All About Honey

Liquid Gold

The sweetness of honey has graced tables far and wide. Glistening upon a biscuit fresh out of the oven or dribbled slowly in a cup of hot tea, honey has always been a staple of many.

What is Honey Exactly?

 

Honey is a thick syrup-textured liquid that is produced by bees. It takes on a distinct flavor that is dependent upon the source of the nectar that the bee visited.

 

Honey bees are an insect. They fly to flowers or plants that contain pollen and nectar. Nectar is the sweet liquid that is produced by flowers. Upon landing on the flower, the bee sucks the nectar into his stomach where it will be stored until it returns to the hive.

 

The bee that gathered the nectar will drop it off in the hive, and the worker bees take over. The worker bees “ripen” the nectar into honey. To do this, they take a drop of the nectar and once in their stomach enzymes crystallize the nectar into a runny consistency of honey.

The worker bees deposit this runny honey into honeycomb cells and then using wax glands under their abdomen, they seal the runny honey into the honeycomb. After this is done they use their wings to thicken the honey which they just sealed into the honeycomb. By doing this, the water that was in the honey (which made it runny) evaporates leaving behind the thick honey that we know.

 

Bees have been making honey as long as they have been in existence. They do this, so they have food supply (honey) during the winter when flowers are not in bloom. Bees require the nectar in the flowers to survive.

 

Is all honey the same?

 

Honey from different areas, regions, states, and countries are unique in taste, texture, and color. For example; honey produced by bees in Germany will not have the same flavor or appearance as honey produced in Texas.

 

What colors does honey come in?


  • Gold
  • Amber

 

  • Dark Amber

Semi-Clear

Is Setting Up a Beehive Difficult?

Have you caught the “beehive bug?”

Setting up an apiary is not difficult. Once it’s up and going, you will find that it’s rewarding as you watch your colony of bees come and go while eventually harvesting your very own honey. It can’t get any sweeter than that!

Beekeeping Terminology

 

  • Apiary – the colony of bees and their habitat
  • Hive – the habitation or constructed dwelling where bees will live
  • Brood – bee larvae
  • Queen – the fertile female bee of the hive
  • Nectar – the fluid in a flower that the bee consumes
  • Pollen – the yellow powder that sticks to the bees legs each time they land on a flower
  • Nucs – “Nucleus Colonies” are bees that come complete with brood (larvae), worker bees and the queen bee
  • Honey – the liquid that is produced by the bees
  • Honeycomb – the cell where the bee stores the honey

 

Where should a beehive be placed?

 

A few things need to be taken into consideration when deciding where you will place your beehives.

 

  • Bees need sources of water, nectar, and pollen near the hive.
    • Both nectar and pollen should be within several hundred yards from a hive.
    • Water: bees need water to drink which also helps in developing the mixture of honey and pollen that is used to feed the larvae. Some water sources could be a pond, stream, bird bath or dog watering bowl. Each of which should be near the hive.

 

Hives need to face south and have an equal amount of exposure to both sun and shade.

  • Winds wreak havoc on a hive. Ideal placement is key to protection against storms, blustery winter winds, etc.
    • Near shrubbery
    • At the edge of forest trees
    • Beside a building or structure

 

  • Dry Hives are Good…Damp Hives are Bad
    • Fungal disease can thrive in damp beehives
    • Place hives in a dry area that offers plenty of drainage during seasonal thaws and rains.
    • Tilt hives slightly forward to allow condensation to run off.

 

  • Place your apiary in a location that you can easily access. Carrying tools and equipment to harvest your hive honey or do hive maintenance can be difficult to haul if your hive is not accessible by vehicle. Going at it on foot in the dead heat of the summer is not fun.

 

Where do you get the boxes (hives) for the bees to live in?

 

There are several options for acquiring hives.

  • Build them yourself
  • Purchase ready-made hives that are fully assembled
  • Purchase assemble-yourself hives

Your hives should be fully assembled and placed at the selected site upon a foundation.

The foundation should be:

  • Raised up off the ground
  • Options: cement blocks, wood pallets, old tires, railroad ties

 

You should start with only one brood box initially. Adding another one is suggested once the bees have filled the first box three-quarters full. By doing this, it prevents the bees from making combs that distorted.

 

How do you get the bees?

 

Believe it or not, there are bee breeders that you can purchase your bees from. The bees generally come in a package. Bee suppliers are mainly located in the south.

 

Packaged Bees

  • Comes in 2, 3 or 5-pound packages
  • You will have the option to buy your packages with or without the queen bee.

Nucs (Nucleus Colonies of bees)

  • Comes in 3, 4 or 5 frames
  • Contains brood, worker bees, and queen bee
  • Includes pollen and honey
  • These are the easiest way to establish a hive

What’s Next?

 

Do your homework and learn about bees. Having the know-how under your belt will make the process from start to finish fun.

 

Lastly, it is highly recommended that if you are allergic to bee stings that you forego this hobby and try something different.

 

Happy Beekeeping!

About

 

The “Bee-uty” of Bees

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals…no more man.” – Albert Einstein

Are Bees Vital to Our Existence?

 

As agriculture declines and dies off from the lack of pollination, animals that are herbivores will consume the remaining plants on our earth. When the plants are extinct, animals will die from lack of food and humanity will slowly become a thing of the past.

 

The tiny insect we know as a bee, is responsible for pollinating agriculture and plants throughout the world. Without them, we would not have vegetation, trees, and plants. Agriculture would fail to thrive.

 

Types of Bees

 

There are many types of bees; however, to us, a bee is a bee is a bee. Contrary to our perception, different kinds of bees have different purposes.

 

Social Bees

  • Bumble Bees, Honey Bees, African Honey Bees

Solitary Bees

  • Carpenter Bees
  • Digger Bees
  • Mining Bees
  • Mason Bees
  • Sweat Bees
  • Plaster Bees
  • Yellow-Faced Bees

 

A Bee’s Purpose

 

Bees along with a few other insects pollinate the world’s vegetation. Most of these bees are solitary and are known as “workers.” Many farmers have beehives set up in their fields to take advantage of bees pollinating their crops.

While honeybees are “super pollinators,” so too are the native bees. Native bees are much stronger and able to step in when the job calls for significant pollination. They quietly move about while going unnoticed.

 

How Do We Save the Bees?

 

We can help save the bees by staving off what’s known as “Colony Collapse.”

 

Colony Collapse occurs when the worker bees never return to the colony leaving the queen bee behind to care and nurse the remaining young bees. The role of a queen bee is very specific, and no other bee can fill her shoes. Laying all of the eggs for the colony, she tends to the young. Never leaving the colony, she is mainly controlled by the worker bees and is not the regal ruler of the colony as many of us assumed.

 

The vast majority of us know little or nothing about bees or the fact that they are dying off. There are a few things we can do to help prevent Colony Collapse.

 

Plant things in your yard that not only attract bees but helps them to thrive.

  • Flowering plants that are yellow, blue and purple. Bees prefer these colors
  • Clover
  • Herbs such as sage, oregano, lavender, echinacea and thyme
  • Trees that blossoms

Put a bee habitat in your yard or garden area.

  • Place a shelter in an area that is away from your house allowing bees to have solitude to thrive.
  • Place wooden blocks with holes drilled into them around an area that is quiet for those bees that prefer nesting in wood.
  • Provide water for the bees.
  • Refrain from using pesticides in your yard or garden area. Use organic pest control and your bees will thank you!

A friend of mine has this in his yard and runs an emergency plumbing service in Pompano Beach, FL. He found the bees when he was fixing a leaking pipe in his house and had to open a wall to fix the pipe. He saw the bees, heard what I have been doing to help the bees and he made a habitat for them and now helps them and plants bee-friendly plants all over his backyard. You could say he’s a neophyte bee-keeper

 

Bee-A-Beekeeper!

 

This fun hobby provides a stable environment for bees while promoting their population. Join other beekeepers in your area to swap ideas and raise awareness on the decline of bees.

 

You will find that beekeeping is rewarding with not only the “coming and going” of watching the bees hardly work is entertaining, but you get to enjoy the bounty of honey your bees produce!

What can you do to save the bees?

Practical actionable things you can do to help save the bees.

Helping to save the bees is no easy task. It’s not something that has an easy button, but it is simple to do. It is moral to do, it is environmental to do, and there’s tons of self-interest in contributing to the salvation of the bee population.

So what are some actionable steps you can take to save the bees population?

  • Plant flowers in your garden or yard that attract bees.
  • purchase local organic farm grown food
  • learn how to do beekeeping
  • do not use harmful chemicals on your lawn or yard that hurt bees
  • Buy local raw honey
  • Tell Congress about your passion for saving the bees

Why you should care about saving the bees

You may or may not know this but, honey bees pollinate 90% of the food we all eat globally. The economic value of their service to humanity is valued at about $30 billion a year in crops. It isn’t just the food we have to be wary of losing, but the plant species around the world that depend on the bee population’s survival (circle of life much?)

If those plants die out, then the animals and insects that feed on those plants die out as well. It will literally come to a catastrophic chain of extinction and scarcity that will eventually wipe us all out unless we invent a way to save the world if the die out, but I highly doubt it.

The bee population dying out may seem like an insignificant and nonrelatable situation in comparison to the individual personal lives of many people, but we all depend on the bees to live.

Save the bees. Contact for volunteer info in your area check out some other posts