Thursday, February 24, 2011

Buzz, Buzz

Do you know where your honey comes from and in whose hands it has been?  Probably the worst thing you can do is buy honey from the grocery store.  That honey comes from all over the world, and even if it's marked with the countries of origin, that information is sometimes false.  Grocery store honey could be tainted with any number of banned antibiotics used to keep the bees alive and disease and pest free.     

Chinese Honey Dumping

So, local honey seems to be the answer.  Not necessarily.  At our beekeeper's meeting this week, we learned about a popular method for treating hive beetles, using Max Force roach bait or any other roach bait that contains fipronil.  If you don't know, hive beetles are a part of beekeeping.  It's almost impossible to keep them out of the hives, so the best strategy is keeping them in check.  There are several safe methods of keeping them in check, but we were shocked to learn this method at our meeting, Okay, who in their right mind would put this in their bee hive knowing it's going to migrate to the wax and/or honey and then sell that honey to the public?  We also learned that someone local who sells honey at our farmer's market uses this method for his bees.  No names were given, but I do know who it's not.  Until we start producing our own honey, I know my source.   

My point is, like with any food you buy, know your source.  Ask questions.  If you don't like the answers, find another source.  You may not be able to source everything you buy, but making an effort to source what you can is better than doing nothing.

On a brighter note, we should be getting a couple of nucs in a few weeks, thus starting our beekeeping experience again.  Last year was such a failure for us, and several factors contributed.  This year we are starting with nucs, rather than package bees.  We are getting our bees much earlier in the year.  The weather last year kept the bee farms from shipping bees in time for the spring nectar flow and pollen.  Our inexperience also contributed to our failure.  So, we try again, and hopefully will stack the odds in our favor this time. 

I'll leave you with a picture Nate took last year of our bees.  I love this picture!

Happy homesteading,

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