We’ve seen quite a few wasps this year in the beeyard. If given the chance, they will try to enter the hives and rob the bees of their precious supplies and they’re just not friendly enough to keep around. In your backyard, they’re probably building nests in shrubs, under eaves, and under fence rails. I’m managing wasps using a mixture of water and dish soap. When sprayed on wasps and wasp nests, it usually suffocates them in a few seconds and they’re done.
This mixture allows me to spray and kill what I want and not harm anything else in the surrounding environment. No lingering chemicals. No harm to the bees. No contamination of the honey. If you have kids or pets playing in your backyard, this makes more sense than a can of chemicals.
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This works on any insect, so feel free to try it on ants, aphids, and stink bugs, also.
At this weekend’s Locavore Farmer’s Market, one customer asked me what to do with some crystallized honey in his pantry. We usually get this question at least once per market, so it’s a good discussion point to post on our website. I have two answers to the question, but first I want to address a very important point.
Properly cured honey doesn’t spoil. Ever.
When bees are foraging for nectar, they bring it back to their hives and store it in their wax honeycombs. Then, they work a miracle of nature that is fascinating follow. They will pack the nectar away and begin curing it through evaporation. Over time, the moisture content in the nectar reduces, leaving a supersaturated solution of glucose and fructose (plus all the other trace elements that give honey it’s particular character).
Once the moisture content is reduced to below 18%, the bees recognize that and cap the honey with more wax. This sealed nectar is now considered honey and will never spoil. Ever. Because of the reduced moisture content, nothing that wants to ferment or live in honey can survive. As long as you buy honey from a reputable beekeeper who waits for the bees to fully cure their honey, you can rest assured that your honey will not go bad in your pantry.
However, the supersaturated nature of honey means that eventually, your honey will crystallize. Unfortunately, raw honey that has not been filtered or heated, will crystallize faster than ultra-processed honey. Why? Those pollen grains that exist in unfiltered raw honey provide a starting point for crystallization. However, that’s a small price to pay for natural goodness, because there are two solutions.
Re-liquefy your crystallized honey
Crystallized honey re-liquefies easily by placing the entire container of honey in a saucepan of warm (not boiling) water. Just leave it in the water bath until the honey returns to it’s original liquid state and it will stay there for another period of time while you continue to consume it. Do not microwave your honey! The intense heat generated by microwaves can scorch the high sugar content in honey, creating unwanted compounds and darkening the color.
Accept the crystallized honey and use it as is
If you’re using honey in your coffee or tea, just leave it in a crystallized state and use it that way. Scoop out a spoonful and let the hot liquid in your cup dissolve the honey, just as it would dissolve sugar. If you’re eating honey with your toast, spread away! Crystallized honey won’t drip off your toast and make a mess.
Either way, it’s still honey and it’s still good. When you need some more, just find us at a local farmer’s market, order some from us, or get in touch to buy some more. Enjoy!
On April 7th, 2012, we picked up our first two hives of bees. My family had kept bees for years, but it was Kelly’s dad that gave us the inspiration to put hives on his vegetable farm. At that time, we made the decision to use good management techniques and not chemicals to keep our bees healthy and our honey pure. It turns out that the best minimum number of hives to have at any location is two hives, which allows us to compare the hives for problems and have back-up resources if we need them.
We now have 20+ hives in yards across Cypress, Houston, and Tomball, TX. We believe we’re the only beekeepers in this area selling true local honey in the towns where the bees forage for nectar. We can guarantee that we’d have the “local-est” honey at the farmer’s markets where we sell, since we sell at markets that our bees can reach. We don’t buy honey from distributors and we don’t blend our honey, so we can offer a truly local product. We don’t put any chemicals in our hives, we don’t heat our honey, and we don’t filter it. We’re still growing, but our mission hasn’t changed since those first two hives: Provide true, raw, local honey.
If you haven’t tried our honey, give us a call, find us at your local farmer’s market, or buy some online. We’re sure you’ll love it!