May, 2017 | Buzz Beekeeping Supplies

Archive for May 2017

Beekeeping Equipment

Gone are the days when beekeepers felt safe when visiting their hives without protective equipment.

The introduction of foreign bee species, especially those from Africa, means the threat of an aggressive group of bees within the hive is higher now than ever before.

Mild-tempered bees can have the hive taken over by aggressive bees and this requires some basic beekeeping equipment to keep you safe.

The following list includes the needed items to keep yourself safe from potentially aggressive species.

Bee Suit or Bee Jacket

There are those who are still resistant to wearing a bee suit, but they do offer the best overall protection for the body.

If you choose not to wear a suit, it’s important to choose light colored clothing as bees usually don’t like dark colors and may attack.

A bee jacket is the next best option to a full bee suit. It protects the upper body from stings, including the arms, face, head and neck.

Bee Gloves

Wearing gloves can make some activities difficult when tending your hives, but they protect the hands and arms, which are often the most vulnerable areas.

Those who are beginning with beekeeping may wish to use beekeeping gloves until they’re more comfortable with the tasks involved.

Hive Tool

This is an essential tool that makes it easier to clean the hives and pry frames apart. It’s a versatile item that has many uses in the hive.

Smoker

The smoker makes it easier and safer to tend your hive. When the smoke is blown into the hive, it makes the bees eat an excessive amount of honey, which makes them gentler and much less likely to attack.

It’s important to use the right amount of smoke as too much will cause the bees to leave for an extended period of time.

Smokers can be fueled by many cheap and accessible fuels like: wood shavings, cardboard and cotton rags.

Bee Brush

The bee brush offers a gentle way to move bees away from the hive. Brushes with synthetic bristles are better choices. In a pinch, you can simply use a twig with leaves to brush the bees away.

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Selling Your Honey

There is nothing better than being able to extract and enjoy your own honey. Once you have a surplus, it’s time to think about giving away and selling your honey.

Honey Demand is Increasing

Mintel, a market intelligence agency, reported that honey sales increased 57% from 2011 to 2016. This growth is higher than all types of artificial sweeteners.

Research from the University of Delaware has found that consumers value local honey, and are willing to pay more than for honey originating from international sources.

Quality

Many different surveys have indicated that consumers want to know what is in their food and where their food comes from.

In 2013, some Chinese companies were caught “honey laundering”, substituting artificial honey for the real thing. This fake honey contained zero percent real honey and also traces of aluminum residue. This questionable cargo was then exported to the US and other countries. It was then considered the largest food fraud in US history, totaling about 80 million dollars.

Many Chinese honey brokers will now transport their honey to Asian countries, such as Taiwan or Malaysia and re-label their products.

This is a great opportunity for local honey producers able to label their products “Locally Produced” or “Made in USA”.

Packaging

You can choose to package your honey in plastic or glass jars, which may be purchased from a beekeeping supply company.

Honey jars come in all shapes and sizes, with the “bear” shape being one of the most popular.

While glass bottles are more expensive and cost more to ship, the perception is that the product is of a higher quality.

Many local honey producers use Mason jars purchased at discount stores, such as big Lots.

Honey Categories

Honey is categorized into different categories, depending on extraction method and how it is processed.

Here are three categories of honey typically sold by local producers:

  1. Liquid honey is honey in which the wax capping has been cut and the honey is then extracted using a honey extractor.
  2. Comb honey is honey, which is still contained within its original hexagonal-shaped beeswax cells. This honey has not been subject to processing or filtering
  3. Chunk honey contains one or more honeycomb pieces with extracted honey poured on top. 

Labeling Requirements

All honey sold should have a label that clearly identifies the product as honey. The label must be easily read. You may call your honey “Wildflower Honey” if your bees forage locally, and not on one particular crop. If your bees are pollinating a specific crop or trees, such as sourwood or clover, you may label it as such.

The weight must be indicated in both ounces and grams (excluding the packaging). The weight must be displayed on the lower third of your label.

The label should include your name, address, phone number and website as well.

It is a good idea to put a warning label, reminding folks that children under 12 months should not ingest honey.

Please be sure to check with your state Department of Agriculture for their state-specific labeling requirements.

Marketing

There are more than 500 honey brands available to consumers in the US. Marketing will help you stand out from the competition.

A professional logo will help consumers identify your unique brand. There are many providers, such as Fiverr.com, where you can have a logo made inexpensively.

You can also aim for certifications such as USDA organic, Non-GMO, or “True Source Honey”, a nonprofit that certifies the quality and origins of its members honey. While expensive, these certifications will help you distinguish your brand from others.

Selling Artisan and Varietal Honeys

A good way to differentiate your product from the competition is to offer artisanal and varietal honeys, such as:

  • Acacia Honey
  • Avocado Blossom
  • Orange Blossom
  • Sourwood Blossom

I’ve even seen one marketer offer “Tea Honey”, or honey that is especially good with tea.

One of the latest trends is cannibas infused honey. Please make sure it is legal in your area before selling this type of honey.

The benefit of offering artisan and varietal honey is that you can often charge a premium price, say a dollar or two more than standard wildflower honeys.

Pricing

The best way to come up with a price for your honey is to survey your local market. Go to local grocery stores, farmers markets, health food stores and festivals that sell honey.

Compare prices and then determine what all your costs are to figure your ideal selling price. Consider offering discounts for bigger jars, 2-packs and 3-packs.

Since it’s your brand, you can experiment with different pricing strategies.

Giveaways

Large corporations have used sampling for decades, to introduce products and increase sales.

Simply give away small jars of your honey with all your contact information.

You can target friends and family, local companies and even the local Chamber of Commerce.

Gifts

You can advertise your honey as an ideal gift for birthdays, wedding showers, retirement parties, employee appreciation and anniversaries. 

You might even approach a local gift basket company, encouraging them to include your local honey in their gift baskets.

Fairs and Festivals

Many honey sellers market their honey through fairs and festivals. Demonstration hives are really popular ways to draw a crowd.

Local Retailers

If you are selling to any retailers you must be willing to sell at a wholesale price. You must be careful to not undercut the price your local retailer is selling at.

The advantage to selling to local stores is that you will be selling by the case, instead of by the jar. Local health food stores are good candidates to sell your honey.

Sell on the Web

 Selling on the web is easy and efficient. You can put up a simple website and sell from there, or sell through other platforms, such as Amazon or ebay.com.

Amazon has a program called FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) that lets you ship your honey to amazon’s warehouse, and they handle fulfillment and customer service. This service generally comes at a price, usually 30% of your retail price. 

Selling Benefits and Features of Honey:

Many sellers of honey tend to highlight to health benefits, such as:

Unlike artificial sweeteners, honey contains additional nutritional compounds, like proteins and minerals.

Other marketers promote the local aspect of their honey:

“Every purchase of local honey products benefits your local economy”

Conclusion

Producing and selling your honey is both challenging and rewarding.

The amount of honey you extract and produce may vary from year to year. Building your own brand and varieties of honey takes time and money. You deserve to profit from all your hard work and effort.

Good luck and happy marketing!

 

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Honey Bees Disappearing

Why Are Honey Bees Dying Off? Bees Disappearing, Vanishing …

https://morenature.com/…/36242820-why-are-honey-bees-dying-off-bees-disappearin…

The idea of bees disappearing in mass quantities may sound a little eerie, but the vanishing of honey bees is no ghost story: it’s happening right now in real life. Why are the bees dying? Will honey bees go extinct? Scientists and researchers are trying to find out what is causing honey bees to disappear, and they’ve come up with a few reasons why bees are endangered.

Why Are Honey Bees Dying Off and Vanishing?

Why are bees dying out? Scientists can explain why the honey bees are endangered and disappearing, but unfortunately it doesn’t all come back to one cause, but a lot of different factors coming together to wipe out the bee population at a fast rate. Here are a few reasons why the honey bees are dying out.

Bee Disease

Bee Disease Scientists suspect that one reason why the honey bees are dying is disease, mostly due to the attacks of the varroa mite, a bloodsucking parasite that causes viruses and and disease to spread quickly from bee to bee.

Pesticides and Fungicides Endanger Bees

Exposure to Pesticides and Fungicides Another reason for the death of the honey bees is a fairly obvious one. The pesticides and fungicides sprayed on crops are full of toxic chemicals that lead to the bees dying.

You might say, “Why not stop using pesticides then?” The pesticides and fungicides are used to kill off predators of bees, like the harmful varroa mite.

Scientists are trying to come up with ways to get rid of the bad insects without endangering the good ones in the process, but it’s no question too much pesticide is currently being sprayed.

Traces of up to 21 different kinds of pesticides have been found on some bee pollen, which means there are a lot of opportunities to cut down our outrageously high use of chemicals that are harmful to humans and honey bees.

Honey Bee Habitat Also Vanishing

Poor Nutrition and Lack of Honey Bee Habitat Just like all living things, honey bees need plenty of space to live and grow as well as nutritious food to eat. Scientists have found that the amount of natural “meadow” land full of wildflowers and indigenous plants for bees to pollinate is also vanishing, being replaced by plowed land with mostly soybeans and corn. Just like humans, it is not very nutritious for a honeybee to eat soybean and corn all of the time.

Read more…

Honey Bees Are Disappearing by the Millions: Here’s Why It Matters …

www.wideopeneats.com/honey-bees-disappearing-millions-heres-matters-food/

Did you know that since 2006, beekeepers have reported losses of 30 to 90 percent of their honey bee colonies each winter? Before 2006, it was ordinary to lose about 10 to 15 percent of the colony during wintertime, but in the last decade, those numbers have jumped off the chart completely. What’s to blame?

Scientists believe Colony Collapse Disorder is responsible for this change of pace, and that’s not just in the U.S., but around the world. European beekeepers are experiencing the same losses as North American beekeepers. CCD occurs when the worker bees of a colony disappear and leave their queen behind along with a few straggling nurse bees left to care for the last few batches of immature bees.

To put in layman’s terms, the worker bees in the colony are up and leaving their leader behind because … well, no one can figure out why. And it matters because so many international agricultural crops are pollinated by western honey bees. Basically, one-third of the food we eat relies on bees for pollination.

Crops like celery, okra, potato, onion, mustard, broccoli, cauliflower, orange, grapefruit, coconut, strawberry, cotton, avocado, peach, pear, and so many more benefit from honey bee pollination, resulting in an industry of over $200 billion in 2005.

Up to 2013, more than 10 million beehives were lost to CCD which is twice the normal rate of hive loss. While the science community is searching for answers, there are no theories that are wholly agreed upon. Everything from pathogens to genetic factors to loss of habitat is on the table with no clear end in sight.

Read more…

 

 

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Help Save The Bees by Planting Flowers

In recent years the decline of bee populations has raised a lot of concern, with more than 40% of honeybee hives lost by beekeepers last year.

Unfortunately, bees have been dwindling in numbers, and it’s directly related to a loss of wildflowers.

There are a lot of different reasons why this is happening, and it ranges from pesticides to natural causes. You may think of bees as nuisances, but without them, the food chain could seriously suffer.

Bees are very important when it comes to agriculture, and if their numbers continue to take a dive, millions of people will not get food. This is not stated to scare you, but rather to help you realize that without an increase in bee populations, dire consequences may loom.

There is hope for a brighter future, and it’s found in a simple idea, planting flowers that attract bees.

Consider the following top flowers to plant that will bring bees back again and again.

Borage

This flower is interesting in that it attracts bee many times over. Bees can visit these flowers often, coming back again and again for more nectar, as it is continually refilled.

Cornflower

One of the most unique flowering solutions is like a little bouquet when in bloom.

It’s cost effective, and bees cannot resist the cluster of small flowers that come through with this option.

Baby’s Breath

The common flowers that are used in bouquets the world over, are easy to plant, and attract plenty of bees. They are bright, vibrant, and create nice visual overflow.

Cosmea

Another easy option to plan, Cosmea will illuminate any outdoor garden area. There are several varieties under this option, one that is easier to plant, if you’re seeking simplicity.

Garden Nasturtium

This medicinally used plant is one for those that want to spread flowers across large spaces.

Larger gardens will benefit from these outright. If you don’t have a great deal of square footage, then you will find some single pot options. The point is, these attract plenty of bees.

Honeywort

Purple and blue flowers attract butterflies to brighten your day, and bees to continue to pollinate.

These can be a bit tricky to get started, but once you’ve figured out the initial steps, you’ll have a great display.

French Marigold and Common Marigold

Two marigolds that are going to help you attract bees will lighten up your garden areas with ease.

The French version can even help with insect issues.

Many pests do not like the French Marigold, so plant it near crops that you’re going to harvest later. Single flower options are best here.

As for the Common Marigold, you’ll find that it’s an easy to grow, simple plant that bees love. These two marigold are easy to find, plant, and deliver on the premise of helping bees.

California Bluebell

If you have dry soil, and want flowers to bloom without a great deal of work, then these are for you. They have great pollen, and will attract bees with little to no effort.

Sunflowers

These large flowers are not only sights to see, they attract bees with ease. They do take a little extra work to get started, and cultivate, but once they are up and in bloom, you will have a great solution to get the population of bees in your area growing.

Simple Gardening Advice

If you’re not sure about all of this, or perhaps don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry. The above options are simple to work with, and don’t require you to have a large garden.

You can work with pots and single flowers; you could have a windowsill solution, or a hanging garden option.

Bee friendly gardening is a matter of simply looking for flowers that grow well in your area, and maintaining them.

Most big box retailers, gardens, and hardware stores have seeds that you can plant and water.

As long as you don’t overdo it with water or soil, you just plant seeds and wait for the flowers to bloom. Once in bloom, you’ll be doing your part to save bees in your area, which is a great thing.

Another thing you can do to save the bees is by becoming a beekeeper. Not only will you be able to pollinate your garden, but you will have the benefits of honey as well.

 

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Beekeepers Suit

When people think of bee stings, what usually comes to the mind is the pain, itch and swell up. To avoid bee stings, beekeepers and professionals who remove beehives from houses should always have protective clothing on.

This involves the use of gloves, a helmet, veil and a beekeepers suit. Beekeepers suits are full length jumpsuits worn by keepers when tending to the bee hives.

The suits are usually made out of smooth materials and are white in color. This is because bees tend to avoid white or bright colors.

However, they attack black or dark colors as a way of protecting their hives against black bears.

When choosing a beekeepers suit, it is always important to put the weather conditions into serious consideration. For instance, during the hot summer, it is advisable to choose a fabric that is cool such as polyester.

Additionally, choose a larger size because you are wearing the suit over regular clothes.

Always ensure that the suit you purchase is of high quality because at times, the bee sting might penetrate through the fabric.

The shirt should be long sleeved with a smooth finish for maximum protection. The material used to make the beekeepers suit should not be textured or of animal origin such as fur, wool or feathers.

This is because they may still have the animal odor which may provoke the bees to act in a defensive and aggressive manner.

The bottom of your pants should be tucked inside the boots in order to prevent the bees from crawling up your legs.

There is other beekeeping equipment that every beekeeper should have. This includes gloves, veil, helmet, and boots.

The veil is important clothing that protects the face from stings. The helmet on the other hand is used to keep the veil away from the face.

However, it is important to note that, there are veils that can be worn without helmets such as the Alexander-type veil.

High quality leather or canvas gloves should be worn since most of the beekeeping task will involve the use of hands. Some beekeeping gloves are ventilated for comfort.

In order for any beekeeping project to be successful, it is important to have the necessary beekeeping equipment and supplies in addition to the protective clothing.

This equipment and supplies include a hive; hive tool, bee brush, and a smoker. The hives are used to manage honeybees.

Modern hives have been designed to allow inspection and removal of honey more efficient and effective.

The hive tool can be considered as the most important equipment to have when dealing with beekeeping.

The hive tool makes inspection of colonies possible as well as cleaning the hives. The smoker is used to puff smoke to the hive and this makes the bees to be gentle and gorge on honey.

A bee brush is used to move bees from places they shouldn’t be such as the frames.

It is important to always ensure that the beekeepers suit, equipment and supplies you wish to purchase are of high quality.

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Bee Sting Remedies

Bee stings are quite annoying for a vast majority of people. While the never really experience any major complications as the result of something like this, they do tend to experience temporary symptoms at the site of the sting such as the following:

  • Sharp pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Warmth

Those who are allergic to bees or who end up getting stung multiple times will experience more problematic, even life-threatening, situations.

Whenever a honeybee stings you, the insect’s stinger is released into your skin. This causes the honeybee to eventually die, and this is the only species of bee that this happens to, as wasps and other species of bees do not lose their stingers after they sting another living thing. Furthermore, they can also sting you more than once if they wish to do so.

If you do end up getting stung, a venomous toxin is then left behind, which can cause not only pain, but other various symptoms as well. There are some people who are actually allergic to this toxin.

A more mild allergic reaction can cause symptoms at the site of the sting such as an increased amount of swelling and extreme redness.

Allergic reactions that are more severe in nature, however, can often result in the following symptoms:

  • Hives
  • Skin that is pale in color
  • Severe itching
  • Tongue and/or throat swelling
  • Having difficulty breathing
  • Increased pulse
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness

If you begin to experience any type of severe allergic reaction after being stung by a bee, it is recommended that you seek medical attention immediately. This is because you may be experiencing something serious such as anaphylactic shock, which is an allergic reaction that can be life-threatening.

Oils and Herbs

There are also various oils and herbs that possess healing properties and which can also potentially help relieve the symptoms of a bee sting. These include the following:

Aloe Vera

This not only helps relieve pain, but also soothes skin as well. If you have an aloe vera plant in your home, all you need to do is simply break off one of the leaves and squeeze out the gel onto the site of the sting.

Calendula Cream

This is an antiseptic that is mostly used to help ease skin irritation and heal minor wounds. To help heal a sting, simply apply the cream directly to the affected area, then cover it with a bandage.

Lavender Essential Oil

This helps to relieve swelling due to its anti-inflammatory abilities. Simply dilute the oil with what’s referred to as a carrier oil (i.e. olive oil or coconut oil). Then, apply just a few drops to the site of the sting.

Tea Tree Oil

This is likely to help ease the pain of a bee sting due to the fact that it is a natural antiseptic. Similar to the process involving lavender essential oil, simply dilute with a carrier oil and apply one drop to the affected area.

Witch Hazel

This is perhaps one of the best herbal remedies for not just bee stings, but other various types of insect bites as well. This is a substance that helps to reduce pain, itching, and swelling. Simply apply the desired amount to the site of the sting as needed.

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Slideshow

This jacket was recommended to me by a bee exterminator for handling bee and wasp issues as they arose. I have not needed to use the jacket in battle yet but did try it on to make sure it fit and did not leave any areas exposed. I was pleasantly surprised by how well made it felt. Lots of pockets too.

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Customer Feedback

Very nice gloves.

Suit fits wonderfully. Delivery was prompt. Will buy from this vendor again.

Item received promptly and just as described. Very happy with purchase. Good quality. Fits nicely and material is good fabric.