Harvesting Honey | Buzz Beekeeping Supplies

Harvesting Honey

Homemade Honey Cough Syrup

With cold and flu season just around the corner, it’s the perfect time for us to share with our readers the Homemade Honey Cough Syrup recipe.

Honey has been used as a natural and healthy sweetener for ages, since the dawn of man and bees.Homemade Honey Cough Syrup

A great addition to any lemonade or oatmeal, this cupboard staple can now be commonly found in families’ medicine cabinets, as well.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes honey as a viable home-remedy option for anything from a minor cough to an upper-respiratory infection.

The sticky, golden substance creates a soothing layer of film that coats the mouth and throat, alleviating the dry, itchy need to cough.

Not only can this miracle substance help you and your children sleep uninterrupted by dizzying coughing fits, research shows that honey is full of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.

Turns out ingesting honey to soothe cough or a dry mouth may help an illness slowly subside.

Avoid the lines at your local pharmacy and learn how to create your own, natural and delicious cough remedy.

Our simple recipe calls only for these basic ingredients to begin:

  • raw honey (1 cup)
  • ginger root (1/4 cup)
  • water (1 cup)
  • two lemons (2 tablespoons)

Raw honey is especially important in this recipe, as it is different from any mass-produced honey you’d find on your grocery’s honey cough remedyshelf.

Raw honey is not pasteurized or meddled with in any way – think of it as buying directly from the beekeeper.

Find raw honey at your local grocery store’s organic aisle or farmer’s market. The earthy ginger and citrus of the lemon further aide in soothing cough as well as add yummy flavor.

Kitchen utensils you will need:

  • knife
  • zester (Tip: if unavailable, cheese graters work)
  • medium-sized sauce pan
  • mixing spoon (Tip: spray your spoon with olive oil cooking spray; this will help the honey
  • from sticking too much)
  • measuring cup(s)
  • strainer
  • bowl
  • jar to store the finished product in

Here are the 10 steps to make you homemade honey cough syrup

  1. Pour 1 cup water into your saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. While your water is heating, peel the rough skin of the ginger (all of the flavor and benefits are inside!), and then slice the root. You should have enough slices to fill a 1/4-cup.
  3. Zest the 2 lemons to fill 2 tablespoons (if a little less, that’s fine).
  4. Add the sliced ginger root and lemon zest to boiling water in saucepan.
  5. Turn heat down and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Strain the solution into a bowl and set aside.
  7. Pour 1 cup of raw honey into saucepan, but do not boil. Low heat only.
  8. Add the ginger lemon water into the simmering honey, mixing slowly. If any juice left in lemons from earlier, feel free to squeeze generously, minding the seeds.
  9. Keep on low heat and stir routinely until a desired texture is reached.
  10. Let cool and pour cough syrup into container.

Dosage and Storage:

  • For toddlers, 1 to 5 years of age: 1/2 to 1 teaspoon every two hours
  • For children, 5-12 years of age: 1 to 2 teaspoons every two hours
  • For children 12+ and adults: 1 to 2 teaspoons every four hours

And good news!

Because honey is a natural preservative, your couch syrup should have a 2-3 month shelf life, if not longer.

Keep the remedy covered and refrigerated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Honey – The Ultimate Survival Food

Honey has been known to be a natural sweetener. But for many years it has been kept in many househohoney-the-ultimate-survival-foodlds for other new purposes. Many people keep it stored for its medicine value since it makes a good alternative remedy for numerous health conditions.

Over the centuries honey has been found to help treat coughs, sore throats, and other things. This is because it is rich in antiseptic and antibacterial properties. There are lots more practical uses of honey, which makes it a good survival food.

Honey is considered by many to be an ultimate survival food. This is due to the long storage life that honey has. When it is kept in an airtight container, unprocessed honey can last for a long time.

This is based on several historical accounts, which includes jars of honey being found in Egyptian tombs. The honey in these jars was tested and was shown to be still okay for human consumption. Which just further proves that honey is the ultimate survival food and that every kitchen should have it.

The big question is ‘Why is honey able to withstand long-term storage?

This is due to the components that make up honey. Honey is broken down into carbohydrates that are then divided into fructose and glucose.

Both of these things stay separated from each other and will never attach to each other. They do bond with water, which helps to prevent the water molecules from being home to microorganisms that can lead to spoiled honey.

Honey also has also been shown to have several anticancer properties. Which is due to the fact that honey has flavonoids and antioxidants that work to prevent the growth of cancer cells in the body. To help prevent cancer it is recommended that you take honey daily.

Honey as the ultimate survival food can help provide an instant boost in energy. This natural energy booster will help keep you going, which is why it is used to help improve athletic performances. This is because honey contains glucose, which is then converted into instant energy.

It has also beebenefits-of-honeyn shown to help diabetics since it is able to help regulate blood sugar. Honey is a simple sugar which makes it okay for diabetics to take it.

The antibacterial properties of honey are known to be good for skin. It can also be combined with other ingredients that will boost the effectiveness of honey. This will work to nourish and moisturize your skin, which will create young and glowing skin.

With everything that has been previously mentioned, it is no doubt that honey is the ultimate survival food. Choosing to keep a jar of honey in your kitchen can prove to be very beneficial.

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Raising Honey Bees

Raising Honey BeesFor more than 5,000 years, beekeepers have managed bees to retrieve their honey. Management of a beehive takes good stewardship and requires time and knowledge of bees. While it is not hard work to care for a hive, you do need to open them and inspect them regularly. Bees need to have a good store of honey and room to expand if their population grows.

Bees need to be left enough honey to feed the hive through the cold seasons when they cannot find flowers to produce their food. After you have ensured the bees have enough for their population, the extra can be used for your family and still have some to sell or barter. This is a great way to boost your family income.

The Honey Bee Hive

To begin beekeeping you need some basic equipment. The hive is your first piece of equipment and you can add to that as you learn more about keeping bees. To assist you in choosing your hive, look at our Glossary of Beekeeping Terms and learn what the basic parts of a beehive are needed. There is also bee terminology listed you should learn to better understand how to be a beekeeper.

Langstroth hive illustratedLooking at the illustrations should show what you need for your hive. Many beekeeper suppliers offer starter packages that include everything you will need to begin your first hive.

Once you have your hive and all the necessary parts, you need to select a location to set it up. The attached illustration shows how you should elevate the hive and not just have it sitting on the ground. Concrete blocks are a good source for elevating hives. There are wooden stands you can purchase which have been made especially for setting hives on. They need to be placed high enough so they are not in the grass.

The attached illustration shows how your basic beehive should be setup. Most beekeeping manuals describe the use of shallow honey supers (check glossary) on top of the deep hive bodies. Some beekeepers use the same size supers as the body. This is something you will learn as you continue with beekeeping as to what works best for you.

Using the same size super as the body allows you to buy or make just one size and the foundations can also be all the same size. If you use the deep supers the weight of them can be a drawback as they can weigh up to 100 pounds when full. The pros to using the deeper supers are they will decrease the amount of handling as compared to the shallow supers.

There is a trick to using only nine frames in the standard ten frame super. When evenly spaced in the super, bees will draw the comb out further. This method puts the capping’s up higher on the edge of the frame and will decrease the amount of time it takes to uncap them. Spacers can be purchased or you can make your own to make sure you get the correct spacing on the frame.

Frames are an essential in the basic equipment you need for your hive. The frame allows you easy and quick access to check on the condition of your bees, and the removal of the honey. The frame needs to be setup with a wired foundation.

These are sheets of beeswax with two important features:

  • They have to contain embedded wires to help support the comb and make sure it doesn’t tear when you take the honey out.
  •  It has to be embossed with the exact shape of the honeycomb that will be taken out of it. This will ensure you get a nice, uniform comb.

The Honey Bees

Once the hive is complete and set in the proper location, you are ready to get your bees. The best place to purchase your first hive of bees is from a commercial supplier.

Installing the Bee Package

keeping beesWhen you get your bees home, you will need to feed them sugar syrup as they will have used up the supply sent with them on
their journey. Giving them nourishment is important and simply done by making a simple syrup with two cups of sugar mixed with one cup of boiling water. Mix the syrup thoroughly and allow to cool.

Once the syrup is cool, use a small paint brush and paint the solution onto the wire sides of the cage. The bees will calm as they eat and will take as much as you put on. Don’t soak them with the syrup, simply brush on a coating and let them finish cleaning it off. It is best to wait until late afternoon or early evening to place the bees into their new hive. If needed, you can store them in a cool, dark place until the time is right.

Before placing the bees in their new hive, you should check that you have:

  • A bottom board on a solid base
  •  A hive body and its cover ready
  •  Have enough frames- five or six with the foundation in the hive body
  •  Have remaining frames available and handy for when needed
  • Have your bee suit or jacket on
  •  Have your gloves ready
  •  Have your smoker (check glossary) handy and ready to use
  •  Have a package of sugar syrup and brush ready

You are now ready to open the bee package and remove the tin feeder can.

When you open the package you will see the Queen suspended inside a small cage at the top of the package. Remove the cage with the Queen inside and any bees that are clinging to it. Close the package so no other bees can get out.

The Queen’s cage should have a small stopper on one end to prevent her from escaping. Beneath that stopper is a plug of sugar which the bees will quickly remove to allow her out. Gently place her cage, with the stopper removed, nearest the center of the hive and allow the bees to work at setting her free.

how to keep beesWith your smoker, give the package a gentle puff of smoke and remove the closure. Shake gently until a bunch of bees go right over the Queen’s cage. The remaining bees should be shaken out and into the space where the frames were taken out of the hive body. The bees will want to find cover in the darkness of the hive and join the rest of the bees.

There are always some bees that stayed behind in the package so set it near the entrance and allow them to find their way inside. Gently put the remaining frames of the foundation into the hive body and place the inner cover on.

You will need a feeder at the entrance or just inside an empty hive body with the same simple solution you fed them when you got them home. Monitoring the bees is important to ensure they are healthy, getting enough food, and starting to work.

It may take about a week before they completely settle down in their new home and during that week the Queen will start laying her eggs. When you see that the bees are going outside the hive and collecting their own pollen, you can stop feeding them. You can now remove the feeder and extra hive body and replace the top cover over the inner cover.

Working with Your Honey Bees

To begin work with your hive use the smoker. Give the hive a few good puffs of smoke directly into the hive entrance. Lift the covers, top and inner, and make sure smoke goes into the super. This will make the bees calmer and allow you to work around them more safely.

The smoke masks alarm pheromones, a chemical released by guard bees or others when you enter their hive. The smoke also Working with Your Honey Beescreates a feeding response in the bees as they think their hive is in danger. They will fill up on honey in anticipation of having to flee the hive. A bee that is full of honey will have a harder time stinging. Do not puff the smoker too much as you do not want a hot smoke or actual flames as this will endanger the bees.

Bees can do most of their own work; they generally just require monitoring from time to time. When you check your hive, wear light colored clothing as bright colors appear to agitate bees. When you use your beekeeping clothes, smoker, gloves, and hive tool (check glossary) you should have relatively no problems working around the bees. Working calmly and steadily is also suggested as they will react less to smooth movements than those which are too fast and unsteady.

Remove the covers and using the hive tool lift a few frames out to examine them. Check to see if the comb is fully drawn out and being filled with honey. Check if the combs have been capped off and are ready for you to extract the honey from them. While checking these, look at the bees and make sure they appear healthy and active.

When finished replace the covers. If you have used smoke to settle them, the bees will clear the hive of any remaining smoke after you’ve replaced everything and life for them will settle down and soon be back to normal.

beekeeping equipment suppliesThe Honey

While checking the hive if you have found the supers to be full of capped honeycomb, it is time to remove your honey. Before you take the honey, you must be sure to remove the bees from the super.

To do this you can use a commercial product called, Bee-Go. It is a chemical solution you place on top of the hive in place of the top cover.

You can do this by making a fume board out of an old hive cover and staple a layer of burlap over it. The burlap will act as an absorbent pad to apply the chemical too. The bees do not like the odor given off by Bee-Go and will descend deeper into the hive.

It generally only takes a few minutes for all the bees to move down so you can extract the super to remove the honey.

Another product that works well to move the bees is, Fischer’s Bee-Quick. It works under the same principle as the Bee-Go.

Extracting the Honey

Using a mechanical extractor will make removal of the honey much simpler. If you are not using frames specially designed to take sections of the honeycomb out, then you really need to have access to a centrifugal type extractor. These extractors are not cheap and can be built at home, but you will have better luck with a manufactured model. One idea is to check with other beekeepers inhoney extractor your area to see if they would be willing to pool together on a purchased one.

From the full supers, you need to remove the wax caps on the combs. Each of the cells will be full of honey and the caps need to come off to get the honey out. One method is to have knives submerged in hot water and use them to slice the caps off. When one knife cools and no longer slices the cap evenly, change knives and take a fresh hot one. Place the caps into a pot as a lot of honey will drip off of them which you want to keep. There are specially heated knives you may eventually want to invest in.

Place the frames into the extractor once you have removed all the caps with the top bar facing outward. This is important to make sure you get all of the honey out of the comb. As the honey is extracted from the frame, replace them in the super. The honey will accumulate on the bottom of the extractor and you will need to drain it off. Run the honey through a few layers of cheese cloth to remove any wax, pollen, or bees. You are now ready to pour it into jars of your choice.

Winterizing your Hive

Bees do not hibernate or sleep during the winter months. They will form a cluster and generate heat to survive the cold temperatures. This generation of heat will create moisture or condensation and standing water is not a good scenario for your hive’s survival. In the wild, bee supplysbees maintain a single entrance at the bottom of their hive so they are able to fan fresh air or ventilate the hive. Try to mimic nature by using a thicker wood to act like a hollow log and let the bees seal up the cracks as they would naturally. Try not to open the hive at all during cool or cold weather. In nature, bees also protect themselves against mice or other varmints that look to steal their food during the cold months. Again, you will have to help them guard their entrance by placing barriers up so they cannot be invaded. Winterizing the natural way also means leaving them enough honey to eat during the winter. If unsure as to how much to leave, it is better to wait until spring to harvest to ensure your hive can survive.

Any supers not being used by the bees for the winter need to cleaned, inspected for damage or rot, and stored in 50-gallon sized lawn bags until ready for use next summer.

The information in this article does not cover all the fascinating facts of beekeeping. It is the hope that it will motivate you and get you started on wanting to expand your knowledge and begin your beekeeping.

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Honey Extractor

Looking at purchasing the best honey extractor?

honey extractorsSince I recently upgraded mine, I thought I’d share some thoughts.

Investment

Even though you only use your extractor once a year (for most of us), it’s a large initial investment and you want to make the right decision.

Prices range from under two hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars. There are many good honey extractors available for a reasonable cost.

Here are some features to consider when purchasing a honey extractor.

Manual or Electric

All honey extractors work through the use of centrifugal force. There are two types, manual and electric.

Manual Extractors

manual honey extractorMost experienced beekeepers advise new beekeepers to start with a manual honey extractor and then trade up later on. Manual extractors have been around for over one hundred years.

Many new beekeepers start with only one to three hives, so a manual extractor will do just fine.

Years ago, I bought a used 2 frame manual extractor at a yard sale from an Amish gentleman. The extractor used a bicycle chain on the gears.

The biggest difficulty was that the top gear drive had to be removed to place and remove the frames. It made the process very time-consuming.

The biggest challenge with a manual extractor is that your arms will get tired from turning the handle and with most extractors, you will have to spend 10 minutes turning the handle and the turn the frames around for another 10 minutes.

The benefit to using a manual extractor is that you don’t need electricity to operate it. Of course, if you’re outside trying to extract honey, you will attract a lot of bees.

So, my advice to newbie’s is to pick a model where it is easy to turn the crank.

Electric Extractors

electric honey extractor There a quiet a few manufactures of electric honey extractors. Many advertised on the Internet seem to be made in China and appear to be the same model, under different brand names.

Electric extractors cost two to four times as much as a manual one.  A high-quality electric extractor can be a significant expense for a beekeeping hobbyist.

The motors are usually single speed or variable speed options. Motors are rated by watts, usually 110 or 120 watts. Some manufacturers will list the rpm (revolutions per minute) of the motor (such as 1300 rpm).

If you’re going to shell out the bucks for an electric extractor, you should get a variable speed motor. The reason for this is that if the motor spins too fast it could damage the wax combs. A variable speed motor will allow you to adjust the spin speed.

The benefit to an electric extractor is that it is easier to operate than a manual one. You just flip the switch and watch it spin, without any manual labor.

Another benefit is that electric models are much faster than manual models and will save you hours of time and effort.

How Many Frames?

Commercial honey extractors can hold more than one hundred frames. The smallest and most economical honey extractors hold 2 frames.

Most hobby beekeepers find a 2 frame to 6-frame model adequate for their needs. Once you go past the 6-frame extractor size the prices get real expensive.

Drum

The drum size and composition is an important consideration when choosing an extractor to buy.

Metal or Plastic Drum?

Hands down, go for metal. If you buy a plastic model, you’ll be upgrading it to metal the next year. My first extractor was made of honey extractorheavy duty plastic and it still warped.

The best choice is of material is food grade stainless steel. Some are made from 16 or 26-gauge steel and others from “food grade #304 stainless steel” which is a common grade of stainless steel used for food preparation.

Many of the better models have a cone-shaped bottom, to allow better draining of the honey.

Legs or Stand

No matter whether the model has legs or a stand, the height should be tall enough to fit a 5-gallon bucket. This means the honey gate should be at least 15 inches above the ground.

Many models, such as the 2nd one I purchased did not allow a 5-gallon bucket underneath.

Also, models with legs tend not to be as sturdy as those resting on stands. My last model with legs constantly vibrated and tended to move around. We finally had to resort to holding it, to keep it in place.

Hint: put a towel underneath, so it doesn’t scratch the floor in case it vibrates or moves.

Baskets

There are two types of baskets, tangential or radial. Tangential baskets need to be turned, because they have one side of the comb facing outward. Radial baskets do not need to be turned, because they have the top bar of the frame facing outwards.3 frame honey extractor

Radial baskets typically cost more, and are mostly used by large corporate honey producers.

Tangential baskets are used by most backyard and small hobby beekeepers, since most 2 – 6 frame honey extractors have tangential baskets.

The image on the right shows a 3-frame basket, without the motor.

The baskets should fit the three most common sizes, Shallow, Medium and Deep frames.

The design of the baskets should be such that the frames can easily be removed, without removing the top gears or motor.

honey gateHoney Gate

Also called a honey gate valve, this allows the honey to flow out of the extractor.

They are usually sized from 1.25” to 2” is diameter and are made of either food grade plastic or metal, with plastic being the most common.

A honey gate should have a gasket or O-Ring supplied, to prevent leaking.

The model I received did not include an O-Ring and there was a visible gap between the drum and where the honey gate fit. I had to take a last-minute trip to Home Depot to pick one up.

honey bee extractorsCoupling & Gears

The coupling and gears are critical to the operation of the extractor.

The gears must “couple” correctly to provide a proper spin for your extractor. If the gears are not coupled correctly the shaft will wobble and cause a lot of vibration.

The parts are typically made of steel, aluminum or heavy-duty plastic. Steel gears are best.

As you can see from the image, aluminum gears can crack.

After mine cracked, I had to place a rubber hose clamp on it to hold it together, to finish my honey extracting.

Lids

Clear plexiglass lids are a nice option for monitoring your progress. They also keep stray drops of honey from flying out of your extractor. The first time we used an extractor without a lid we were covered in honey, from the waist up.

Assembly and Instructions

Many models require some type of assembly. Typically, this includes the legs, honey gate, top gears or motor and coupling the motor to the cage assembly.

One of the biggest complaints I read about is the lack of instructions. My latest purchase did not include them, but the assembly was easy. This seems to be a problem from most of the units that are Chinese-made.

Another issue includes parts that are covered in oil. They must be cleaned thoroughly before you can assemble your extractor.

honey bee extractorCleaning

The extractor should be easy to dissemble and clean. When you are finished extracting, your bees will do much of your clean-up work. Soap and water should do the rest.

Warranty or Guarantee

When you buy a new extractor you should receive a warranty or guarantee. Some only have a 30-day guarantee while other have a Lifetime Warranty. Obviously, the better manufacturers stand by their equipment and offer better warranties.

Conclusion

Harvesting your honey is one of the most enjoyable parts of beekeeping. Tasting and eating your honey is another part.

A honey extractor is a critical part of your honey extraction process and you want a durable machine to make your experience hassle-free, no matter whether you have one or one hundred hives.

Good luck on choosing the right machine for your needs.

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Top Bar Hive

Top Bar Hive

Installing Bees in a Top-Bar Hive – Mother Earth News

Mother Earth NewsInstalling Bees in a Top-Bar Hive Mother Earth News

Top-bar hives are becoming increasingly popular with beekeepers as they help encourage bees to colonize in a more natural way than Langstroth beehives. The horizontal top-bar hives have bars across the tops for the bees to build their comb off of and more accurately mimic the tree hollows and nooks that bees would inhabit in the wild.

If you have decided to go with a top-bar beehive, you may be eagerly awaiting your first colony of spring bees. Installing them in the top bar frame is a little different than the process with an upright hive, and has some unique requirements.

While it may seem unlikely, bees are commonly purchased from apiaries and then sent to you through the US Mail. Your post office will give you an urgent call upon the arrival of the hive, and you can go pick up a wire-covered box filled with honeybees. Bees are sold by the pound, and a new colony is usually a three pound package.

There are many different kinds of bees, and you should research your area and the bees most hardy to your weather conditions before making your purchase. Once you’ve determined the breed of bees you want, you’ll either get a hive with a marked or unmarked queen.

When you pick up your colony at the Post Office, or at a local beekeeper’s, the queen will be in a small cell separated from the rest of the hive by a cork.

Occasionally, apiaries will block the queen’s cell only with a sugary substance that the worker bees can chew through, but usually you will have to remove a cork between the queen and her bees.

The queen is not immediately released into the colony, but should spend her first few days in the compartment while they adjust to her scent.

These are the basics everyone should know when thinking about Top Bar Beekeeping. It covers the basic ideas developed by Wyatt A. Magnum PhD. Wyatt is …

Keep a top bar hive for fun! Join us here at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms as EAS certified master beekeeper takes you through …

In this video Jen Rasmussen of Paradise Nectar Apiaries demonstrates how to split a top bar hive and remove cross comb sections. For more information visit …

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