JACKY MILLER AUTHOR.
PUBLISHED WITH PERMISSION FROM THE AUTHOR.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND AT www.jenreviews.com/honey/ .
Honey - known to some as the nectar of the gods - is a delicious, thick golden liquid that’s made by honeybees and savoured by people around the world. Honey’s one of the sweetest substances you can find on the planet, making it a favourite for children with a sweet tooth!
Honey makes a great alternative to processed sugar. It’s certainly sweet enough to replace it, and it also has a more intricate flavour. Not only does it have a richer flavour, but it has a lot of health benefits that you won’t find in your everyday processed table sugar.
Honey’s typically imagined as gold but it actually comes in a variety of colours from amber to white to brown and black. It depends on which flower was used to provide the nectar the honey was made from. This means that the nutritional impact of different types of honeys can be slightly different.
There is only a couple differences between honeys in terms of nutritional benefit. There is, however, a huge difference in the health benefit of honeys that have been processed and packaged. You’ll want to buy raw honey as often as possible because its nutrients won’t be damaged. The main types of honey you’ll want to look out for are table honey (the typical variety you’ll find for sale at your grocery store) and manuka honey.
Honey and bee pollen are amazing superfoods. Thousands of years before table sugar was invented, honey and bee pollen were used in food and medicine. Pollen possesses a unique combination of minerals, vitamins, amino acids and enzymes which makes it a beneficial super-food. Bee pollen is gaining popularity as an effective immune booster and a powerful defender against toxic substances in the environment.
So what is it? Bee pollen is the pollen ball that has been packed by worker honeybees into pellets. Bee bread is bee pollen that has had honey and bee secretions added to it and stored in cells. When bees reach the age of two to three weeks old, their gene expression changes, and their job within the colony changes from being nurse bees to foraging for pollen, nectar, and water outside the hive. Foraging bees return with pollen packed in the pollen baskets on their legs and unload it directly into open cells that are typically located between the brood (developing larva) and stored honey for easy access. Most beekeepers call this a band or rainbow of pollen. Bee bread is the main food source for honey bee larvae and workers.
Thought I would take a few minutes and share a link and some information about a friend of mine who is doing some great things for bees and beekeeping in Northern KY. He runs a business called Gottmann Ponds and Water Gardens as well a beekeeping operation that is multifaceted. He is involved in the following beekeeping ventures: swarm removals, honey production, beeswax, bees, and has a supply store that stocks some inventory from Dadant & Sons but he also cuts and manufactures woodenware. One thing that sets him apart is his willingness to work with customers and provide custom hive components that meet the customers needs. He has an online store where his wares can be purchased or customers can make arrangements for onsite visits and pick ups.
The following was adapted from his website //dannygshoneybees.com. Danny G’s Honey Bees is a family owned and operated business located in Alexandria Kentucky. The company was started out of their love for bee keeping and the honey it produces. They have made it their business to inform others of the wonders of honey and the love of bee keeping.
I encourage you to check out their site or give them a call especially if you reside in Northern KY or the southern portion of Ohio.
Danny G's Honey Bees
102 Whispering Woods Ln
The queen is the life of the colony. We know without her or an emergency replacement, the population will dwindle to none or its inhabitants will increase to all hive neglecting drones thanks to a laying worker, that will be robbed and/ or literally eat themselves out of house and home.
However there are times and places when the queen is not welcome. One such place is in the honey super- those frame filled hive-bodys reserved for surplus honey storage only- given the name because they are placed superior or above the brood chambers. We prefer the queen to be excluded from being there to keep the cells from being filled with brood instead of honey. Obviously then we have need of a queen excluder- a metal or plastic grid whose openings are only wide enough for workers to pass through keeping the queen where we wish.
Queen excluders have been detested and applauded, one of the most debated pieces of beekeeping equipment, and the subject of one of the most asked questions amongst “beeks” of their peers, if they use them or not. Some consider them “honey excluders” because it is said workers will not make the effort to pass through them, others use them every year.
Personally, I use them only if needed. It’s a bit of work and attention, but I choose not to use them unless I have too.
If I observe the queen beginning to lay eggs in my supers:
The brood pheromone will encourage the workers back into the super and I believe helps them learn to negotiate the excluder. I also “prop the top”, enough to provide a top entrance to the supers and help air to flow freely as the sweet nectar is dehydrated by the fanning of a million wings.
Besides a honey flow, there an occasion or two where an excluder is very useful as well. If you’re making a split and want to leave the old queen with the mother hive, with an excluder you don’t have find the queen. Simply select the frames of brood, honey and pollen you need and again check for her first but then shake the bees off the frames back into the brood chamber. Replace the empty spaces with empty frames. Add your excluder above it and then an empty hive body with the culled frames. Close it up and in a few hours or even better, overnight the nurse bees will pass the excluder to tend to the brood. Simply then transfer the frames with bees, brood, honey and pollen to your nuc box and all you have to do is then decide how you wish to make them “queen-right” (See “To Make a Queen or not, What the Paln?” April 2016 CCBK newsletter).
Another use is in queen rearing. You can use an excluder to render a working hive temporarily as a “queen-right finisher”. After the cells have been started in the queenless “starting nuc”, the frame or frames with the started cells can be finished above the excluder on a queenright hive, alongside a frame of open and sealed brood and a frame of pollen and honey. The cells can be left after they are sealed until a few days before expected emergence or place individual cages on the cells to prevent the first to emerge from killing the rest of the virgin queens being reared. In which case also the virgins can be “banked” for a short period until sold or introduced into other colonies for mating and/or production.
No doubt there are more creative and imaginative uses for excluders, even if to use to drain blocks of cut comb before they’re placed in cassettes for market. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they definitely have a place and time. ~We
One of the greatest challenges new beekeepers claim to face and some veterans alike, is finding the
queen, even more so than learning to recognize eggs. Of course, with time and experience we learn that it is not necessary to find her each time we enter the hive. The fact is, if you find eggs– single and center-shot in the cells- she’s been there in the past three days or less as eggs “hatch” into larva within that period of time.
However, if we want to take a few frames of brood with the nurse bees to split a colony- leaving the old queen in the mother hive- re-queen a hive for any reason, confine her for safe travelling or queen rearing purposes, setup an observation hive, or for any other reason we need to find her, and it is a help to have her “marked”.
Marking a queen is not as daunting as beginners may think. After a season of learning from and helping find and marking queens in nucs for Clay Guthrie, I quickly became proficient as any bee-keep can be. Marking is simply using a marking pen (paint pen) while gently holding her by the wings and placing a dot of paint on the back of her thorax. Before marking her I found you should “load” the tip of the pen by tapping it on a piece of cardboard or side of the hive body or something clean so you can easily and gingerly apply the paint. After about 15-20 seconds to allow the mark to dry, she is then released back onto the frame or returned to her cage.
Many beekeepers never mark their queens, but the advantages go beyond just helping us find that “needle in a haystack”. Each year should have a color designation, i.e. last year was blue and this year is white, and next year may be red, just so you know what color is what year. This is an easy way of knowing how old your queens are. Also if for some reason the workers supersede her- that is, rear another queen to replace her- because they find her injured, substandard, failing, dead, or for whatever reason– if the original queen was marked, it will allow you to know if the queen you find has no mark, and the hive hasn’t swarmed. Then there’s the two queen colony. Finding the marked queen and another that’s not will tell you there’s two queens working or they haven’t dispatched the old marked queen that is to be superseded.
To mark your queens or not is your decision and you can do it yourself. If you decide to do so it can not only help in the sometimes necessary task of finding her- the hope she is as easily seen as The Morning Star when all others hide again at daybreak. Better yet, you will find it is a welcomed management tool as well, to helps us again to not just have bees, but to “keep” them.
Always, For P.
Clay Guthrie is the manager of the Dadant & Sons Frankfort, KY location and is also the owner of Guthries Naturals.