“B” is for Beeswax

Walk into our shop on the day we are making our wonderful beeswax candles and you will smell the essence of the beehive.
The sweet perfume emanating from the soft, golden yellow beeswax is memorable.

The-Bee-and-Me-Honeycomb

Beeswax is unique only to honeybees and they use it to store honey and raise their baby bees. The hive is comprised of thousands of hollow hexagonal cells made of beeswax.   Beeswax is produced only by bees in their prime between the young age of just 10 - 18 days old.
Only these young bees secrete white wax called a scale from glands on their abdomen. It takes 10 pounds of honey consumed by honeybees to form 1 pound of beeswax scales. Then by instinct, construction by mouth and feet commences. The beeswax honeycomb is a very intelligent design.  The hexagon shapes fit together in the honeycomb without leaving gaps and so do not waste any space. The Bee and Me Honey Honeycomb

The bees then go to work filling each cavity with sweet honey.  Once full, the bees seal the honey with a thin layer of wax known as the "capping's".  In a good year a beehive might yield up to 100 pounds of honey.  Our honeybees need more than 40 pounds of honey for themselves just to stay alive over  the winter.  We retrieve about 5 pounds of beeswax from each hive.  It is only the thin capping's layer that we  cherish to make clean burning candles. The capping's are removed from the comb by the beekeeper during the extraction of the honey.  The beekeeper recovers as much honey from the capping's as possible and then the wax is rendered and ready to make our aromatic beeswax candles.

The beehive if full of natural riches and we stock our shop with everything that comes from it.  Come visit our shop and you too will ask
"What is that wonderful smell".  If you can't come by our shop, visit our website where you can order any of our clean burning beeswax candles made from the 100% pure beeswax capping's.
The Bee and Me Beeswax Candles

Honeybees are Dying By the Millions

I was flooded this week with people concerned about the population of our honeybees.
It seems you can't turn on the television or read the newspaper without coming across a story of dying honey and bumblebees.  The Post ran a story last month that was alarming  on the insecticides known as Nionicotiniods.  Nionicotiniods is banned in Europe but still used in North America.  A second story in the Los Angeles Times from Oregon also reports the use of insecticides that were used and the results were fatal for bumble bees.  So what can we do to help restore the bee population and not harm these insects?

Here are 4 EASY WAYS TO HELP HONEYBEES AND BUMBLEBEES

1. PLANT A HONEYBEE POLLINATOR FRIENDLY GARDEN
Honeybees, like humans, love a diverse diet, so make the natural world more bee friendly.  Begin with your back garden.  Typically honeybees LOVE lavender, clover, borage, sunflowers, phacelia, poppy and many more. Add your favorite herbs, fruits and vegetables to your yard, the bees are sure to love them.
The Bee and Me Bee Pollinating Flower

2. DO NOT SPRAY PESTICIDES
Pesticides are linked directly to honeybee deaths. Find natural alternatives.  Many garden centres carry a variety of honeybee friendly pesticides.

3. DON'T FEAR A SWARM of HONEYBEES
More than likely if honeybees swarm, they have run out of room because they are growing and healthy. DO NOT call exterminators, instead call a local beekeeping association. They will come to your home or place of the swarm and remove them free of charge. Bees are extremely valuable pollinators and we do not want to kill them unnecessarily.
Bee Swarm

4. BECOME A BEEKEEPER
If this is something that interests you, check with a local beekeeping association to get started.  Workshops and courses may be offered for beginners.

It has been great to see lots of you at the farmers' markets we attend.  Fruits and vegetables are filling vendors booths.
Juicy Ontario cherries from Niagara came out last week as well as delicious green beans and new potatoes.
Come, enjoy the wonderful atmosphere at the Oakville Place Farmers' Market, Dundas Farmers Market, Sherway Farmers Market and Georgetown Farmers Market. 
Stop in at our booth and say hello and enjoy all the flavors of summer and eat well!!

Bitters' Sweets
It's time to tell you about another vendor at one of the market we attend.  I would like to tell you about a vendor at the Georgetown Farmers' Market who creates the most amazing jams and jellies. Her name is Rebecca and she is the owner of Bitters' Sweet Jams and Jellies.  Rebecca is a resident of Acton but grew up in Georgetown.  She is  a pastry chef by trade. Her mom tells me she has loved to cook since she was a small child.  She uses local products as much as possible to create the most untraditional jams and jellies.

Bitters' Sweets Jellies like red wine infused with Rosemary and three different kinds of strawberry jam, Strawberry Orange, Strawberry Balsamic and Strawberry Rhubarb.  And try her Cherry Jam, to die for on pancakes. What could taste more delightful then home made jam on your morning toast or bagel.  You can sample any of her jams or jellies at the market, so next time you are at the Georgetown Farmers' Market stop in to visit Rebecca at Bitters' Sweets. 

 

UPDATE: Bees Thrive at

 

The Honey Controversy

the Bee and Me Honey

At a show I attended as a vendor this weekend, Fleece and Fiber Fest, I was asked the question "why do we NOT give infants under the age of 12 months honey?"  I get asked this question a lot. It seems that family physicians tell moms not to feed their infants honey but neglect to tell them why.
Health Canada and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USA) recommends that raw honey not be given to children under the age of one (12 months)  Raw honey MAY contain botulism spores that are harmless to older children and adults but can cause fatal effects in the immature digestive system of an infant.
However, it is important to remember that people from around the world been giving their babies honey for centuries, safely.  The trouble MAY be the methods used today to raise bees and the pesticides that are sprayed abundantly on flowers, the bees food source.  So play it safe and do not give infants under the age of 12 months honey.

Also this weekend my family and I like to listen to Stuart McLean on CBC Radio on Sunday's on our way home from church.  For those of you who have never heard of Stuart, he is one of Canada's most beloved storytellers and a best selling author.  He travels across Canada and the US  with his show The Vinyl Café.  His stories are humorous with a serious side.  This weeks story was about bees.  Have a listen.  The story is called "Rosemary Honey" (May 25th) Enjoy!

And don't forget to get to you local farmers' market this weekend.  Asparagus is still available and strawberries are on the way! Support local growers.

The Buzz on Bees

bee-on-dandelionBees are the most important of all our pollinators.  Birds pollinate, bugs pollinate, but bees make the biggest contribution.  Approximately one-third of all human food is prepared from plants that depend on bees for pollination.  Bees come in different sizes and shapes and Canada is home to approximately 800 species.  When people think of bees, most think of the honey bee.  And if you have ever been stung by an honey bee you know how aggressively it will defend its nest.  The honey bee was introduced to Canada from Europe almost 400 years ago.  Treasured for its natural raw honey production, beeswax and other products it is used by many farmers right here in our area for crop pollination.  Apples and soft fruit in the Niagara Region and berries here in Haldimand County, from where we get our blueberry honey are all crops that depend on the humble honey bee for pollination.

You may have seen some of the more native bees such as the bumble bee or the mason bees buzzing around in your yard.  Going from flower to flower collecting pollen and a thin sweet liquid called nectar that is the honeybee's lifeline.  Unlike their cousins the honey bee which share labour and care taking of its young, the majority of these native bees prepares her own nest, provides her own food (pollen and nectar) for offspring and lays her own eggs.

The Bee and Me HoneyIn future post we will be talking about what you can do to draw bees to your yard with bee-friendly plants and drinking stations.

Bees and bees alone have freely offered food, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics to our human population for thousands of years.  Now is the time to appreciate what they have done and provide an environment to keep them healthy and prosperous.  We can begin by supporting organic farming which avoids the use of insecticides, and planting nectar-rich wildflowers giveing these wonderful creatures all the help they deserve.
And we can buy raw unprocessed honey, packed full of life-enhancing ingredients, at health-food stores, online and at farmers' markets.