We used to raise our own bees and sell the honey. We found that a lot of people are afraid of bees and misunderstand them. I thought it would be nice to find out all about bees from someone who was a beekeeper. Honey bees are the main pollinators for flowers, trees, bushes, and vegetables. Without honey bees we would lose about 90% of our food supply, according to some sources. Bees have been hit hard by a double whammy of disease. Bees also have parasites that suck their blood like ticks do to mammals so they have to be medicated to protect the hive. Colonies can be lost practically overnight because of the mysterious disease that has spread throughout the bee community and the parasitic creatures that thrive on a weak colony. Bees are an important part of our world ecology and without bees we would all starve to death. Although they are small and annoying when they sting you, they are as important as the sun and the rain. They make the nectar of the gods. Honey is nature's candy. We couldn't have that if we didn't have honey bees. That's why I care about honey bees and the environment. Everything is linked.
The hive consists of the queen bee who lays all the larva in individual cells. and the worker bees who tend to the young. When the larva are ready to morph the cell is capped until the bee is formed. The queen mates with the drones on her maiden flight when she is still a virgin. That is the only purpose of the drone. Drones are bigger than worker bees and don't have stingers. They eat enormous amounts of honey and are pushed out of the hive in the fall to die. When I was young I knew the drones from the worker bees and I liked to play with the drones when they crawled outside of the hive.
The three casts of the hive are the queen, workers, and the drones. All workers are female. It depends on the combination of foods the worker bees feed the larva whether they become workers or queens or drones. The queens are fed more royal jelly than worker bee larva are feed.
THE QUEEN BEE
There is only one queen bee per hive. Whenever more queen bees are born there is a fight with the old queen and the new queen is usually the winner. The old queen takes a group of bees with her and they swarm out of the hive and land somewhere while scout bees try to search out a nice safe place to live. Some bees find cracks in houses or other buildings and nest there. Some settle in hollow trees or other unusual places.
When bees swarm they are not as likely to sting as when they are guarding their home. My father has shown us how to gather a swarm of bees by placing a brood box below the bees and shaking the bees off of the tree limb into the box. If the queen falls into the box the other bees follow. The bees are very docile.
I like to smoke bees. I get some interesting looks whenever I say that. Like the lion tamer uses the whip to subdue the lion, the beekeeper knows that to subdue the bees he has to use smoke. A smoker is a contraption made of metal with a billows attached. Some people burn burlap to create a smoldering fire but, since we live in Georgia and have so many pine trees, we like to use pine needles. The smell is like a camp fire. The smoke should be cool white smoke with no heat or flame coming out.
It is best to smoke the entrance of the bee hive and give them a minute for the smoke to affect them. Bees natural instinct is to eat the honey whenever they smell smoke. It must be natures way to save the honey in case of a fire. The smoke covers the smell of the pheromones that the bees emit and prevents the bees from signaling to attack and sting the intruder. Most of the bees are too full of honey to fly around so they are very docile. That is how smoke protects the beekeeper.
THE SWEET REWARD
The good part about raising bees is the reward of the pure golden honey. Extracting the honey is not an easy or inexpensive job. The old fashion way is to take the frames out and cut the capping off and strain the honey through cheesecloth. We were fortunate to have an extractor which holds two frames at a time. It is a manual drum with a crank handle to turn the frames and sling the honey out of the honey cells. We had to turn the frames around and then sling out the other side. It uses centrifugal force. That is much easier than squeezing the honey through cloth. We then would put the honey in clean jars and label them, preparing them for sale.
HONEY HELPS FIGHT BACTERIA
Researchers at the University of Waikato in New Zeland say that honey helps fight bacteria, and unlike some other antiseptics, is gentle on the body. Honey was used as a medicine as far back as ancient Greece, but recent research shows that an enzyme in honey called glucose oxidase produces a chemical called hydrogen peroxide, which sterilizes germs. Clinical research has shown that several types of honey rapidly clear bacteria from infected wounds, even when the infection is deep-seated. Scientists have also found that honey not only stops the growth of the bacteria in dental plaque, it reduces the amount of acid they produce, which stops the bacteria from producing a chemical known as dextran. Dextran, a component of dental plaque, is the gummy sugary substance that the bacteria make to stick to the surface of teeth. The researchers are testing several types of honey that are high in glucose oxidase to see if honey can also help treat gum disease and gingivitis.
HONEY COULD IMPROVE SPORTS PERFORMANCE
Drinking honey might significantly boost performance and power in bicycling and other athletic pursuits. Researchers at the University of Memphis in Tennessee say honey is a nutritious cocktail of natural sugars that works just as well as many sports gels currently marketed as fuel for strenuous exercise. "Honey has a competitive, ready to use edge and a widely liked flavor," says researcher Richard Kreider. Nine competitive cyclists received one of three health supplements per week over three weeks -- honey, glucose gel, or a flavored calorie-free placebo. The cyclists took 60 grams of each supplement along with a liter of water over the course of a 64 kilometer (40 mile) bicycling endurance test given each week. Honey did as well as the glucose gel and reduced the amount of time it took to complete the bicycling run by more than three minutes when compared to the placebo. The researchers presented their finding in Orlando, Florida at an annual Experimental Biology meeting.
SWEET NEWS FOR ATHLETES
Three new studies conducted at the University of Memphis Exercise and Sport Nutrition Laboratory suggest that honey performs as well as or better than other forms of carbohydrate as a fuel for athletes. In a comparison with commercial carbohydrate gels, honey produced only mild increases in blood sugar and insulin, indicating that it could be an effective pre-workout energy source that does not induce hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. A second trial showed that of four types of protein shake consumed after an intensive workout, only the one containing honey sustained blood sugar for two hours following the exercise. In the third experiment, honey proved equal to glucose in sustaining the power and speed of competitive cyclists participating in a simulated 40 mile race. This one "convinced us that honey can improve endurance exercise capacity," say Dr Richard Kreider, the lead investigator. The National Honey Board sponsored all three studies.
DID YOU KNOW . . .
Warriors were honored for bravery by the Egyptian pharaohs by having a golden bee pinned on their tunics 3,500 years ago, making these the first medals of valor.
Honey lasts almost forever and has been found in a still edible state after sitting for centuries in Egyptian tombs dating back to the pharaohs.
I bet you didn't know that the most insects used in a film was 22 million bees in THE SWARM.
An American tourist in South America had the misfortune to be attacked by killer bees as he stood on the bank of the Amazon. Seeking refuge, he leaped into the river, and was devoured by crazed, flesh eating piranha fish.
The fortress of Acre in the Holy Land, after resisting attacks by the Crusaders for two years, finally was captured in 1191 by King Richard the Lionhearted, who ordered 100 beehives tossed over it's walls. The Saracen defenders surrendered at once.
Bees must collect nectar from two million flowers to produce one pound (0.45 kilograms) of honey.
Time magazine reported that a radical vegan group was trying to stop people from eating honey because, they say, honey production uses the labor of oppressed worker bees.
Honeybees have hair on their eyes.
When a queen bee lays the fertilized eggs that will develop into new queens, only one of the newly laid queens actually survives. The first new queen that emerges from her cell destroys all other queens in their cells and, therefore, reigns alone.
When honey crystallizes the jar can be set in hot water and slowly melted back into liquid form. Do NOT boil the jar of honey. Too much heat scorches the honey.
HONEY MAY FIGHT CHOLESTEROL
Researchers have some honeyed words for spinach haters who want to take advantage of the leafy green vegetable's health benefits without paying the price of eating it. Honey, it turns out, contains about the same level of plaque fighting antioxidants as spinach, researchers reported at a meeting of the American Chemical Society. In fact, the five week study of 25 men between 18 and 68 indicates the range of antioxidants in honey is comparable to that in apples, bananas, oranges, and strawberries. An analysis of the volunteers blood suggests drinking a mixture of water and honey, about four tablespoons per 16 ounce glass, can improve the antioxidant levels in the blood, said Nicki Engeseth of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who conducted the study. That means the sticky sweet stuff may have the potential to protect against heart disease, she said. "It looks like honey is having a mild protective effect," Engeseth said. However, this should not be taken as an excuse to avoid fruits and vegetables, she cautioned. Antioxidants, organic substances such as vitamin E or beta carotene, are thought to counteract the damaging effects of oxidation in animal tissues that have been implicated in a variety of diseases and aging.
AND A READER COMMENTED WITH THIS:
CINNAMON AND HONEY
Honey is the only food on the planet that will not spoil or rot. It will do what some call turning to sugar. In reality honey is always honey.. However, when left in a cool dark place for a long time it will do what I rather call "crystallizing". When this happens I loosen the lid, boil some water, and sit the honey container in the hot water, turn off the heat and let it liquefy. It is then as good as it ever was. Never boil honey or put it in a microwave. To do so will kill the enzymes in the honey.
Bet the drug companies won't like this one getting around. Facts on Honey and Cinnamon: It is found that a mixture of honey and Cinnamon cures most diseases. Honey is produced in most of the countries of the world. Scientists of today also accept honey as a 'Ram Ban' (very effective) medicine for all kinds of diseases. Honey can be used without any side effects for any kind of diseases.
Today's science says that even though honey is sweet, if taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm diabetic patients. Weekly World News, a magazine in Canada , in its issue dated 17 January,1995 has given the following list of diseases that can be cured by honey and cinnamon as researched by western scientists:
Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder, apply on bread, instead of jelly and jam, and eat it regularly for breakfast. It reduces the cholesterol in the arteries and saves the patient from heart attack. Also, those who have already had an attack, if they do this process daily, they are kept miles away from the next attack. Regular use of the above process relieves loss of breath and strengthens the heart beat. In America and Canada , various nursing homes have treated patients successfully and have found that as you age, the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged; honey and cinnamon revitalize the arteries and veins.
Arthritis patients may take daily, morning and night, one cup of hot water with two spoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. If taken regularly even chronic arthritis can be cured. In a recent research conducted at the Copenhagen University, it was found that when the doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon Honey and half teaspoon Cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week, out of the 200 people so treated, practically 73 patients were totally relieved of pain, and within a month, mostly all the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis started walking without pain.
Take two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it.. It destroys the germs in the bladder.
Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of Cinnamon Powder mixed in 16 ounces of tea water, given to a cholesterol patient, was found to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours. As mentioned for arthritic patients, if taken three times a day, any chronic cholesterol is cured.. According to information received in the said Journal, pure honey taken with food daily relieves complaints of cholesterol.
Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon power daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and clear the sinuses.
Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomach ache and also clears stomach ulcers from the root.
According to the studies done in India and Japan , it is revealed that if Honey is taken with cinnamon powder the stomach is relieved of gas.
Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacteria and viral attacks. Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron in large amounts. Constant use of Honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles to fight bacterial and viral diseases.
Cinnamon powder sprinkled on two tablespoons of honey taken before food relieves acidity and digests the heaviest of meals.
A scientist in Spain has proved that honey contains a natural ' Ingredient' which kills the influenza germs and saves the patient from flu..
Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, when taken regularly, arrests the ravages of old age. Take four spoons of honey, one spoon of cinnamon powder, and three cups of water and boil to make like tea. Drink 1/4 cup, three to four times a day. It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests old age. Life spans also increase and even a 100 year old, starts performing the chores of a 20-year-old.
Three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder paste. Apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it next morning with warm water. If done daily for two weeks, it removes pimples from the root.
Applying honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts on the affected parts cures eczema, ringworm and all types of skin infections.
Daily in the morning one half hour before breakfast on an empty stomach, and at night before sleeping, drink honey and cinnamon powder boiled in one cup of water.. If taken regularly, it reduces the weight of even the most obese person. Also, drinking this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.
Recent research in Japan and Australia has revealed that advanced cancer of the stomach and bones have been cured successfully. Patients suffering from these kinds of cancer should daily take one tablespoon of honey with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder for one month three times a day.
Recent studies have shown that the sugar content of honey is more helpful rather than being detrimental to the strength of the body. Senior citizens, who take honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts, are more alert and flexible. Dr. Milton, who has done research, says that a half tablespoon of honey taken in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder, taken daily after brushing and in the afternoon at about 3:00 P.M. when the vitality of the body starts to decrease, increases the vitality of the body within a week.
People of South America , first thing in the morning, gargle with one teaspoon of honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water, so their breath stays fresh throughout the day.
Daily morning and night honey and cinnamon powder, taken in equal parts restores hearing. Remember when we were kids? We had toast with real butter and cinnamon sprinkled on it!
Sent by Jerry White. Thank's for your input, Jerry!