Last month, we asked YOU what you would like to know about beekeeping. Thanks for your responses! We then asked our resident beekeeping experts, Danny and Ginette Paradis, to answer the questions in their own words.
This post is part three of our “Ask a Beekeeper” series. If you missed the first or second post, make sure you have a look
Now, it’s time to discover more about bees and beekeeping!
1. Do you feed your bees sugar?
We certainly do!
We feed our bees beet or cane sugar (depends on availability & pricing each year) when preparing them for hibernation. This is what the bees use to stay nourished during the long winter months. We also feed beet or cane sugar in the early spring when they first come out of hibernation as there are not yet floral sources for them to forage. Without this practice, our bees would be long gone to starvation! Our long winters mean long stretches without access to natural floral sources for feed.
That said, as soon as the first floral sources become available, we no longer feed them sugar because:
- it’s expensive and
- We want natural raw honey extracted from our hives for our clients, NOT fake sugar/honey blends that we, unfortunately, see on many shelves.
The first nectar sources for our bees are usually maples, willows and dandelions.
Two varroa destructor mites attach themselves to a honey bee
2. Is your raw honey filtered? Are any of the flowers near crops that are GMO or sprayed? I realize it is difficult to label “organic,” but I just want to know that bees aren’t using flowers from commercial crops.
We do our absolute best to provide the bees with the cleanest floral sources. We work with some excellent farmers who value clean crops too!
If ever there was to be spraying in the area where our bees are set, we are informed, and we move them out before it happens. It’s what’s best for the health of our bees and the quality of our product.
We do not filter or alter our honey in any way. We use a natural settling process; the honey sits in a tank, and the wax naturally rises to the top where it is taken off. We like our raw honey to come to our customers the way Mother Nature intended it!
3. Is it best to store honey at room temp or cooler temps (basement)?
I personally store my honey on the counter or in the pantry. Just be sure to keep it’s well sealed when not in use
Danny demonstrates the hive
4. I was under the impression that raw honey would be liquid, but your honey has more of a creamy consistency. Is the honey from this year’s harvest, and that is why it is creamy or does raw honey come in different consistencies based on various factors?
Raw honey is liquid upon extraction but does “granulate” naturally to give you the creamy consistency you see in your container. Our raw honey gets that nice creamy consistency primarily thanks to the floral source of clover; it’s a magically natural thing!
The only way honey would remain liquid is if it were heated or altered, breaking it down at a molecular level, allowing it to stay liquid. Tropical locations, however, can have liquid honey as the outside temperatures heat the honey and break it down naturally. We do not alter or heat the honey in any way so that our customers can receive the highest level of nutrients from our product.
Thanks again for your participation and your questions! Remember, any time you have questions for us, reach out on Instagram or Facebook and let us know. Nothing makes us quite as happy as interacting with you!
Also, remember to check out the first and second “Ask a Beekeeper” posts!
We look forward to adding to this series in the future.