Does honey really help with allergies?

The short answer is yes.  But understanding what you are buying when you grab a jar of honey is vital to knowing if it will work or not.

First – is it RAW?  This means that it has not been heated above 110 degrees.  Some beekeepers heat their honey so they can move it faster through filters, and for bottling.  It is important to ask your beekeeper if they heat their honey. Honey that is raw will still contain all the living enzymes needed to protect your body from a histamine overdose.

Second – is it LOCAL?  In order to understand whether the honey you are buying is local or not you need to know where the bees reside.  You need to ask the beekeeper where their bees are.  They may live in Dallas and keep bees 100 miles outside to the east.  That same beekeeper may be selling their honey in Fort Wort to a customer who lives on the west side of the metroplex.  The issue is not the miles between the two locations – it is more about the plants that grow where the bees are versus where the customer lives.  You want to buy honey from bees that are working the same plants as where you live.  This ensures that the pollen in the honey will be the same pollen you are reacting to in your home area and will help fight the reaction. 

Bottom line – if you find local honey in an area that has plants similar to where you live, you can expect to feel benefits from it.  In some areas of Texas the same plants are grown for hundreds of miles, so that would all be local to people living in the same area.  It is not about the town or number of miles away.

The other important thing to consider is when the honey was harvested.  If you have spring allergies you want spring honey, and if you have fall allergies you want fall honey.  So this is another question to ask your beekeepers.

There have been reports though, that taking any raw honey every day will build your immune system and help with allergies.  So no matter where you live, what you are allergic to, there is a benefit to finding a beekeeper, getting their honey and taking a teaspoon or so every day!

Beekeeping Fun

Family working together to get everything loaded (except for Peter)

So about a week ago the men in our family headed out to help a friend split his hives. They loaded up some empty boxes and headed out.

Jacob learning to drive a fork lift

This is the second year they have done this and they love it despite the exhausting days!!

Hanging out with a bunch of bees!

They split hives, requeened every one and moved them between bee yards. Exhausting work, but a great time to learn and earn some honeybees!

Beekeeping : Native Bees

(Reprinted from ETBA Newsletter)

Native Bees

by Peter Cole

(Advanced Master Beekeeper & Master Gardener)

While most months I focus on our beloved honey bee, this month I am going to focus several equally important native bees. There might be a variety of reasons why we cannot keep bees in a specific location, however understanding these native bees gives us another option as beekeepers to invite these pollinators into a space.  Bumble Bees, Carpenter bees, and Mason bees are all important to our native habitats.  

bumble bee
Bumble  Bee

Bumble bees are a large, hairy and social bee and while only nine live in Texas there are over a hundred found all over the U.S. They nest under ground in already empty cavities. 

 

Another native bee is the carpenter bee. This bee is similar to the Bumble bee, except the abdomen does not have any hair on it, it is shiny and yellow. Bumble bees are probably the most like honey bees of all the native bees. They have a hive, with the same castes as honey bees-Queen, Worker, and Drone. While they collect pollen and nectar, and will make and store honey for a dearth. 

 

Carpenter bee
Carpenter Bee

Large Carpenter bees are very similar to bumble bees however, Bumble bees are hairy all over, while carpenter bees have a shiny black abdomen. Then the similarities stop. Carpenter bees are not ground nesting, or social. Instead Carpenter bees burrow into wood, and lay eggs.  Since they burrow into wood they could be considered nuisance bees, however they are just as important as all of the other native bees found in Texas. 

mason bee
Mason Bees

Mason bees are the third and last of the native bees I am going to talk about. Mason bees are solitary, and nest in already existing cavities in wood, trees, or hollow hollow stems. Mason bees are excellent pollinators of fruit trees, collecting pollen and nectar to store for their brood. While they are solitary and won’t nest together, they often congregate meaning they build their nests close. 

mason bee huve
Mason Bee Hive

 

In conclusion, our native bees are important, and many times they get overlooked. There are many things that you can do to help native bees…