Thursday, July 26, 2012

We Have Honey!

    We have harvested honey from our hard working bees and now have honey ready to sale. Now, we know beekeepers that claim and swear their honey is the best they ever tasted. We can't speak to all those claims but we can say the honey we have this year is the best WE have ever tasted, and we have tried all kinds. Bar none, in our humble opinion, compares to our honey this season .

      So here are the details:

    One pound jars, honey                             $9.00
    One pound jars, honey with comb        $10.00
    Eight ounce jars                                       $4.50
    Eight ounce jars honey with comb         $5.00

    We will be happy to ship our premium honey anywhere in the U.S. Just shoot us an email us telling how much you want so we can calculate the shipping costs and let you know. We will make arrangements then on payment details.
    Depending on where you live in the state, we might be able to arrange for other delivery methods.  
            If you are interested in purchasing or have questions about our honey please send us an email-

Thanks for visiting B&E's Bees!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Balm Those Kissable Lips!
Beeswax is used and has been used throughout centuries as a main ingredient for soaps, lotions, lip balms and, well, so many other products. Though we use many of these very items in our everyday lives, lip balm seem a particular necessity these days. In the winter our lips get chapped from the cold, blustery winds and in the summer we use it to protect our lips from the hot, damaging rays of the sun.
You can purchase lip balm almost anywhere and you can find really good brands - some expensive and some cheap. I think the kind of lip balm that includes beeswax as an ingredient is the best by far.  Since I have quite a bit of good, clean beeswax on hand it seems wasteful to me to purchase the "store-bought" kind of lip balm. Making lip balm seems a really fun project and I'm figuring that it can't be too difficult.
Using very few ingredients might be the best course and, for me, this is one of those "less is more" kind of deal. I don't want this to be a full-blown science experiment…I’m just wantin' to keep it very simple. If it's too difficult to make, then who would want to make it again? Not me! So, after scouring a few internet sites and researching recipes in my "how-to" books, it appears easy enough. I will just try to combine a recipe or two and come up with one really outstanding homemade lip balm. Well, at least, that's the plan.
                             I'm thinking that starting out, making a very small batch at a time would be a good idea - that way, if it bombs, I can always tweak the ingredients, start over, and not waste precious beeswax. If it turns out to be a terrific recipe, then I'm meltin' down all the wax I have and I’m sellin' this stuff!
Basic Ingredients:
1 teaspoon grated beeswax - melted
2 teaspoons coconut oil - melted
2 drops of essential oil (peppermint, lemon, orange) I think this step could be optional
1 teaspoon honey
Stir all ingredients and pour into a container. Let cool and harden before using.
In searching through some recipes I noticed that if you wanted to add a hint of color to your lip balm, all you had to do is use a bit of a favorite lipstick. Don't use really old lipstick - one that has gone rank. Why, that would be the same thing as using old or outdated shortening or lard when making biscuits! I have to fess up...I'm terrible for keeping lipsticks for years and “they” say you’re NOT  supposed to do that! Secretly, I think I just like the pretty cases. Anyway, I will continue this experiment and make some additional samples. While I am at it, I might just make some "lotion bars". Those are supposed to be so good for your skin.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Busy Bees Life

Look closely...can you see her? One of our bees gathering white dutch clover nectar.
   We are fascinated by the life of a honey bee. There really is no other creature in the animal kingdom that has adapted the social and life cycle like the honey bee. We enjoy the wonderful benefit of their sweet food supply as a result of their behavior and success. The social order and organization of bees has been developed to the point of extreme efficiency. It's been said that a bee will gather one twelfth of a teaspoon of nectar during it's lifetime. 
The entrance of a hive is like an airport with departures and arrivals all day long and TSA-like agents checking arrivals to make sure they belong to the hive.  In a strong hive would-be intruders, usually robber-bees from another hive, are turned away.
    A bee will live 35-45 days and during that time will do nearly every task required to keep the hive going. From the time a bee emerges from the protective wax cell she (all worker bees are female) will undertake a variety of tasks beginning with feeding newly hatched larvae and future sisters, to wax building, honey manufacture, guard duty and finally and the last job of their life is a field worker. These are the ones that fly to and fro from the hive to the nectar-bearing plants. When you think about it, leaving the hive going out into the world is dangerous business.  Calamities of all types await the little flyers. Predatory insects, lawn mowers, pesticides, dragon flies, birds, and dozens more insects all await the little worker. And don't forget sudden changes in weather such as rain. 
    The bee is effective because of their sheer numbers. A good egg laying queen, during peak spring honey flow, will lay perhaps a 1000-1500 eggs a day!  In just 21 days that will be another 1000- 1500 bees added to the colony. Of course, nearly that many are dying off each day as well. But a healthy colony will have perhaps fifty to a hundred thousand bees on any given day.
    This time of year the Dutch white clover is the best source of nectar for the bees of central Kentucky.  In the early spring honey locust is the finest source of nectar in our neck of the woods.  But as the summer rolls on, fewer nectar producing flowers suitable to honey bees are available. 
Our honey comes in two sizes presently, one pound jars: $9.00 without comb;  $10.00 with comb, and in eight ounce jars without comb only: $5.00
    Since this is our first year of operation we have limited supplies available. We expect to harvest more honey in the next couple of weeks. Most of this honey will be from the clover. We harvested some very light honey (from the honey locust tree) with the comb a couple of weeks ago and those supplies have just about sold out. We still have a few eight ounce jars left. We will post when the next supplies are available.

    If you are interested in purchasing or have questions about our honey please send us an email- We will be happy to ship anywhere in the U.S. at this time. Shipping charges will be calculated for your review before we complete the order. If your are in the central Ky area, we can make arrangements to deliver your honey.

Thanks for visiting B&E's Bees!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

What in the Bee's Wax is Going On??

Beautifully golden in color, it is one of nature’s perfect products…

Did you know...that throughout history in Europe people actually paid their taxes with beeswax ? I am not so sure that Uncle Sam would let us do that now but if he did, why, everyone would be raising bees!  Let me tell you something else while I'm at it...beeswax  makes the   finest candlesbecause the wax is so pure and burns so clean. The Catholic churches (and maybe other churches) burned them forcenturies because of that very reason.
In our working with the bees, after we rob them and harvest the honey the beeswax remains. When I was a child, chewing wax with globs of honey still attached was a HUGE TREAT. For children with very little pocket money, it was the BEST!
     Sometimes we like to leave the wax for the bees but sometimes I like to find ways to use it. Before I can re-purpose the wax it must be cleaned. There are  impurities in that sweet golden mess and throughout the process of being cleaned or washed you will be able to see just how dirty the wax really is. 

Kind of looks like fried bacon!
I can tell you one thing, I was downright surprised at how much debris is embedded in the wax. Nothing toxic, it just looks like something I would not want to eat. For all I know, it might be absolutely delicious but I won't be trying it just yet. Oh wait! Come to think of it, if I eat honeycomb in its natural state - and I do - then I am ingesting this stuff. Has it made me sick? Nope. Absolutely not.

It's actually a very simple process to clean beeswax. Grab an old crock pot and fill halfway with warm water. Place the beeswax into the pot and heat with the lowest temperature. After the wax has melted (remember, it's a crock pot so it will take a bit of time) the impurities just sink to the bottom and the clean wax will float. Unplug the crock pot and let the wax cool completely.
When the wax is cool to the touch, remove it and pour off the dirty water. Hey, don't pour this stuff down your sink! Pitch it outside on the ground.
If you see brown spots on the hardened wax it will need to be cleaned once more so repeat the process.
Once you have done that - what do you have to show for it?
Cakes of clean & bee-u-ti-ful golden wax!
You may ask..."Beeswax? So what! Whatcha gonna do with it now that you got it?"
Well, just you wait and see!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Homemade Biscuits

Once you get the hang of making homemade biscuits you can   whipthese out just about as fast as you can Whop and pop canned biscuits. This is a tried-and-true generational recipe. Standing next to my mom and grandmother in the kitchen while watching carefully, I learned to make these. Like them, I don't measure my ingredients's a "you just know" how-it-will-turn-out recipe and it's a recipe meant to be shared and passed along.

2 cups self-rising flour
I only use White Lily flour because it is what my Mom and Grandma Hall always used so why mess with a good thing and I would hate to cause Grandma to spin in her grave.

1/4 cup shortening or lard (really and truly...lard is BEST)

Cut shortening into flour using a pastry cutter until flour looks like corn meal.

1 cup of  buttermilk or sweet milk (sweet milk is just another name for regular milk for you modern folks). If you don't have buttermilk just add 1or 2 T. lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of milk to substitute). Most recipes call for 3/4 cup milk in the recipe but I always use one cup because the biscuits are just, well, better!

Add buttermilk and stir gently into flour mixture.

Tip: Don't over-stir
- it'll make your biscuits tough. Dump the biscuit mixture onto a lightly floured surface and carefullly work the dough so it's covered in flour. Tip: Here's where most mess up when making biscuits...they knead the dough like they are making a loaf of bread. Lord have mercy, don't do that! Who wants to eat rocks? Just turn the dough enough into the flour so it's not a sticky mess.

Gently flatten the dough with your hands so it's about 3/4" thick and cut with a biscuit cutter. I usually just pinch the dough into a ball and

flatten it out in the pan with my hands but even I have to admit cutting with a biscuit cutter looks better on camera.
Place in a well-greased pan or cast iron skillet.

Bake in a 450 degree oven until they are golden brown - about 15 or so minutes.

Nothin' better than homemade biscuits, butter and HONEY
and maybe a big ole glass of sweet iced tea to wash it all down

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Let the Nectar Flow

Wild Plum

    This spring has been a great one with plenty of flowers and nectar. Early in our area of central Kentucky henbit was in abundance. The honey locust trees produced an outstanding crop of blooms as well as the tulip poplar and in our specific location wild plums seemed to be an attraction for our bees. But now the big ticket item for the bees is the overwhelming amount of clover this year. Fields are covered with the white Dutch clover which is a favorite of bees and produces some very nice honey.
    I just checked on a hive that we thought would swarm this spring and found the honey super I just put on a couple of weeks ago is nearly full! I plan to add another super in the next couple of days. With such a large population of bees in this particular hive we thought for sure they would swarm but they are generously expanding their stores so we will be in for a treat in a few weeks. We will rob (remove ) extra stores of honey but leave plenty for the winter months.
Large field of Henbit this spring. 
    The clover as noted is abundant and very large  this season. With plenty of spring rain and those amazing weeks of summer like weather throughout April and much of March has created a great nectar crop this year.  The warm days in March allowed the bees to collect nectar and pollen from those early blooming shrubs.One of the earliest flower plants in this region is a little plant that may go unnoticed until we see a complete field covered with the plant. It is called henbit and is absolutely a favorite for the bees to first begin collecting from in the early spring.
     As we move through the summer we expect the nectar flow to slow some and then pick up again this fall when the goldenrod blooms.
    Of course the famous dandelion, the scourge to all the yard people, provides a very excellent source of pollen and nectar for the bees emerging from their winter  period. They simply love the dandelion and we do not treat our lawn with chemicals or sprays and celebrate the arrival of the dandelion! Probably in a neighbor hood that folks pride in the lush chem-lawn, uniform, deep green look of the grass, we likely would be considered low quality neighbors. I hope to live to see the day that people, though they may have to mow their lawns and we do,  will embrace the dramatic changes in the types of flowering plants that will establish themselves.

Dandelion from ground level

Henbit view from ground level

    From what we here from other bee keepers in our area this has been a tremendous spring for nectar and pollen. With the very mild, even summer like weather all spring, the bees have had plenty of opportunity to forage the country side. And as shown above fields that produced last year's crop of soy beans, corn or whatever, provided a great opportunity for the henbit to be abundant in the cooler days of early spring.
    The clover has come into full blossom and our bees seem quite busy working the fields. Everyone says there is an amazing amount of clover in their fields and lawns. We like that of course because that means plenty of nectar which means plenty of honey.
    Our hives are doing well and we expect to expand next season by several more if things go well during the winter months.

    Bees will collect both nectar and pollen for food supplies to last them through the winter months. They need both for survival and good health.  Each worker bee has different jobs throughout its life span of 35-45 days! Yes, within 45 days all the bees in a colony, except the queen, will have been replaced by new bees. The queen can live and continue to be a productive egg layer for perhaps three years. Now those bees that are in the hive when winter arrives will live longer than kinfolk from the summer. They will survive all the months of the winter until the weather warms and the queen starts laying eggs again.
    Some bees work as nursery workers, comb builders, guards and foragers, the ones we see flying in and out of the hive. Every bee, according to the experts, does every one of these job duties throughout their live span beginning with attending to and feeding the new larvae in the hive to finally traveling out of the hive collecting nectar and pollen. That is the last job the work will do in their life and, of course, is the most hazardous duty as well.
    We expect to harvest some honey in a few weeks and we'll let you know when we have it available. Thanks for stopping by our site and hope you enjoy the posts.

Monday, May 14, 2012

    Welcome to B and E's Bees blog site. We are new bee keepers and honey producers. Well, actually our bee buddies produce the honey and do all the heavy lifting work. We take care of their hives, feed  and care for them in the rough times and share in their bounty in the good times. Our bees make a light and very mild tasting honey. We believe it is due to the honey locust and dutch white clover which make up a large part of the nectar in our area. 
  We are new to bee keeping and really have limited experience but hopefully will have good fortune with us as we start up production this fall. Currently we are in the establishing and expansion phase of our apiary and expect to expand over the next two years to full production of this very fine and light honey.
One of our hives
  This blog site will keep visitors up to date on our activities and availability of honey. We hope to add photos and videos of our adventures in the near future. So check back often. Thanks for stopping by!