Bees are on the decline and without them we could lose 90% of our food! Support Urban Beekeeping and Save The future of local food
I am sure you have heard this before, but our honeybees are in trouble!
Colony Collapse Disorder is a problem mainly of commercial beekeepers where entire beehives simply pack up and leave or are found dead. The theories behind their disappearance are varied and complex and range between environmental toxins and pesticide use, to cell phone radiation.
The truth of the matter is that for whatever reason our honeybees are dying
off, without a dramatic change in the way we approach beekeeping, we could be in for some big trouble in the future.
It has been suggested that more than 2/3 of the food we eat is directly impacted by the lowly honeybee.
Our commercial beehives are under a great amount of stress, they are moved all accross the country, fed high fruitcose corn syrup over the winter months, have to deal with wasps, ants, Trachial Mites, Varroa Mites and the Small Hive Beetle.
How can you help?
We need Backyard Beekeepers!
Commonsensebeekeeping.com is dedicated to the backyard beekeeper. Especially in the southern states where we have to deal with the Africanized Honeybee (AKA Killer Bee) This aggressive bee has changed the way we must look at beekeeping in general. It is only through commonsense beekeeping that we can reduce the danger of this more vigorous bee. According to a study of the genetics of a selection of feral bees in Southern Calif in 1994 by UC Davis Ag School, 87% had "African" genes. It is only by making sure that there are enough drones (male bees) from gentler stock in an area that we can help reduce the level of aggression in our wild bees.
We want to implement a community and national outreach program dedicated to the backyard beekeeper, and help bring our food back to a local level again.
With your help, we can purchase a honey extractor that can be used by backyard beekeepers in the community, at least one observation hive to take beekeeping into the classroom, 10 more beehives to bring our total to 20, 20 propolis traps, 20 pollen traps, and a couple of ventilated bee suits to be used by students who want to get up close and personal with the honeybees and learn about beekeeping.
Beekeeping is about more than just honey!
Other bee products include;
Beeswax which can be used in making natural beeswax candles, lip balm, hand lotion, healing salves, hand cream, cosmetics, facial cleansing masks, as a lubricant to wooden drawers, and more!
Honey is not just for your morning toast! Honey a healthy and natural sweetener but it is also used in lip balms, hand lotions, healing salves, etc., for its antibactrial properties. Dont forget Honey and lemon for that cough, cold or sore throat! It is also used in making honey wine and good ole fashioned mead.
Bee Pollen has so many health benefits that it will astound you! It is full of micro and macro nutrients, it will also make you feel great, have more sustained energy, increase your endurance, relieve stress, enhance your immunity, and reduce allergies... as well as improve your sex life.
Propolis Is a 100% natural product · Has no side effects · Is a powerful immune booster. Propolis Fights aging through elimination of free radicals · Helps your body to protect itself against illness and disease. Although the chemical composition of Propolis is very complex, the properties of Propolis have shown extensive antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, cytotoxic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Because of these biological properties
Royal Jelly is what the honeybees feed a baby bee to make it a queen bee.
Just a few of the commonly associated benefits of royal jelly include, More energy, Weight Loss or weight control, Healthier skin and hair, More youthful appearance, Strengthened immune system, Improved Reproductive health, greater resistance to colds and flu and many other health benefits.
Remember your help in reaching our goal is going to help promote urban beekeeping and local food production
It takes about 5 pounds of honey consumed by the bees for them to produce 1 pound of wax
Over winter there may be as few as 4000 bees but during peak season there could be 80,000 or more
If honeybees disappear 2/3 of the citrus, all of the watermelons, bluberries, strawberries, pecans and beans would also disappear!
We would also lose, beeswax, Honey, products made with honey, bee pollen, propolis, royal jelly, food additives, even most of our cosmetic products are all dependent on honeybees for either beeswax, honey, royal jelly, and propolis!.
Bees make more colonies by a process called swarming. When the hive begins to get too crowded either because there is a lot of bees, or they are too good at storing honey, the hive begins to become agitated and forces the queen into the lower part of the hive. Nurse bees then start nurturing some of the 2 to 3 day old larvae feeding them royal jelly to create new queens. Then before the new queens emerge, the old queen leaves the hive with about half of the hive and goes to find a new home to start another hive.
On average a top bar hive can make about 60-80 lbs of excess honey a year. This is because in a top bar hive the honey comb is removed wax and all, and typically harvested via crush and strain. This means that the bees have to make new wax every year.
A Langstroth hive (what is usually seen) can produce greater than 100 lbs a year. This is because when the honey is harvested the wax cappings are cut off the comb and the honey is spun out of the frames, then given back to the bees to clean up and store more honey into.
To make a new queen, the nurse bees choose larvae that are 3 days old or younger and begin feeding them copious amounts or nutrient rich royal jelly, they also enlarge the cell that the queen larvae is growing in till it looks something like a peanut. While the queen bee is the largest bee in the colony, she hatches out after the least amount of days. Queens hatch in just 16 days, workers hatch in 21 days and drones in 24 days
The answer to this question depends on the class of bee.
Worker bees are sterile females and literally work themselves to death. They have the shortest lifespan of only around 45 days. During the winter a worker bee may live 3-4 months because they are not out as often expending energy searching for pollen and nectar.
Drones are stingless and male. They do no work and only live to mate with a virgin queen. They are totally cared for by the worker bees until winter comes when they are forcibly removed from the hive to die in the elements.
Queen bees are the heart and soul of the hive and live to lay eggs. They are totally dependent on the attendant worker bees for all their needs. A queen can live for 5 years or more! Although many beekeepers replace their queens annually to keep brood production up.
During peak nectar flow season a queen bee may lay more than 2000 eggs a day! She regulates colony growth and during the winter months does not lay eggs, or lays very few eggs to replace bees that die due to weather conditions.
Royal jelly is the nutrient rich food that is fed to larvae that are intended to be queen bees. In order to harvest the royal jelly, a queenless hive is first created by taking some bees and a couple of frames of bee eggs and brood and making a new temporary hive. The bees will turn several 3 day old larvae into potential queens and begin feeding them copious amounts of royal jelly. Now that you have cells with potential queen larvae and lots of royal jelly in them, you can easily harvest some of the royal jelly by gently pushing the larvae to one side of the cell or removing it altogether while you then take a syringe or pipette and remove some of the royal jelly. the larvae can then be placed back into the cell to continue growing into a new queen bee.
Royal jelly is highly perishable so it needs to be refrigerated immediately or have honey added to preserve it.
Sadly in the commercial production of royal jelly many thousands (more likely) of queen larvae are killed.
Backyard beekeepers producing royal jelly should do so using humane methods that do not involve the killing of the queen larvae. One more reason to promote backyard beekeeping!
* The scientific name for honeybee; apis
mellifera is incorrect. In 1758, Linnaeus,
in error, categorized the honeybee as apis
mellifera, meaning 'honey-carrying bee',
which implied that bees merely carried honey
from flowers to comb. In 1761 Linnaeus's
brother who was a beekeeper, spotted the
mistake and proposed to have the name
changed to apis mellifica, meaning 'honey-
making bee'. But according to the
international rules, the earlier name
had to be maintained.
The Hive: The Story of the Honeybee and Us
By Bee Wilson
2007 - Page 146
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