Thursday, July 16, 2015

Know Your Beekeeper

     This spring we began working with bees again for the first time since moving South. We placed the hive in the back corner of the yard facing East, close enough to keep an eye on it, but not too close. We always feed bees a 1:1 ratio of sugar water in the spring if there aren't many flowers in bloom for the bees to work, it prevents starvation and I know of no beekeeper who doesn't use this emergency measure.

A sugar water feeder similar to ours

     I'm not crazy about the fact that white sugar generally comes from Monsanto's GMO sugar beets; how ironic to feed bees with a product that is made by a company who is largely responsible for massive bee die off. I'm not really aware of any viable alternative though.

A swarm that didn't settle inside a hollow tree, but hanging from a branch

     We bought our bees from a local beekeeper, a mutt strain that we thought would be already adapted to our particular climate/altitude etc. While in his bee yard, located in the suburbs and containing 50+ hives I noticed feeders on every hive. I asked if there were enough sources of nectar locally for his bees to survive and was met with an astounding answer. He said that he feeds his bees year round as a matter of course. B-b-but then, my mind is racing, all of the honey you sell is garbage, it's all junk food made from GMO sugar and would have NO health benefits at all. You probably would never know what you were actually buying.

     In the years when we didn't keep bees we have found local beekeepers to buy honey from as it greatly improves Mr. G's allergies. But never again will I buy honey without asking some gentle questions about what these bees have access to. There is no point in paying $5+ per pint for pseudo honey. Bees are such an easy thing to keep, I'm so glad we have our own again!


  1. I linked this to my son's Facebook page for him to read.
    Good advice.

  2. I heard once that if you called Domino sugar and asked about their product they would tell you that they were in the GMO-free certification process. No clue if it's really true, but I'm going off that and paying the extra .50 for name brand. Plus the bag doesn't leak.

    1. That's interesting, I'll have to look into that further!

  3. Technically, sugar from sugar beets, not cane sugar is the GMO one. If you buy Pure cane sugar then it most likely isn't gmo sugar. If it just says sugar, then it is. Zulka sugar is good and GMO free certified as of this date.