Honey and the Unhappy Bees
Our hives were getting honey bound, so we pulled a couple frames of honey today. Leaving the hives a bit unhappy and confused. Lucky for us, they gladly make more.
So nutritious…if you haven’t tried them yet, please stop by one of our farmers markets for a tasting. You won’t believe what you’ve been missing if you don’t at least give them a try. Since they haven’t expended all their energy on building leaves and roots, all the nutritional benefits are packed into their tiny stem and cotyledons. You can eat just a few and get the benefits of it’s full size counterpart. Recent studies have shown positive results that they are nutritional powerhouses. Spinkle a few on your salad and sandwich and you will be amazed at their great fresh taste.
We generally have sunflower, china rose radish, broccoli, kale and wheat grass along with others that we rotate out like onion, fenugreek, red clover, alfalfa, buckwheat, barley, pea tendrils, and more. All chemical-free from organic, pathogen tested seeds.
The Lee County Beekeepers Association held a free workshop at our farm for members of the FSBA (Florida State Beekeepers Association) on how to prepare your hives for the winter and store you gear without being invaded by the wax moths that can do 100s of dollars of damage to your boxes, frames and foundations.
This weekend was all about the european honey bees at the 94th Annual Florida State Beekeepers Association Conference hosted by the Palm Beach Beekeepers Assoc in West Palm Beach, FL, who did a fabulous job.
Highlights included Dr. Jamie Ellis kicking off the conference on Friday morning with a presentation on the Honeybee Research at the University of Florida and later going through hives on the roof top apiary.
In between we had lots of commercial beekeepers presenting on pollination (Dave Hackenberg, David Mendes, and Bob Harvey) and queen rearing (Dave Miska), Dr. Wardell on nutrition, some backyarders on Top Bar Hives, Florida bee plants, and so much more. FDACS was well-represented with most of the apiary division there, incl David Westervelt. So much to see and hear, so little time 🙂
Can’t wait to go again next year and I hear it will be hosted by Palm Beach Beekeepers again….keep up the good work!
Organic Beekeeping is using natural and organic practices without the synthetic chemicals as feed and pesticides. Above Tim is using integrated pest management by adding a mixture of apple cider vinegar, vegetable oil and a drop of dish soap to control the hive beetles from becoming a nuisance to the bees in the hive. Although it is marketed as such, there is no such thing as organic honey because the bees can forage for pollen and nectar up to 3 miles away, which may or may not be organic. So if you see it on a honey jar, be aware it’s either ignorance or a marketing ploy. Know your local beekeeper, talk to them and find out what they use (and more importantly don’t use) to keep their bee colonies healthy and strong, in particular during honey flows.
17 foot ladder was needed to get to the top of the center posts for 6’2″ Farmer Tim for installing the endwalls to the structure.
In Florida, a beekeeper is required to register their colonies with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer, Division of Plant Industry in order to be protected by the apiary laws of the state and comply with the BMPs (Best Management Practices). Part of this registration process includes the inspection of your hives for pests and unwanted races of honeybees by a state apiary inspector. Our inspector, Freddy, was one of the nicest people you will meet and full of love for the European honeybees.
Click here for more information about beekeeping in FL, including classes, BMPs, state forms & requirements and professional associations.
GreenView Aquaponics Family Farm and Apiary gets a clean honeybee bill of health.
We had a new Honey Bee ( Apis mellifera ) delivery in the early part of the week from the Bees Choice. Yay! There were some minor delays in getting queens this year due to the massive pesticide incident in California during the end of the pollination of the almond crops. Someone “accidentally” killed 80,000 colonies by tank-mixing pesticides and spraying during the daytime hours while the bees were out foraging. That’s a LOT of bees when you multiply that by 40,000-80,000 per hive. So sad. 1,300 beekeepers suffered losses. This also started the initiatives from the White House to Save the Bees! Without these wonderful pollinators, the United States would be out of food in less that four years!
This brings me back to our little story…in Florida, we have an africanized honey bee drone population for queens to mate with (a no-no), so we have to buy queens from areas that are not yet infiltrated or ones that were artificially inseminated to help dilute this current drone population. The goal is that the more beekeepers we have in Florida that follow the best management practices, the more we can dilute the undesirable traits of the africanized drone population. The beekeepers in most of the southern states have to order queens, in addition to the 1,300 beekeepers that lost their colonies in California, which caused an unexpected high demand and therefore, low supplies and delays. Our queens made a long journey from Hawaii to be with us.
This week, we were at Mote Marine’s Aquaculture Park (sturgeon facility) and ECHO where we made some new friends and met up with the Phil and the crew from Morningstar Fishermen.
The remainder of the week was a clean up week since it’s a holiday weekend – Happy Birthday America!
We’ve added some Resource pages under HOW-TO link in the menu above. Pages that have links are completed, those that do not are planned and we hope to keep adding to these as we go along. Those following us on this blog and Facebook will be the first to know! So, don’t forget to follow us and LIKE us, if you haven’t already.
Currently, we have:
Florida Gardening – planting calendars, guide for herbs, guide for vegetables/fruits, integrated pest identification and options and other useful online resources that we have come across. More coming soon
Florida Beekeeping – calendar of blooming plants, FL BMPs, diseases and pest of the honey bees, beekeeping associations, and other useful online resources that we have come across.
Aquaponics – here we plan to add Q&A type info from the questions we tend to be asked more frequently. Got ?s, let us know. The most specific information on aquaponics will be in the DIY Projects section for those that have attended our classes.
Recipes – here we plan to add recipes for many of the items as we get ready to harvest to allow everyone to see the versatility that heirloom vegetables and fruits can have.
DIY Projects – here we plan to put all the handouts and materials from our various classes. It will be a members-only section, log-in information will be provided at each class.
Still planting and harvesting microgreens (sunflower, radish, broccoli, wheat grass available) and our 3 foot basils (genovese, citrus and thai available). The citrus basil knocks our socks off. It’s really flavorful. Let us know if you want to pop by for an order.
The first annual Mother Earth News Fair in Asheville, NC was just held and what a great turnout they had. Over 15,000 attendees to see workshops and presentations from Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms, who showed how to dress a chicken and Sylvia Bernstein of the Aquaponics Source, who talked about the basics of aquaponics.
Along with lots of booths proudly representing their innovative and sustainable products and services.
Let’s not forget the livestock.
As executive board members of the Aquaponics Association, Meg and Astrid manned a booth for the Aquaponics Association handing out lots of brochures as well as explaining aquaponics with the representative mini aquaponics system on display. The response was phenomenal.
For more information on the remaining Mother Earth News Fairs this year in other parts of the country, see their website. Next is Puyallup WA 5/31-6/1, then Seven Springs, PA 9/12-14
A few hives were donated and everyone was able to participate in going through these hives to check for eggs, queens and hive health.
Interested in learning more about beekeeping?
Check out the Lee County Beekeepers Association