When last we left our backyard beekeepers of Port Clinton (BBPC), the sun was setting earlier, the leaves were gently falling from the trees and the hum of the hive was growing faint.
Fast forward to July and summer and once again, the busy buzz of the bee is bounding about the coastal Port Clinton landscape.
Our beekeepers have spent an industrious winter managing the hives, planning for growth and developing new bee strategies. Honey has already begun to be gathered and consumed and once again, its popularity far outweighs the supply available from the backyard. The beekeepers are growing more adept at knowing where to look for and spot the queen bees and the fear factor has grown as faint as the buzz during a lakeside thunderstorm.
During the colder months, however, the BBPC spent time gathering ideas and information until the time came to gather honey again. One of the additions for this season are nuc boxes or nucleus colony starter hives. These starter hives are used for keeping a swarm of bees, starting a new colony and queen, overcrowding control, storage of spare queens and combining together to build one strong colony which will survive winter in harsher climates.
The main reason for the nucs was to have a suitable place in which to produce new queens for brood rearing. As the nucs are smaller than the average hive, the bees have an easier time of controlling temperature and humidity which is essential for the rearing. If a nuc doesn’t contain a queen but has eggs, the worker bees can produce a queen from one of the eggs. Nucs are also useful in discouraging swarming. In a larger colony, swarming can be a concern. Nucs allow the beekeepers to separate frames from the colony. The frames housing queen cells and the extra bee population form the basis of a new colony. With this population decrease, the urge to swarm diminishes leaving both hives to drone on developing bees, queens and more quality honey, propolis and honeycomb.
One of the side benefits which the beekeepers take advantage of is allergy control. Although there is no scientific evidence of the healing powers of bee pollen, some of the conditions which bee pollen has been noted in relieving are asthma, allergies, skin conditions, chemotherapy side effects, stomach issues, alcoholism as well as general health maintenance.
According to Beth Gilman, backyard beekeeper and co-owner of the Lockwood Honey House, her family is enjoying the benefits of the natural bee byproduct.
“Everyone around here is complaining of cottonwood allergies, I’ve had none this year. No allergy medicine whatsoever. I attribute it to the pollen. I cannot go on enough about what a difference it’s made in allergies.”
Bee pollen is available in health food stores as supplements or in the natural state such as is gathered by beekeepers. Bee pollen contains protein, lipids, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. When looking for bee pollen, make sure not to confuse it with natural honey, bee venom or honeycomb. Also, use common sense; if you have an allergy to bees, bee pollen could cause a serious reaction. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take bee pollen as it not deemed safe.
When taking natural bee pollen, take it as a short-term remedy and make sure it’s been prepared correctly for consumption. Bee pollen needs to be freeze dried, or put in the freezer for at least three days to kill any organisms which may be present. Also, store bee pollen in the refrigerator to prevent botulism. And always consult with your doctor when beginning any new health care regimens.
Another beneficial byproduct is propolis or bee glue, the resinous substance used to build and maintain the hive. Propolis has a range of distinctive coloring from golden brown to black brown and is made up of resinous compounds, balsam, beeswax, pollen, oils and a variety of lesser components. As with bee pollen, care should be taken with propolis, but health benefits are rumored to range from antibacterial and antifungal abilities to immune system assistance.
To find out more information on our friends, the Backyard Beekeepers of Port Clinton, visit http://builtbylove.com where you can find out about products, recipes, health benefits and interesting honey facts through the ages. Honey. Naturally perfect.
My name is Jacquie Galvin from Tampa, FL. I have worked in and out of marketing and editorial services for 20 years and have had numerous articles and short pieces published. I have also been a newsletter editor for the City of Columbus and former editor of the home services division of CompuServe Inc. I have written articles for various small publications for over 20 years. The first book of my Tucker and Reggie mystery series, A Tease of Murder, is in submission for publication and the second one is under construction. Get help with your copywriting needs. mysterystoriesbooksnovels.com for rates and availability
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