Understanding the Bee Simply

SFF1Have you noticed that bees do not visit your yard as frequently as they used to? Have you noticed that certain fruits and vegetables are not as prominent as they used to be?

In the last several years I have started to really notice that things around me have been changing. People are not gardening as much as they used to. The water levels are starting to go down and hinder people’s ability to take care of a garden on a reasonable budget. Flowers are not blossoming year round like they used to. People are starting to do more zero-scaping. More houses are going up and farm lands are becoming null and void. Know that the purpose of this is not to make you depressed, it is meant to raise awareness on the things that bees really need. Yes, bees and beekeepers rely on you to grow flowers because without them too many beekeepers are being forced to feed their bees sugar water. There are not enough people being educated on how bees work and why they are so very important for mankind.

Bees and flowers work together to form a one of a kind harmony. The flowers produce nectar and pollen; this pollen is taken from flower to flower as the bee fills up on nectar and pollination is complete. Many flowers rely on the bees as we do. This is also the only way that the flowers will make fruit. The bees get their food supply from the nectar of the flowers and make honey. The cold hard truth is more flowers need to be planted in order for bees and us to survive. When you have a limited flower supplythere is too much competition for the bees and stress in the hive. What are needed most are wildflowers that will bloom spring, summer, and fall. For beekeepers it is a real struggle to watch your bees have a hard time. Please think about what you can do to help. If you cannot plant flowers; help spread the word, become part of a community garden, or help be a bigger voice for the bees. I would like to see things change for our sake as well as for our children. Help make a difference with us at The Honey Cottage. Help make a difference for our world. Help make a difference for the bees!

From our hive to yours,

Bee Queen

 

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Confessions of a Beekeeper…awareness

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Do you ever feel like you have to really get mad before people hear you?

At The Honey Cottage we experience things a little differently than normal beekeepers. We are able to talk with customers, educate the community and hear their questions, and are blessed to work with other beekeepers.

It has come to our attention that many HOA’s will not allow flowers to be planted in the front yards. This was a huge shock to us that there are rules against planting flowers. That there are rules against having dandelions grow in the front yard. Dandelions may bee just a “weed” too many people, but this “weed” is a food source for bees. It is also used in herbal medicines, used as tea, and used by many to make skin care products. We are hearing more and more people saying that they are not seeing bees in the yard, on flowers in the neighbor hoods, or even at the stores where there are flowers for sale.

Bee populations are stressed and honey production is down for more than one reason. Let me be clear to say bees are stressed because there are NOT ENOUGH FLOWERS in many areas and there are too many hives for urban bees to be successful. We are hearing from beekeepers how they have to feed their bees sugar water to keep them going. If there are no flowers the bees will NOT survive, our food supply will be gone, and we as humans will not survive. Can you live off of candy bars and sugar? As you know we CANNOT survive on sugar alone. We get NO nutritional value from sugar and neither do the bees. So why feed it to bees? Why make them suffer? When a beekeeper has to solely give sugar to their bees, instead of flowers, what do you think is in the honey you are eating? These are the questions we are now asking. IT IS TIME TO STAND UP FOR THE BEES AND GIVE THEM THE FOOD THEY NEED! You want better honey help the beekeepers by planting flowers. Don’t let our bees die out because people don’t think the dandelions are pretty.

We have started a campaign at The Honey Cottage; spend $20 in the store or on our website and you receive a free package of bee seeds. We are working hard to save the bees one flower at a time.

I AM THE BEE QUEEN, AND I SPEAK FOR THE BEES FOR THEY HAVE NO VOICE. SAVE THE BEES BY PLANTING FLOWERS. DON’T USE PESTICIDES. SPREAD THE WORD!

From our hive to yours,

Bee Queen

Confessions of a Beekeeper

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Have you ever been affected by someone else’s mistake? Have you ever made a mistake that affected others?

Let’s be real here for a minute…we are ALL human! Things happen. Mistakes happen. Life happens. In December I was in a car accident; another person hit me. It was in that moment where I realized I could not fix someone else’s mistakes. I have done my best to fix my own and work on not making mistakes, but I could not fix what someone else had done. Now this could have been much worse, but I have been working through a concussion and whip lash. This has limited me on what I can do and how long I can do it for. This is where I finally realized that there are many parts of my day that relate to what the bees do.

At The Honey Cottage we strive to help our customers, community, and others around us understand bees. What we do affects them every day. Mistakes that we have made, in the past and are continuing to make, affect them every day. People want more houses; so we build them. People want stores closer to them; so we build them. People want more things to do; so we build movie theaters, batting cages, and other forms of entertainment. There are less people demanding to see flower gardens. There are less people asking for pesticides not to be used. There are less people taking a stand for the bees. Without the bees our food supplies suffer. Without bees flowers are no longer pollinated. Without bees you no longer have straight from the hive honey, propolis, beeswax, or royal jelly. MAN CANNOT DUPLICATE WHAT WE GET FROM BEES!!! Bees are unique to their field. No bees. No flowers. No honey.

Here is what I have learned from the accident; I cannot fix everything and I cannot do everything alone. I have learned that I need help. I have learned that bees cannot talk for themselves and say okay this is what we need. We may not be able to fix the past, but WE have to take the stand for them for the future. WE have to speak for them and bee their voices. WE have to bee the change in order to save them. THEY NEED FLOWER NECTAR TO STAY HEALTHY AND ALIVE!!!

PLEASE HELP BEE THEIR VOICE; plant flowers and ask neighbors to plant flowers. STOP the use of pesticides that kill the bees! Use other methods of taking care of bees; co-planting and adding lots of lady bugs!

In support of the bees we have bee attracting flower seeds available at The Honey Cottage! Here is a link as to what is in the packet: https://thehoneycottage.com/p/bee-seeds

From our hive to yours,

Bee Queen

Why is honey so special?

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At The Honey Cottage we are frequently asked aren’t all honeys the same? Or why is this so expensive?

Honey is like a fine wine; the more rare and special a honey it is the higher the price will be. Many people use honey for its medicinal qualities. They also use it because it is a sweetener that works with the body. Let us be clear that not all honey is the same. The quality of the honey you purchase is dependent on who the beekeeper is and the rarity of the honey.

Tupelo honey is no exception to this rule. There are several types of tupelo trees, but only three locations for the tupelo tree known as Nyssa Ogeche also known as the white tupelo tree. These trees thrive in the wet swampy lands of the Ogeechee, Altamaha, and Suwannee Rivers. These trees only bloom 2-3 weeks out of the year and the bloom depends on weather. If there is not a sufficient winter so that they have a good rest they won’t bloom very well. If there is not enough sunlight they also struggle to have a good honey season.

What makes white tupelo honey even more special is the way the beekeepers have to get honey. There are not a lot of flat lands in the areas where the trees grow and the possibility of flooding is high in these areas. So the beekeepers have to keep their hives on flat barges; they have to use boats to access these hives to extract honey. Beekeepers also have to switch out frames, this is what holds the honey in the beehive, and so what they extract has as much tupelo nectar as possible. Tupelo is also unique because it has a higher amount of fructose then sucrose; this honey resists crystallization!!

When you come into The Honey Cottage remember that you are able to sample any of the bottled honeys. This will give you a better idea of what different honeys will taste like and you will leave happy knowing you have a honey that you will enjoy!

From our beehive to yours,

Bee Queen

National Honey Month 2017

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Ah, this is one of our favorite times of year; not just because of fall, but because it is…..National Honey Month! That is right September is a whole month of nothing but honey, bees, and everything bee hive related! So here is one of our favorite ways to celebrate; 9 super interesting facts about everything related to the bee hives!

1- Bumblebee queens will lay their eggs on top of pollen, cover it with wax, and some may lay on them to keep the babies warm.

2- There are bees that do NOT sting; they are called stingless bees! They do have other ways to protect themselves; some will bite and some have poisons.

3- Drone bees don’t work; they are strictly there for procreating with the queen bee!

4- After the enriched nectar is deposited into the honey comb; the bees bring the water content to 14%- 18%. Now you have honey!!

5- Bees have 3 sets of ears; one set is on their legs, the next is at the end of the antennae, and the last set is in the middle of their antennae.

6-Bees can’t read and Bees will never read the same books you do no matter how well written the book is. The bees are just not interested; they go by their own rules and can surprise you at anytime.

7-One of the main enzymes that bees have it called invertase. This is an enzyme that the bees use to break down sucrose, in nectar, into the sugars fructose and glucose.

8- Some people love the fruit and berry honeys. The flavor of fruit comes through; for example, a hint of orange flavor that naturally comes from the orange blossom. Some of my favorite honeys are blackberry, blueberry, and raspberry blossom honey; each is berry tasty with a hint of the berries.

9- The oldest honey ever found was over 5,000 years old!! Would you dare to eat it?

From our Hive to Yours,

Bee Queen

Crystal’s Miss Bee-Haven News

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Have you ever made a plan, laid it all out, did what needed to be done, and it still did not go right?

Sometimes you can do all the planning and things still don’t go as planned. That is what happened with us this year with Crystal’s Miss-bee-haven. We have had a rough start the past two years and were dedicated to making sure this year would be good; third time’s a charm right? Unfortunately, for our bees it was not; we had so much rain this past July our plants got watered out. We are happy that our hives in the south have made enough honey to winter over! It has been a very slow summer for them, but now we know to start planning now for spring. There is A LOT of housing developments going up in the south and NOT enough flowers to help bees survive. It is almost heartbreaking driving by and seeing more land being used for more houses.

Good news is our hives up north are doing very well and will have enough honey for winter and for us! We have been checking on them and have seen winter stores are going successfully!! We have taken some frames of honey and may get a couple more. At The Honey Cottage we highly bee-lieve in making sure the bees have enough honey for the winter to feed themselves and have a good start to the spring. We noticed that there are a LOT more flowers in this area and are hopeful for an even better year next year!!

The Honey Cottage wants to remind you; Nature has her own plan and one must bee ready for her changes. Saving the bees is important to us! We are here to help and we will be starting some classes on beekeeping. We need to get more people involved if the bees are going to have a good strong come back. We have found different beekeepers have had a better year than others and we want to cultivate that! Lastly, we are going to have bee seeds coming out of our ears next year and will also be pushing to make a class for this! Saving the bees means we need flowers; lots of them and everywhere. Until next time…

From our hive to yours,

Bee Queen

 

HELP SAVE THE BEES!!

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At The Honey Cottage we are dedicated in educating and helping teach people about the importance of bees. Beekeeping should not be just about honey or money, but we are seeing a drastic increase in demand for raw honey. There are a lot of pressing issues that need to be looked at if we are going to save the bees. It takes EVERYONE. You don’t have to be a beekeeper to help either. We actually recommend against it; there is only so much forage per area. Too many beekeepers in one area is taxing on the ecosystem and is stressful for the native bees. Each hive needs approximately one and half acres of constantly blooming plants to be successful. There is a misconception that bees only need the flowers in spring and early summer. This is not true; bees need late summer plants and plants that bloom in fall to be successful during the winter. This is why we are making a BIG push for everyone to HELP beekeepers. PLANT more plants than ever and plant a variety of plants, don’t use pesticides, support your local beekeepers, support your local garden clubs and nursery’s, and set out water sources.

-The more plants we plant as a community means there are more food sources for bees and other pollinators. They also need a large variety of plants so that they have a varied diet and will be much healthier. Plus, flowers will bloom not just in the spring, but summer and fall! They need to eat all the time just like humans do! They need to be able to put enough honey away for the long winters.

– Please don’t use pesticides on the plants!!! Bees pollinate our flowers and our food. If the poison is on the plants it is also going to be in the plant and now will go you’re into your system. Bees also make honey from the nectar that is in the flower. If they are getting the poison in their diet, it is also going in YOUR system. Push for co-planting instead; like planting peppermint, this will deter bugs from eating the plants.

-If you have an interest in beekeeping; start by learning and supporting a local beekeeper and garden clubs. This will help them and you at the same time. Education’s the key; to be a good beekeeper you need to know the bees, the flowers, and the habit in your area.

– Store bought plants can have GMO pesticides and growth retardants on them when they arrive at the store. This is to keep the flowers looking nice by the time they make it to the store; however, the pesticides harm bees. Working with the local garden club can help the club and makes sure the plants are well taken care of and don’t have the pesticides on them. You also support the local economy by working with local beekeeper’s and garden clubs!

– Water sources are very important for bees! We recommend a water basin or bird bath with gravel or 1 inch river stones. The bees are terrible swimmers and the stones will give them plenty of places to land to take a drink of water.

From our hive to yours,

Queen Bee

 

 

Honey Bees in Spring!

We at The Honey Cottage are excited for spring. It’s coming; we have seen the signs and heard from our bee whisperer. The bees are in the peacock feed and enjoying the warmth after a cold winter. Just look at the photos and you will see.

First is what we call bottoms up!!

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This is the time to give the girls a nutrient boost, POLLEN, to make sure they have all the energy they need to start the spring ritual, no sugar for my girls, no man made super food either. We prefer nature made super goodness for our girls. (POLLEN AND HONEY)

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Of course the pollen needs to bee powered. We use a mortar and pestle and as you can see we get plenty of help!

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Back at the hive; it’s party time and the girls love their pollen. Yes, we also give them honey when needed…ONLY honey!

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These girls are from a hive that I saved from the eve of a home in the Springs last September and they are doing just fine and no sugar was used.

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Yes spring is coming, the bees are buzzing, the sun is shining, my girls are growing, and my wife is glowing. Here’s to a sweet year!!

From my hive to your hive,

The Beekeeper

 

New Bee-ginnings

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At The Honey Cottage we would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year’s Eve!!! We want to say thank you to everyone for your amazing support! We are working hard to bring more honey into the shop and more unique honey products. We hope to have some amazing surprises in 2017! To make 2017 even more successful; WE NEED YOUR HELP!!! PLEASE share us with everyone on social media; facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn. We want everyone to know that we are here!! We have been told we are the best kept secret in town and we need your help to spread the word that we are here buzzing around! We also need you to please share the things you do with honey or other beehive products on facebook/ twitter or send us e-mails and let us know it is okay to share it! We want to help other customers use honey, beeswax, and other bee hive products to their full potential. With your help we can make a better community of honey users! We are working hard to change the way people think about honey and beekeeping. It is important to us and the bees to really start making a change in how people think. The bees need your help and this year we all need to make a bigger impact on how the bees are taken care of! Mother Nature is giving us a big message and if we listen we can make a better change for the bees! HELP make 2017 a really great year for the bees!!!

From our bee hive to yours,

Queen Bee

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