing it through a fine mesh, to ensure it remains runny at any temperature. This strips away many of the unique chemicals and compounds that make it a nutritious and healing health food.
There is no law that requires a beekeeper or factory to specify whether the honey is raw. Non-EU honeys are often treated with the antibiotic chloramphenicol, a substance that can be dangerous to pregnant mothers. Chinese honey was banned from being imported to EU member countries in 2002 for precisely this reason.
Even the word ‘organic’ on a label does not guarantee that a honey is raw. Unless the jar specifies that it is raw, look for a cloudy honey with a white residue of pollen sitting on the top of the jar. Raw honey might crystallise over time, but this is not a sign of rot – raw honey is a natural preservative. The jar just needs to be submerged in a bowl of hot water for 15 minutes to liquefy the contents. You should be able to find raw honey at most supermarkets.
CHOOSE HONEY FROM HEDGEROW BEES
Raw honeys vary in colour because of the flowers from which the bees obtain their nectar, pollen and resin. The darker the colour, the higher the level of antioxidants.
Raw honey is particularly high in polyphenols, an antioxidant that has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer, lowering blood cholesterol and combating heart disease. The darkest varieties of honey include heather and hedgerow honey, which have a polyphenol content of 201mg per gram. In contrast, rapeseed oil honey, known in supermarkets as ‘blossom honey’, trails behind at just 71mg per gram.
The white ring of pollen on the top contains B vitamins, Vitamins C, D and E as well as minerals and 31 other antioxidants, although to get close to your recommended daily amounts of each nutrient you need a pollen supplement.
THE MRSA FIGHTER THAT COMES IN A JAR
Unfiltered honey also contains a powerful substance called propolis, nicknamed bee penicillin, which is made from the resin that oozes from trees. Bees mix this resin with their saliva to create an antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal ‘wallpaper’ to ensure disease cannot enter their hives. Traces of this brown substance break off into the raw honey to make it naturally antibacterial.
Bees also add the enzyme glucose oxidase to honey. When this comes into contact with moisture, it releases low levels of antiseptic hydrogen peroxide, which can kill bacteria but does not damage skin tissue.
The University of Waikato in New Zealand found that when raw honey was applied to MRSA infected antibiotic-resistant wounds, they became sterile and healed so quickly that patients could leave hospital weeks earlier. Scarring was minimised because peeling back a dressing glazed in honey – as opposed to a dry bandage – did not disturb the new tissue underneath. If you suffer a minor wound or burn, glaze a bandage with raw honey and cover. Change the glazed bandage every 24 hours and any cuts or signs of infection should disappear within a week (if not, see a doctor).
While manuka honey – a variety produced using only nectar and pollen from the manuka bush in New Zealand – gets the majority of press for being antibacterial, a good-quality raw UK honey will also be powerfully antibacterial and can kill E.coli and MRSA.
FRIENDLY BACTERIA TO BEAT ULCERS
Unprocessed honey aids digestion as it is prebiotic (stimulating the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut) and contains probiotics (the ‘good’ bacteria that help maintain a healthy digestive system). The University of Lund in Sweden found that raw honey contains bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, which prevent stomach upsets. Eating raw honey daily has also been shown to be effective in treating and preventing gastric ulcers because it fights the Helicobacter pylori bacteria that trigger the ulcer.
THE RAW FUEL
Honey is a better energy source than white sugar. While one teaspoon of honey contains 22 calories and sugar just 15, the sweetness of honey is greater so you need less. But what makes honey ideal as fuel for exercise is the combination of glucose (pure sugar) and fructose (pre-digested sugar from fruits), which provides instant and slower-burning energy, as opposed to the pure sucrose of sugar.
The Glycaemic Index (rate at which sugar enters the bloodstream) of sugar is high at 61, while raw honey is 35. A study at the University of Memphis found that cyclists who drank honey and glucose solution instead of sugar-laden energy drinks finished a 38-mile race on average three minutes faster. If you are going on a bike ride, drink two of teaspoons of raw honey and two teaspoons of sugar mixed into a bottle of warm water and allowed to cool.
TAKE CLEOPATRA’S ADVICE
Raw honey’s anti-inflammatory properties can help soothe chronic skin conditions. Cleopatra famously bathed in milk and honey because of their skin-softening qualities – honey is a natural emollient as it is humectant (it attracts water). Melting half a jar of raw honey into a warm bath will promote healing in patients suffering with skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema, too. Mixed with olive oil, raw honey applied to the scalp is also a great tonic for those suffering with a seborrheic dermatitis (a flaky scalp condition).
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