The Honey Cottage- Beekeeping Adventures May 2017

Beekeeping adventures

Have you ever had an experience that was a little scary, exhilarating, and left you absolutely speechless?

At The Honey Cottage we are all about education; whether it is on honey or beekeeping we love talking about bees. On Monday we had a swarm call where the bees were living behind a wall with the goats. So Frank went and gathered up the bees and put them in a beehive away from the goats. With thousands of bees in one area it is sometimes hard to catch the queen bee. She is the most important to catch because she has the pheromones to tell the other bees to follow her. We weren’t sure if she was caught so we had to wait it out the last couple of days. Yesterday we got a phone call that there was a ball of bees were in the same location as Monday, which meant we had not caught the queen bee. We got lucky though; we had a second chance to get the queen! I absolutely LOVE bee-ing with the bees and capturing their life on camera. I am still learning a lot about the bees and how they work. I am a novice beekeeper at best. I broke two key rules that almost put me in harm’s way. Last year I did not were a bee suit due to pregnancy; so I focused all my attention on perfecting my photography skills. Now, I have been up close to the bees and the beehive without having problems. Yet, when you are moving the bees to a new location they are now in protection mode.

Rule number one you should allows where a bee suit on a swarm call. It is just for safety measures and protects you from the bee stings. Rule number two listen to the beekeeper, no matter if it means losing a good photographic moment. I broke both of these rules; we had my bee suit handmade and the hood is not connected to the suit yet and I got cocky and thought I was at a good enough distance to take shots. Frank had a box of bees that he was walking over to the hive and told me to get back. Now, you have to remember this was the second attempt to get the queen; so the bees were more agitated then on Monday. I thought I was far enough to where they would not be affected by my presence. NOPE! At least I remembered rules three and four; walk away when you get the warning signal and be calm no matter what. I have learned that when you are too close to a hive a guard bee will come and basically bump into you. This is a clear warning signal to walk away or you will be stung. If you are too close to the hive and get stung more bees will smell the pheromones and will follow suit to protect the hive. Once the bee did that I realized I really over stayed my welcome. This is where rule number four is so important; I started walking away and more bees were following me. Here is where my excitement and worry started to mix; I knew if I got stung by one it would cause the others to do the same. So I had to relax as much as I could and keep walking. The bees started walking on my face and my hands!! That is where the exhilaration came in because I always wondered what it felt like. It is really hard to stay focused on walking away when that happens. I did get far enough away to have them leave and I jumped back in the car after above five minutes. Sometimes bees will linger around, so jumping back in the car with them following was not an option. In short I learned several lessons and will start taking my own advice; LISTEN TO THE BEEKEEPER AND FOLLOW THE RULES!

From our hive to yours,

Bee Queen

 

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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

 

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