Thursday, April 16, 2015

Boy meets swarm

This fond memory came from one of our customers who grew up on a farm in northern Minnesota.

The young boy and his Dad were out in the field one fine spring day when they came upon a tree with a honeybee swarm high up on a limb. His Dad promptly went for a ladder and climbed up to saw off the branch. Watching with nervous curiosity to see what would happen next, his Dad tied a rope to the end of it, sawed it off and carefully lowered it down. Grabbing the branch, his Dad handed the end to his son and told him to take it to the bee box nearby. Scared but obedient, he took the limb and walked it to the box. His Dad then said, “Shake it gently on top of the box.” And so he did. Immediately and to his surprise, all the bees flew into the hive!

Do you know why? All of the bees in the colony followed the queen; she knew where she needed to go. The queen puts out a pheromone (chemical secretion) that communicates to the others her movements, and they loyally follow her.

Our customer learned that, if you are careful around them and do not put the bees in a defensive position, bee swarms are not to be feared. To this day, he realizes what an amazing, rare experience he shared with his Dad.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Spring allergies appearing early this year...

The early spring thaw is wreaking havoc for some allergy sufferers. Ground molds may be one source of the problem; exposed, dried plant materials and pollens may be another. While no medical claims have been made about treating plant allergies with honey, there is certainly a lot of anecdotal evidence that tells us honey helps minimize the effects. We hear it from customers on a regular basis.

The theory is - raw, local honey contains beneficial properties that contribute to improved immune functioning.

Bits of pollen found in the honey help build immunity specifically against regional native plant pollens. This explains why allergy sufferers specifically come in asking for raw local honey; they eat honey every day to address this regional ailment.

In addition to raw honey, many allergy sufferers ask for bee pollen. Bee pollen is actually harvested from the bees’ little legs as they crawl into the hive. Beekeepers have a system to collect pollen using little brushes and trays at the entrance to the hive. Allergy sufferers tell us they ingest pollen slowly into their diets - in smoothies, yogurts, cereal and the like - to increasingly build immunity. This doesn’t eliminate the allergy, but it can significantly reduce the intensity of the symptoms. As always, check with your medical provider before adding pollen to your diet. (Another side benefit of pollen - it's a good source for protein.)

If you’re looking for the benefits of both raw honey and bee pollen, check out our Pollen-Fortified Meadow Wildflower Honey. It’s a seasonal offering just in time for allergy season!