This is an excellent introduction to the fraud that is being perpetrated on the American consumer. The documentaries she mentions are all excellent. It is sad that dedicated local and national beekeepers are having their market crushed by shoddy and unscrupulous imports.
Germany is the highest consumers of honey per capita in the world and culturally they are serious about honey. This is why they are at the forefront of testing for adulterations and shenanigans of honey. Why can’t we protect our food supply, especially where honey is concerned? Beekeepers are just to nice, perhaps we should learn from our bees who are now in winter mode and bee-nasty!
People love to ask questions when they find out that we started keeping bees. One of the most common questions is, “When will you start selling honey?” That question is usually followed by the comment, “Local honey is really expensive. You can make a lot of money.” In our part of the Midwest, local honey sells for anywhere between $8 and $12 for a 1 pound bottle, and those prices are typically set by hobby beekeepers who sell mostly at places like farmers markets. If you read my previous blog post, you will know that hobby beekeepers aren’t getting rich on their honey. The question that people should be asking is, “Why is the grocery store honey so cheap?” The answer to that question will probably shock you.
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Sue Hubbel, wrote the two books that inspired me to get into beekeeping. “A Country Year” re-lit my childhood interested in bees, and the “A Book of Bees” gave me bee-fever. Her book “A Country Year” is up there with “A Year in Provence” by Peter Mayle and “We Took to the Woods” by Louise Dickinson Rich for exploring a new beginning in an alien culture and marks her journey from heartbreak back to a self-sufficient person.
I re-read both books on my summer vacation in the Wilds of Maine, which was the perfect place to explore some of the questions she asks about nature and people. I walked the roads and edge of the lake looking for the various flora an fauna that s native to where I was. It was perfect and reminded me of where the growth of my wanting to keep bees came from.
Hubbel’s choices in running a business with true husbandry inspire me. Her choices to simplify and standardize her equipment, and thinking about the what she has time for and having to prep for her busy harvest times showed real grit. I so admire her always showing measured care of her bees, but not coddling a laying-worker hive (i.e., no time for dither, shake out, combine hive resources, and bye!).
I mourn the loss of Sue Hubbell’s voice and wish there were more books ob beekeeping. I wonder who she read, her reading list would be fascinating to me. She passed away in Bar Harbour, Maine, I wished I’d know that she was there. I would have loved to have met her. I will have to settle for listening to her voice through her books. Her wry humor will be missed.
This is the sterilized version of how honey is made… I was always told not to tell people bugs make honey, better that they just think bear love honey. Making honey is work for both the busy-bees and the beekeeper.
Streamlined to the ultimate for functional performance the earthworm blindly eats his way, riddling and honeycombing the ground to a depth of ten feet or more as he swallows.
~Anatomy Underfoot, J.-J. Condue
I am not an expert, so this is more “In My Humble Opinion”, and is meant as advice from a layperson. As with all insect bites, it is essential to keep calm. Treat a bee sting as follows:
1. Remove stinger
In a bee sting, the stinger remains stuck in the skin. This must be removed as soon as possible. The longer the stinger is stuck in the skin, the more poison is pumped into the body from the attached venom sack. Remove the stinger with your fingernail or with the help of tweezers.
2. Do NOT suck the bee venom with your mouth!
The sting should never be sucked out with the mouth, as the poison then gets on the tongue and passes through the mucous membranes faster into the body.
3. Which body part is affected?
If the mouth, throat or neck (also externally) are affected, a doctor should be consulted immediately as the swelling may affect the air supply. Until the doctor arrives, it is important to keep calm and to cool the bee sting, for example, by sucking ice cubes.
4. If an allergy to bee stings is known or does an allergic reaction occur?
Some people are allergic to bee stings. In this case, symptoms such as nausea, headache, drop in blood pressure, large-scale skin reactions and respiratory distress to an allergic shock occur. This could be an anaphylactic reaction and could be life-threatening. In this case, Call-911 immediately! And seek emergency medical assistance ASAP, such as going to an Emergency Room (ER). Insect allergy sufferers should always carry an emergency kit with them that has been prescribed by a doctor.
5. Check the injection site
If no allergy is known or is occurring, there is less of a need to hurry. Examine the puncture site with a magnifying glass: Is there no sting? Then it is most likely not a bee, but a wasp sting. Wasp stings treatment is similar, although there is no stinger to remove. However, a wasp can sting multiple locations so the pain and effect may be more serious.
6. Symptoms, and cool the sting site
The puncture site of the bee sting should be disinfected, preferably with a disinfectant spray from the medicine chest. Then cool the bee sting with ice cubes or a cold-pack. This relieves the pain and helps against the swelling. Apply a gel with an antihistamine to cool and soothe the itching. For moderately severe symptoms, treat the inflamed bee sting with a low-dose hydrocortisone preparation that relieves pain and swelling and can be used in children 6 years of age or older.
7. When must a doctor be consulted?
If after 2-3 days no significant improvement has occurred, then you should consult a doctor.
Here are a number of other information sources for quick reference:
There are a number of antidotal treatments for bee stings using herbs, weeds, and poultices which I might cover in the future. Plantain-weed can be used to cool a sting site and sooth the pain; I personally think this was more to distract children from the pain to look for the weed. For me personally, the pain dissipates in a few minutes.
Happy Beekeeping, and avoid getting stung.
The tone of this article is satirical with content that is serious, informative, and thought-provoking. Also, the comment section is well worth a read because it does spawn a fair discussion. My personal feeling is that small-scale beekeepers produce an ecologically balanced product, with an understanding of metaphysics that are personal, local, and with a touch of love. Following doctrine blindly is not useful because we all, I hope, want to use our natural intelligence, wisdom, and right thinking morality to have our existence be a positive to the world.
Product of abuse?
I have a vegan acquaintance. He is a mild, considerate, and generally pleasant young man. He thinks that beekeeping is cruel and inhumane. He tells me that honey-eating encourages theft and the abuse, imprisonment and exploitation of insects. “Tell me more,” I said.
Vegans, my friend told me, feel that if you eat honey, you harm the environment and you injure your health. I think that my friend and others like him make these false statements because they don’t know how honey is made nor how bees are kept. Such narrow thoughts give reasonable vegetarians a bad name. Much misinformation is rooted in an almost cult-like adherence to dogma created by the revered Donald Watson, founder of the vegan movement.
Godlike, Don Watson leads the way
Defenseless and dead
75 years ago, Don Watson invented the word Vegan and constructed much of the philosophy that…
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