Taking care of our bees the organic way!

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Here at The Honey Cottage we have a strong opinion on beekeeping and sugar. I have angered some with my opinion and have been called a tree hugger. I am not a tree hugger, I am a bee hugger; my girls Lily Bee, Alice Bee, and the Queen Bee Crystal.

For me feeding sugar to bees is such a bad idea; I can’t find any reason for it. Some say feeding is necessary for the bees to survive winter! Only if you steal too much from the bees in summer or fall!

Some say you can increase brood production for the winter bees with special sugar to water mixes!
15 plus years ago I was doing as the others were doing and followed this; I don’t follow this anymore!

My distain for sugar in my hives comes from my lovely new wife‘s (Crystal) food allergies and for the nutritional value of honey. When she came into my life my views changed and I started learning the benefits of not using sugar. I started leaving my hives extra heavy for winter and saving comb for spring feeding, if needed, and for starter food for the swarms that come with spring. My hives became more active in spring and I bee-lieve much healthier.

I started beekeeping over 25 years ago because raw honey took all the allergy medication away from my son who was 5, improved his health, and relieved his need for his asthma rescue inhaler. My family was much healthier from eating honey and not sugar. I now see it must bee the same for the bees.

One thing that I have learned is there in no real nutritional value to sugar, I believe the over consumption of sugar has been a real detriment to the health of everyone! Us and yes the bees!

Some say sugar feeding is necessary for the health of the hive and winter survival; again only if too much honey is robbed from the bees by the beekeeper. When bees are thought of as a commodity and nothing more, the bees will die.
I know honey is the profit coveted by most beekeepers, and sugar is cheap, it is just the economics of it all. After all, science has the new protein patties (pollen substitute) and the new super charged sugar syrup for winter feeding, and health of the bees (just $19.95 get it now). Yet our bees die!

You have probably heard about the (NEW) thing called colony collapse disorder. Some do say this new C.C.D is the cause of all the problems with the bees and there is a need for science to step in.

Is this new? No, since the mid 1850’s about every 19 years there has been a C.C.D type loss of bees. This round is by far the worse. Yes the bees are dying. Yes their health is being compromised.
New poisons, viruses, climate change, mono crop farming, and so many other things are the talk of the industry concerning C.C.D., as should bee.  The bee’s diet should be included in the talks; a healthy bee is a strong bee and can overcome many things. Yet our bees die.

The bees have lived on this earth for several million years, now with the help of man our bees die.
Let’s stop the sugar madness, for the sake of the bees.
I don’t know about you, but I eat honey for the nutritional value…for my health and my family’s health.
This honey comes from the bees; a key part of the overall health of the food chain we all need.

I truly believe if we do not take care of the bee’s health they will die; I believe good health comes from their diet. The first step in saving the bees is through good nutrition for the bees. The only food that does not spoil and is, nutritionally speaking a super food, raw honey made by the bees.  Yet we feed them sugar, a man made sweetener with no nutritional value and we wonder why the bees DIE. If the bees die we die!

From our bee hive to yours,

The Beekeeper and his Queen Bee

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Buzzing by with Crystal’s Miss Bee-Haven Updates

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We have incredible news; one of our hives survived the winter!!! We were so excited to see bees buzzing around when we took off the protection we had around the hive during the winter. Talk about a happy surprise. Crystal’s miss bee haven is slowly taking off; we have about a quarter acre filled with flowers this year. As we are finding out, sometimes things take smaller steps to be successful. With the help of the flowers we have been able to actually get a small amount of honey from our hive this year. We are always hoping for more, but a good bee keeper knows that smaller amounts are better than no honey at all. Plus, we are of the belief that the more honey we leave behind for winter, the better off our bees are. We would rather find something else to eat then make our bees suffer by feeding them in the spring.

Earlier this month I was interviewed by the incredible Chef Stevie, of A Fresh Take!! She is a Registered Nutritionist, Healthy Chef, and Holistic Health Coach. She is all about healthy cooking, as well as education. On her show we talked about the bees, bee products, and what can be done with honey. As I tell everyone; I am still learning about bees and love sharing what I am learning with everyone. My favorite part was how to cook with honey and my favorite honey recipes! Here is the podcast: http://www.chefstevie.com/podcast.html. Just click on the link and then scroll down to The Buzz about Honey.

We are also very happy to say that we got a new extractor to get honey out of the frames!! This is very exciting for us because it gives us practice extracting honey and it now takes less time! We are hopeful that we will be able to get honey next year for The Honey Cottage. We are very pleased to say that it works well and has given us the opportunity to extract honey from the frames without destroying the beeswax completely. This saves our bees energy and helps them to put away honey faster instead of having to make more beeswax! We are hoping that the color changes here within the next couple of weeks so that we can show the differences between honey harvested at the beginning of summer and later in the summer.

We are in the process of revamping our website; to make it easier for customers to navigate! There have been a lot of struggles with it, so please bee patient as we repair our hive. Make sure to follow us on Facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn to get the best updates and information as to what is happening in our hive. Lots of surprises are still on the way!!!

Here are a couple of bee-autiful pictures of the honey we have so far!!

From our bee hive to yours,

Queen Bee

The Honey Cottage Beekeeping Adventures

This month has been super special for me; I put on the bee suit for the first time and was able to look in the hive. It was a neat opportunity to see what the bees do in the hive. Normally, I would get really excited and bounce off the walls. However, I have had to train myself not to be overly excited. One of the most important things that I have learned about being a beekeeper is that bees can sense fear, excitement and when someone is nervous. So putting on the bee suit was the best way to put everything I learned into practice; especially learning how to stay calm.

It was so incredible to be able to put into practice all that I have learned. To be able to be open up the hive by myself (with Frank’s direction of course) and look into the hive was beyond words. To see the frames of honey and brood was very educational because it increased my thirst for knowledge. Seeing pictures has been very helpful for me, but being able to actually have the hands-on experience was even better.

My head keeps saying I want to get closer without the suit; I want to take chances, and see what it is like having bees all around me. Thankfully, I have a fantastic teacher like Frank who finally sat me down and explained why it is so important not to take chances. I am excitable person and if I got stung I would not stay calm, this in turn would cause the other bees to attack because they now would feel threatened.

So I am very happy to say that I am thrilled to be a beekeeper. I always thought that it was too much and that I would not ever be able to be up close to the hive. I can’t believe that I ever feared bees. This in turn tells me what we need to do with our little one. I don’t want her to fear bees and want her to learn how important bees are for our future. Needless to say, beekeeping is so cool and I am so excited to be able to share my experiences as a new beekeeper.

I am very happy to say that we have been getting some great pictures of the bees and flowers that are bee friendly. A lot of our flowers are blooming!!! We have also been getting some AMAZING pictures of the inside of the bee hive as well as the outside. Stay up with us to see what we are doing here at The Honey Cottage!!!

From our bee hive to yours,

Queen Bee

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Introduction

Experiences are crucial for us to learn what to do and what not to do. You may know about us from the about page on how we have used honey for asthma, allergies, and skincare. However, there is now another piece that we would like to share with you. My name is Crystal as you already have learned so far. What I would like to share with you is very personal, but may help others learn from my experiences with raw honey. I was diagnosed at an early age with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder), when I was eleven I was on the highest dose of Ritalin legally allowed to give a child. I decided for myself that I did not want to be on medication any more so I quit them.
Many years later, in 2008, I started playing with my diet learning what I could have and could not have. I started researching things that had bad reactions on my body that I did not like. During this research I learned that part of my ADHD was a reaction to the MSG that I was eating through my diet. Sugar has also been a big issue for me. What is really important is what I started to discover at the end of 2012 into 2013; I had no reactions with raw honey. What does this mean? When I eat sugar I have depression, my mind starts racing, and I can’t focus or sit still. With raw honey I don’t have any of these issues. I eat honey and I can actually focus on the task at hand. Yes, I have had to retrain myself on some levels of learning how to focus, however, when I eat sugar I notice I can’t do this even through all the retraining.
Raw honey is very natural; when it is ingested it does not have the same reactions as processed white sugar will. What is even more delightful is I have had customers come in and say they have noticed that they have a better day with raw honey then if they were to eat sugar. Frank and I work really hard to share our experiences and be educated so that people know about honey and what it can do for them. This is why we are so passionate, excited, and proud to talk about honey.
So learn from my experiences and play with your diet. Make it a challenge if you must and switch out your sugar intake with honey for a week and see what happens; you might be surprised at what you learn.

From our bee hive to yours,
Queen Bee