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Honey: The Super Skin Food

Naturally delicious is just the tip of the iceberg. Honey is a unique super food that can be used in so many applications. Specifically, as an amazing skin treatment and by tweaking the recipes, you can have a honey salve that works for any skin type and just about any skin situation.

  • Acne Treatment – apply and let sit for 10-15 minutes, then rinse.
  • Bath Soak – add a couple of tablespoons to warm water and add to your bath to help moisturize. Honey also helps with eczema.
  • Exfoliant – add to baking soda and a splash of water, apply to skin in circular motions and rinse.
  • Shampoo Booster – add honey to your shampoo to help regulate moisture and strengthen hair follicles.

I’ll continue to add special recipes and tips to use honey in your daily life so stay tuned for more Honey Maker and Market Tips in our blog!

 

Hive Maintenance – Sanitation

Keeping your hives clean is the start to a healthy, productive apiary. This aids in the biosecurity of the hive and promotes overall health for your honey bee friends.

Methods:

  • Brood Comb Culling – Honeycomb is very absorbent and can hold chemical residues over time. Removing old comb and replacing it with fresh, new comb can increase overall colony health. This can be done on a 5 year rotation being careful not to remove too many frames in one colony at a time. You want to help the bees, not set them back.
  • Hive Location – Keeping your hives in sunny locations and away from Northern exposure can help the bees regulate temperatures as well as humidity levels to maintain a clean hive.
  • Sanitizing tools – Keeping tools isolated to each apiary in order to isolate any diseases from being transmitted from apiary to apiary or hive to hive is a good practice and can help keep your hives healthier overall.

These are the three main methods for keeping a clean operation and helping your bees to be more productive and healthier.

Brood Recognition Pheromone

A pheromone is a chemical that an animal or an insect produces with the aim of changing the behavior of another of the same species. In honey bee, the brood is entirely dependent on the protection accorded by the bee nurses. The absence of workers and more so nurse care result in brood diminish. Thus, larval needs for food or warmth, as well as their age, need to be recognized by nurses, while the workers have to allocate energy to fulfill these requirements.

Brood recognition pheromone is produced by both larvae and pupae. The pheromone is a complex mixture of compounds that act both as primer and releaser hormone. The brood pheromone is a blend of 10 fatty-acid esters. These components also modulate adult caste ratios and foraging ontogeny dependent on its concentration. The distribution of the constituents changes with the larva’s age, the degree of hunger, and needs. Brood Pheromone from young larvae screams for them to be fed while from pupae it begs for workers to cap them over.

The primary function of brood pheromone is to prevent worker bees from bearing offspring in a bee community that has developing young bees. Brood recognition pheromone inhibits ovarian development in workers and assists nurse bees differentiate worker larvae from drone larvae and pupae.

Brood pheromone is secreted by larval salivary glands, besides secretion of silk which is necessary for developing pupal cocoon. The composition of the pheromone produced varies by the larval age and the function of the caste. The brood pheromone treatment increases the brood area and augments the number of bees as well as the larger amount of extractable protein from hypopharyngeal glands thus indicating an improved nutritional environment.

Besides the effects on larval development, Brood pheromone causes an expansion in bee community augmentation also through a regulation of worker bee behavioral development. The treatment of colonies with brood pheromone caused an increased number of pollen foragers and augmented the weight of pollen load they transport. Furthermore, pollen intake is adjusted by brood pheromone by modifying the proportion of pollen to no pollen foragers. Treatment with brood pheromone remarkably decreased pollen forager reversal time in the hive, adjusting the ratio of pollen to non-pollen foragers entering the colony.

Through brood recognition pheromone, young larvae can allocate priority to the duty of foraging by workers to increase food stores for their growth. Hence, in the complication of honey bee chemical conveyance, E-β-ocimene, a pheromone of young larvae, gives the brood the means to convey their nutritional needs to the workers.

Black Queen Cell Virus

Black Queen Cell Virus is a viral honey bee’s disease that mainly infects the queen bee larvae. This deadly disease is caused by Cripavirus genus from the Dicistroviridae virus family. The virus, which can also affect drones and workers, can be detected through polymerase chain reaction. BQVC is usually common during spring and extends to early summer. Interestingly, BQCV causes dead queen larvae to turn a pale yellow color, darken then turn from brown to black. The virus kills queen bee larvae progressively with each development stage.

How it spreads

The Black Queen Virus is mainly transmitted through a microsporidian parasite called Nosema Apis.The lethal virus can remain in dead queen larvae, honey and pollen for about 4 weeks. This can trigger further spreading of the virus particularly when nurse bees feed the brood with infected food. Migrating colonies can also cause transmission of the virus from one beehive to another. BQCV can also be transmitted through beekeeping equipment and water. Unsurprisingly, Varroa infestations are also credited for transmission of this virus. Unfortunately, there are no known vaccinations or medications that can eradicate this virus after infiltrating any beehive.

Symptoms of BQCV

The infested queen larvae may show the following symptoms;

  • Dark brown or black wall patches in queen larvae
  • Pupae/queen larvae turn light yellow
  • Death of queen bee larvae after capping

Prevention of BQCV

There are several ways beekeepers can protect their honey bee colonies from BQCV.These preventive strategies include;

  1. Proper Nutrition

Beekeepers should prioritize on ensuring that their colonies are well-fed at all times. The key to a stronger and healthier hive lies in feeding your bees with proper nutrition. Colonies which are appropriately fed and maintained tend to be less susceptible to infectious parasites and diseases such as BQCV.

  1. Hive and other beekeeping equipment hygiene

Sanitization of beehives and other beekeeping equipment can help prevent infectious diseases such as BQCV among other viruses. Beekeepers take solid preventative measures against this deadly virus by using sanitized equipment and maintaining regular hive monitoring protocols.

  1. Strategic Hive placement

The Black Queen Cell Virus disease is common in spring and early summer. Beekeepers should think of placing their hives in strategic locations during colder and warm seasons to prevent the spread of BQCV.Hives should be placed in sunlight infiltrated areas during colder months.

Other BQCV preventative measures include; regular rotation of combs, promoting BQCV symptoms awareness and use of antibiotics such as oxytetracycline hydrochloride and fumagillin among others.

Making Beautiful Wax

Honey bees produce wax from glands in their body which is absolutely awesome. Bees of a certain age (12-20 days old) have 8 wax producing glands on the abdominal segments of their body. Wax is made primarily of esters of fatty acids and various long-chain alcohols.

Wax can be used for so many different things – from cosmetics, furniture care, waterproofing, candles, and more. So, if you are interested in making beautiful wax to either sell for people to make these products or to store for yourself, you want to start with filtered wax that has been rendered from the comb or wax cappings.

I spent some time watching YouTube videos and looking up tips and tricks for rendering beautiful wax. This lady has all the facts and is obviously good at this since she also wins all the awards so, without further ado, check out this video on how to make premium wax from your backyard bees.