Honey - Did you know...

"Bees are magical," Harris jokes. But there is certainly a special alchemy that goes into honey. Nectar, the first material collected by bees to make honey, is naturally very high in water–anywhere from 60-80 percent, by Harris' estimate. But through the process of making honey, the bees play a large part in removing much of this moisture by flapping their wings to literally dry out the nectar. On top of behavior, the chemical makeup of a bees stomach also plays a large part in honey's resilience.

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If you buy your honey from the supermarket, that little plastic bottle of golden nectar has been heated, strained and processed so that it contains zero particulates, meaning that there's nothing in the liquid for molecules to crystallize on, and your supermarket honey will look the same for almost forever. If you buy your honey from a small-scale vendor, however, certain particulates might remain, from pollen to enzymes. With these particulates, the honey might crystallize, but don't worry–if it's sealed, it's not spoiled and won't be for quite some time.

 

So if you're interested in keeping honey for hundreds of years, do what the bees do and keep it sealed–a hard thing to do with this delicious treat!

 

 To learn more, go to the Smithsonian Website 

Beekeeping Equipment Suppliers

  • Mann Lake
  • Walter T. Kelly Co.
  • Betterbee
  • Dadant and Sons
  • Ruhl Bee Supply
  • Glory Bee Foods

Helpful Beekeeping Contacts

New Hampshire Beekeepers Association

The NH Beekeepers Association was  established to promote the education of beekeepers and inform the general public about honey and honey bees. They offer quarterly meetings through out the State. Each of these meetings is hosted by a local Club. These Clubs include: Capital Area, Kearsarge, Merrimack Valley, Monadnock, Pawtuckaway, Pemi-Baker, Seacoast, Connecticut River Valley, and Winnipesaukee. For more information about speakers, meetings, and events please go to www.nhbeekeepers.org, or find them at facebook.com/NHBeekeepers

Monadnock Beekeepers Association

There's nothing like sharing your experiences with other beekeepers. The MBA meets monthly, at Stonewall Farm, Keene, NH & the Dublin Public Library, Dublin, NH in March & September. Meetings take place the 1st Thursday of the month and begin at 6:30pm, unless otherwise noted. There are also two satellite groups. These are located in Brattleboro, VT & Peterborough, NH. For additional information go to www.monadnockbeekeepers.com

Brattleboro Area Beekeepers Guild

There is a new beekeeping group starting in the Brattleboro/ Guilford, VT area. We are hoping that this will be an excellent resource to share questions and experiences as you continue on your journey. If you'd like to join their Facebook page please go here.

Peterborough Area Beekeepers

There is a new beekeeping group starting in the Peterborough Greenfield, NH area. They plan to meet monthly to share experiences, and assist each other with timely questions, and equipment purchases. 
More information to follow, or just join us at an MBA meeting...

SUGGESTED READING

Beekeeping for Dummies, 4th Edition - Howland Blackiston

This is our recommendation for anyone getting started with bees. You'll find this updated version covers all the topics and vocabulary you need to carry on educated discussions about bees, and up-to-date beekeeping practices. They also look at Top Bar Hives, Warre, and Langstroth style hives. The glossary and index are easy to use. The photos and cartoons are quite helpful, and make this book a quick and enjoyable read. This has been our favorite for getting newbees started for years. Start here, and the world of beekeeping will unfold for you quickly.

Attracting Native Pollinators, Protecting North American Bees & Butterflies - Xerces Society 

Caring about honey bees is important, but there are lots of other pollinators out there to keep safe and close to our hearts. This book has lots of beautiful photos, easy to read description, and numerous suggests to help you make better decisions when caring for your yards and gardens. They talk about pesticides, and encourage you to build your own garden by planting native plants. This is an excellent reference that you want to put down. Many of your questions will be answered. Definitely worth the money.

Natural Beekeeping, Revised & Expanded Edition - Ross Conrad

What a difference it has made to see the updates in this new version. The color photos, and updates are so helpful. Ross has been teaching and talking about bees, and you can see that he's been listening to the questions being asked. You will find this book has lots of details and suggestions for keeping bees healthy using minimal medications. He was lucky enough to learn from the experience of Charles Mraz. There are, and have been some great beekeepers out there. Learning from the best can make all the difference. These "organic approaches" may take their toll on your bees sometimes, but in the end you will have made a difference, and the bees will be that much stronger for it.

Top-Bar Beekeeping, Organic Practices for Honeybee Health - Les Crowder & Heather Harrell

This book is specifically written to assist those beekeepers interested in growing bees in a horizontal hive. There are lots of suggestions that carry over to other styles of hives, but what I like are the specific examples of what you'll find, and how to adjust your hive to accomplish the goals you personally have for your hives or apiary. This book covers all aspects of keeping bees in a top bar hive using organic methods. The photographs and graphics are easy to follow, and make this book an excellent reference for the beginner-intermediate beekeeper. This book will be referenced often. The queen raising section is brief, but thorough. Looking forward to using their suggestions.

The Thinking Beekeeper - Christy Hemenway 

If you are interested in keeping bees, but don't want to pick up heavy Langstroth boxes. You want to have pollinators in your yard, or may be interested in learning more about how bees build comb this is the book for you. Christiehas been talking about these hives, offering classes, and encouraging people to think about alternative ways to keep bees. We have several styles of top bar hives, as well as Langstroth hives. Depending on what you are looking for, these may be the way to go. This is a good reference for all beekeepers.

Toward Saving the Honeybee - Gunther Hauk

Many of his suggestions have come from years of learning and observing his bees. Biodynamic farming and beekeeping have a lot of good points that  we should all listen to. These practices may not work for everyone everytime, but do offer a better way to think about this wonderful hobby. Rudolf Steiner's was a man before his time. The theories offered in this brief, but interesting book encourage us to think about our relationship to the entire world around us. Everything is connected. You'll understand so much more once you have read this book.

Silent Spring - Rachel Carson

We have come so far, but gone nowhere. How is this possible? Pesticides, and especially insecticides in the case of the honeybees, are all around us. Traces of chemicals can be found in the wax. Bees are disappearing. More and more people are having problems with their health. Why? Reading this book will open your eyes to just how long there has been a concern for our environment and the health of everyone and everything touched by chemicals. The names may have changed, but the neurological effects have not. Thank about it. Are we willing to see our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren fall to these false truths? This book will make you think.

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