Frequently Asked Questions

About Honey

It’s perfectly normal for honey to crystallize and does not mean that the quality of the honey has changed. All honey is primarily composed of two types of sugar: glucose and fructose. Honey varieties high in fructose rarely crystallize, like Tupelo Honey. Honey varieties high in glucose have a stronger tendency to crystallize over time. Crystallization is natural and does not affect a honey’s flavor. Honey is least likely to crystallize if stored at room temperature. To re-liquify your crystallized honey, stand the lightly sealed jar into a container of warm water for 20 minutes, or run under a hot tap. The honey will gently liquefy. You will want to stir it to speed even heating. Remember that our Whipped honey varieties are meant to be finely crystallized. Store it in a cooler location, but do not refrigerate or it may get too stiff to spread.

Honey never spoils if it is stored properly! Pots of still edible honey have been uncovered after thousands of years in Egyptian tombs and in Georgia was found the oldest honey in the world- 6000 years old. We mark an expiration date on some of our bottles as required by food stores, but that date is simply to meet their regulations. However, honey, unlike wine, tastes best during its first few years. After 3, 4 years some of the valuable enzymes get les, but all the minerals remain unchanged.

The best way to keep raw honeycomb is at room temperature in a cabinet or on a countertop. Keep it in the plastic box to prevent any unwanted visitors from getting into it. Of course, avoid exposing your honey to water. It does not need to be in a refrigerator, where it may begin to crystallize.

The wax cells of honeycomb are not only edible but very beneficial because they contain natural vitamin A as well as healthy roughage.

There is some debate but many people tell us that eating honey reduces their allergy symptoms. Fresh, raw honey best preserves its natural benefits for this purpose. We once heard at a beekeeping convention that honeycomb is best for people with allergies and asthma. How and why we don’t know, but the worst side effect is a little burst of energy, so why not try it? We suggest that you enjoy a daily regimen of eating 1 tablespoon of raw honey or honeycomb once in the morning and once in the evening.

Each of our honey types are derived from different flower species. Bee hives are moved to an area where there is an abundance of a specific plant that is in bloom – such as forest where acacia or linden trees grow. The bees will go back to the same kind of flower over and over (called “flower fidelity”) to bring back the nectar from that one plant. After the bloom ends – usually about two weeks – the beekeepers remove the honey boxes and extract that honey. Then the beekeeper can relocate the hives to a new area where another species is blooming. But remember, that no honey will be 100% from only one plant species and therefore the taste of the honey will be a little bit different every time.

The species of flower from which the bee gathered the nectar determines the color, flavor, and sugar composition of the honey. Honeydew honey is black and strong in flavor; acacia honey is almost completely clear and mild. We mostly sell monofloral honey – nectar from one specific flower species. We like to say all honey is good, but some honey is great. And believe us, there is a big difference. Common commercial honey is often blended for color consistency without regard to taste and the prevailing part of it is from honey types with the lowest price on the market.

Bulgarian honey adds a small percentage of finely crystallized honey to a very special variety of honey to encourage it to set up like frosted cream.

Botulinum endospores are found in the natural environment of dirt and dust, and the spores can contaminate honeys. That is why children younger than 1 should not be given honey. The developed digestive system of older children and adults destroy the spores. Infants, however, can contract botulism from honey as well as other foods that have the spores. Infantile botulism cases rarely trace back to honey, but because the spores can be found in some honey, it is best to avoid giving it to infants.

Honey is antimicrobial. The sugars can kill bacteria, and there are natural peroxides that form when honey is put on the skin that also help kill bacteria. Honey is used in medical applications when conventional antibacterial treatment with antibiotics and antiseptics have failed, such as with diabetic ulcers or antibiotic-resistant infections. Numerous studies have shown these difficult-to-heal wounds respond well to honey dressings. Honey promotes rapid healing with minimal scarring. Honey also can be used as first aid treatment for burns, as it has potent anti-inflammatory activity. New research shows that bees make a protein they add to the honey called defensin-1, which could one day be used to treat burns and skin infections and to develop new drugs that could combat antibiotic-resistant infections. Scientists concluded that the vast majority of honey’s antibacterial properties come from that protein. This information also sheds light on the inner workings of honeybee immune systems, which may one day help breeders create healthier and more hearty honeybees.

Pasteurization requires heating a substance to a temperature that is lethal to bacteria. Since honey’s saturated sugar quality and its osmotic effect inhibits the growth of nearly all bacterial species, pasteurization isn’t necessary. Pasteurization also destroys the amino acids and enzymes in honey. Amino acids are one of the healthful properties of honey, and enzymes rapidly break down honey’s sugars after consumption. Pasteurized honey has a weak “sugary” flavor and maintains few health benefits. For these reasons, we suggest you eat honey that has not been pasteurized and not been heated over 46 degrees Celsius.

About Bees

There has been quite a lot of buzz about colony collapse disorder and the disappearance of honeybees. Much of it is very alarming, and it is of concern to us. Things you can do: Start keeping some beehives. Do not use neonicotinoids or buy plants treated with them. Plant a diverse variety of flowers that successively bloom.

If it were a novel, people would criticize the plot for being too far-fetched – thriving colonies disappear overnight without leaving a trace, the bodies of the victims are never found. Only in this case, it’s not fiction: It’s what’s happening to fully a third of commercial bee hives, over a million colonies every year. Seemingly healthy communities fly off never to return. The queen bee and mother of the hive is abandoned to starve and die. Thousands of scientific sleuths have been on this case for the last 15 years trying to determine why our honey bees are disappearing in such alarming numbers. “This is the biggest general threat to our food supply,” according to Kevin Hackett, the national program leader for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s bee and pollination program. Until recently, the evidence was inconclusive on the cause of the mysterious “colony collapse disorder” (CCD) that threatens the future of beekeeping worldwide. But three new studies point an accusing finger at a culprit that many have suspected all along, a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids. In the U.S. alone, these pesticides, coat a massive 142 million acres of corn, wheat, soy and cotton seeds. They are also a common ingredient in home gardening products. Research published last month in the prestigious journal Science shows that neonics are absorbed by the plants’ vascular system and contaminate the pollen and nectar that bees encounter on their rounds. They are a nerve poison that disorient their insect victims and appear to damage the homing ability of bees, which may help to account for their mysterious failure to make it back to the hive. Another study published in the American Chemical Society’s Environmental Science and Technology journal implicated neonic-containing dust released into the air at planting time with “lethal effects compatible with colony losses phenomena observed by beekeepers.” Purdue University entomologists observed bees at infected hives exhibiting tremors, uncoordinated movement and convulsions, all signs of acute insecticide poisoning. And yet another study conducted by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health actually re-created colony collapse disorder in several honeybee hives simply by administering small doses of a popular neonic, imidacloprid. But scientists believe that exposure to toxic pesticides is only one factor that has led to the decline of honey bees in recent years. The destruction and fragmentation of bee habitats, as a result of land development and the spread of monoculture agriculture, deprives pollinators of their diverse natural food supply. This has already led to the extinction of a number of wild bee species. The planting of genetically modified organism (GMO) crops – some of which now contain toxic insecticides within their genetic structure – may also be responsible for poisoning bees and weakening their immune systems

  • Plant a Bee-Friendly Garden. For bees to carry out the pollination process, they need lots of nectar. One of the best ways you can help they honeybee population is by giving them more flowers! Honeybees love most flowers, but they’re particularly attracted to the following: lavender, sage, cilantro, thyme, fennel, crocus, buttercup, aster, hollyhocks, snowdrops, geraniums, Calendula, Alyssum, Poppy, Sunflowers, Zinnias, Cleomes, and Heliotropes. And don’t worry about the “pesky weeds” in your grass (clover, dandelion, star thistle). These “weeds” are a very important early spring nectar source vital to honeybees.
  • Don’t use pesticides. Pesticides are thought to be the number one reason for Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon where millions of bees have been disappearing all over the world. Before you spray your yard with harmful pesticides, think twice! You could be saving thousands of lives.
  • Support Organic By buying organic honey, you’re helping out the beekeeper and honeybees, which work in areas around the world where no pesticides are used! The more organic honey a beekeeper can sell, the more hives he will be able to maintain and take care of.
  • Spread the word. Honeybees can’t talk, so it’s up to you to help speak on their behalf! Tell your friends and family about he importance of honeybees or take a few minutes to sign some online petitions!

Honey bees are social in that they have specific roles and they cooperate for the good of the hive so that they, unlike most insects, can live through the winter. Honeybees produce and store honey in the hive’s honeycomb for consumption during the winter. It fuels their shivering movements that generate heat, much like it is on a crowded dance floor. They maintain the hive at around 32 degrees throughout the winter. The further north the hive, the more honey needed for winter.

Scrape the stinger sideways from your skin using a hive tool, long fingernail or credit card. If you pinch or squeeze the venom sack attached to the stinger, you risk squeezing the venom into your skin even more! You will get 1/3 the bee venom with the scraping technique. After that, the pain will subside within 5 minutes and you can take an antihistamine to reduce swelling. Otherwise, there isn’t much you can do to treat the sting itself.

All of the bee larvae in the hive are fed royal jelly for the first few days after they hatch but only the queen larvae are fed the jelly exclusively. As a result of the difference in diet, the larvae chosen to become the queen will develop into a sexually mature female, unlike the worker bees. The Queen Bee is larger and lives longer than her fellow female worker bees.

Royal jelly is 67% water, 12.5% protein, 11% simple sugars (monosaccharides), 5% fatty acids and 2-3% 10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid (10-HDA). It also contains trace minerals, antibacterial and antibiotic components, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and trace amounts of vitamin C,[2] but none of the fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E or K. Royal jelly is a protein rich honey bee secretion that is used in the nutrition of larvae, as well as adult queens. This substance is beneficial for aiding in skin care because; Its primary components are major proteins: amino acids, including all the amino acids that are essential for human nutrition; sugars, mostly fructose and glucose; lipids; minerals; and vitamins. Royal jelly’s fats, suspended as a natural emulsion, have moisturizing properties, protect skin from dehydration and reduce inflammation. Amino acids are a component of collagen, which keeps the skin firm. Cosmetic functions of royal jelly, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, include improving the appearance of wrinkles and stretch marks, boosting elasticity and firmness, and normalizing the fat secretions of skin glands to reduce oiliness. Royal jelly also has antibiotic and fungicidal properties.

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