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Bee Pollen to help relieve Hay Fever

Are you suffering with itchy, streaming eyes and a runny nose?  Does having hay fever ruin the summer for you?

Have you tried taking natural supplements like bee pollen and honey?

Many people use honey and bee pollen every year to alleviate the symptoms of hay fever and to generally make themselves feel healthier and improve their wellbeing.

It is believed that locally sourced pollen will protect your immune system from reacting to airborne allergen exposure from the same plants that cause you distress, perhaps by desensitizing you to it.

You only need to take a teaspoon on bee pollen on your cereals in the morning, or sprinkle them on fresh fruit.  Honey is delicious both poured on your food or a teaspoon in your drink. 

It has to be worth trying it out to make you feel better.   After all honey has numerous beneficial effects.

What is bee pollen and where does it come from?

Bee pollen comprises of the powdery substance that plants make in order for them to reproduce. Bee pollen is the food source for bees.  They collect it on their bodies and legs and take it back to the hive as a source of food.

Bee pollen may also contain some flower nectar and bee digestive enzymes. In addition to antioxidants, it contains vitamins and minerals, enzymes, protein and carbohydrates.

Once the bees return home with the pollen they collect, it is covered with a small amount of beeswax and honey by other bees. This is called “bee bread,” and it’s the main protein source for the bees in the colony.

Because the pollen grains are collected from many different types of plants, bee pollen varies in shape, colour and nutritional content. Although bees normally collect pollen from just one type of a plant at a time, sometimes they will gather it from many different flowers.

Since it’s a natural product that is always different based on geographical location and flower type, it’s hard to know exactly what’s in the bee pollen you get.

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Swarming Bees

There are lots of posts on Facebook and Social Media at the moment where people have bees in their gardens or houses and are asking for someone to come to remove them.  Many people are still frightened of bees and ask for a Pest Control Officer to come and kill them.  Please don’t do this.  Any beekeeper would be delighted to capture and move your bees free of charge and to rehome them in a suitable location. 

The springtime is the time when honeybees reproduce.  The natural means of reproduction for honey bees is called swarming.  The springtime swarming period typically last about three weeks. Normally a single swarm of honey bees divide and becomes two during the swarming period.  However, as the weather has been so unusual and strange this year, bees are somewhat confused as to the time of year.

Why Do Bees Swarm?

Because swarming typically means a loss of production so beekeepers try to discourage the behaviour.  One way that beekeepers eliminate swarming in their hives is by purchasing new bees each spring to replace the previous bees that they turned out of the hives the previous autumn. Another method commonly used by beekeepers to discourage swarming is the creation of a starter colony.  Creating a starter hive and then splitting it encourages bees to stay in their hives.  Some beekeepers believe that bees only swarm when they have an abundance of food in the hive. Beekeepers who subscribe to this theory use a method called checkerboarding to discourage their bees from swarming.  When a beekeeper checkerboards their hives they remove some of the full frames of honey, giving the bees the illusion that they don’t have any honey in reserve, and therefore discouraging the bees from swarming.

It is unusual for bees to swarm when there is a new queen in the bee hive.  As time passes and the Queen ages, is when the hive typically prepares to swarm, generally the elderly queen leaves with the primary swarm, leaving a virgin queen in her place.  When the elderly queen is getting ready to swarm with the primary swarm she stops laying eggs.  She concentrates on getting fit enough to fly when she leaves the hive (the only other time the queen has flown is when she went out on her nuptial flight).  When smaller swarms leave the hive they are commonly accompanied by the virgin queen.

When they leave the hive?

When they first leave the hive in a swarm, bees don’t typically go far from the hive they have always known.  After fleeing the nest the bees settle on a nearby tree branch or under an eave.  The worker bees cluster around the queen, protecting her.  Once they have the queen protected, some bees, scouts, look around until they find a suitable hive to turn into their new home.

Some beekeepers see swarming as a way to restock their hives.  An experienced bee keeper has no problem capturing a group of swarming bees.  

When they swarm, honey bees carry no additional food with them.  The only honey they are allowed to take from the parent hive is the honey they consumed.

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New Apiaries for Honey Bees

Llangattock Apiaries new Bee Hives

Llangattock Apiaries are busy putting out new apiaries for their honey bees

Spring is finally beginning to arrive. We have had a couple of lovely sunny days, the flowers are beginning to open up. The bees are waking up and starting to go out searching for pollen.

It is a busy time of the year for us. We check all of our almost 300 apiaries daily to ensure that they bees are all healthy and that there are not any problems that we need to deal with.

We are increasing our production of our natural honey to supply our customers.

We supply both Trade and individual customers. We now have small, individual 42 grams sized jars of honey which are ideal for Hotels, B & B’s and accommodation providers for Continental breakfasts served in rooms or to go onto the breakfast tables. They are also ideal for guests to buy to take home as a memory of their holiday.

Our honey comes in many different varieties and flavours. We also produce and sell beeswax products. These include honeycomb, pollen, beeswax candles, beeswax food wraps, beeswax lip balm, propolis, honey soap, and nose and paw balm for dogs. We are extending our range all of the time.

If you can’t find any products that you would like to buy, just email Anthony on info@llangattockapiaries.co.uk and we will do our best to help you.

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The Life Cycle of the Honey Bee

Llangattock Apiaries honey bees

A beekeeper, whether someone who does it for a hobby or whether they are a large commercial producer, cannot be successful unless they fully understand the life cycle of the honey bee.

The honey bee’s life cycle is a unique and fascinating process.

The Life Cycle

The cycle all starts with the egg. The hives queen bee lays an egg in one of the cells which have been constructed for the purpose of laying eggs.   The queen will lay the egg and move on to lay another.  During the spring months the queen can lay an average of 1900 eggs daily.  The egg is attached to the cell with a mucus strand.

When the egg hatches a larvae emerges.  Nurse bees are in charge of caring for the young larvae.  They feed the eggs bee bread.  Bee bread is a strange mixture of gland secretions and honey.  The larvae will go through five distinct growth stages. After each of these stages the larvae sheds its outer skin.  When the larvae are six days old, a worker bee comes along and caps the larvae, cocooning the larvae in its cell.  The larvae stays the in the cocoon for eight to ten days.  It will then emerge from the cocoon as a fully formed young bee.

The Length of Honey Bee Life

The average length of life average honey bee depends on what purpose the bee fulfills in the hive.  A queen bee can live for two years providing that she was able to get herself inseminated with enough sperm during her nuptial flight.  A good strong queen bee can lay as many as 2000 eggs a day.  The queen bee’s responsibility is to kill her sisters and mothers.  The queen bee doesn’t have to look after herself, because she is always surrounded by an entourage of worker bees who feed her and remove her waste.  It is not uncommon for the elderly queen bee to leave the nest in the springtime when the rest of the hive is getting ready to swarm.  Experts believe that the queen produces some sort of pheromone that prevents the hive’s workers bees from becoming interested in sex.  A queen bee that has not made her nuptial flight is called a virgin queen.  Drone bees are male bees that live only to impregnate queen bees during the queen’s nuptial flight.

After mating with a queen the drone dies.

Worker Bees

During the winter months, a worker bee can live up to one hundred and forty days old.  During the summer months the worker bee is lucky to live for forty days, the short summer life span is because the worker bees are literally worked to death.  The worker bee’s duties are wide and varied.  Worker bees called nurse bees are in charge of caring for the young larvae.  The other worker bees have to gather pollen to be made into honey.  Some workers spend their time capping off honey combs, other workers are responsible for taking care of the queen.  Worker bees are in charge of starving the unwanted drone bees and cleaning the hive.  There can be any were from twenty thousand to two hundred thousand worker bees in a single hive.  Worker bees are always sterile. If a worker bee lays an egg it becomes a drone bee.  Workers bees are the bees that people see defending the hive.

The survival of the bee hive depends on the hive having a healthy queen that is laying eggs. If something happens to the queen the hive will die.

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The History of Beekeeping

LLangattock Apiaries Bees and Honey

Beekeeping is one of the oldest forms of food production dating back as far back as 13,000 BC. The history dates back to ancient Egypt.  Hive beekeeping was well established before the Roman invasion of Britain in AD 43.

According to history beekeeping was practiced for the harvesting of honey, which is the mainstay of a beekeeper’s financial sustenance.  Other items that are harvested from honey are royal jelly and propolis, which were derived for the use of medicinal purposes.  The use of beehive products has changed little since ancient times.

Many different kinds of bees were brought over from places in Europe and even as far as New Zealand.  Until relatively recently beekeeping was a hobby and not a means to make a living that was primarily done by farmers or relatives of a farmer who lived in a rural community where you could set up a bee farm and maintained it from time honoured traditions passed down through the generations.

Why Are the Hives Shaped Like A Honeycomb?

In many different cultures, beekeeping was done to produce honey and beeswax (which was used in candle making and other products), but when an American scientist named L.L. Langstroth took beekeeping to the scientific level in 1851 he innovated the bee space and the removable hive frame. It wasn’t until 1857 that it was discovered that bees could be manipulated into building a straight frame hive by providing them with some wax for a foundation.  Bees would proceed to use the wax foundation to build a honeycomb the octagon-shaped holes that were used to store larvae and later honey once the bees had developed and hatched.  

Over the next few years’ different techniques had been developed to continue modernizing beekeeping, but the most practical invention wasn’t until 1873, which was the smoker, which was a helpful safety device for many beekeepers.  Beekeeping is an art form, which takes a lot of time and practice to master because a skilled beekeeper will learn everything there is to know about beekeeping.  Essentially you will be schooled into this way of life so that everything about beekeeping is like second nature to you so you basically eat, sleep, and breathe the art form of beekeeping.

Passing On Beekeeping To The Next Generation

Beekeepers have a term called Apiculturists because that’s what the Department of Agriculture calls them when they’re categorized for what they do.  People who are Beekeepers are just small offshoots of the agriculture world since it’s pretty much a world of their own with the fact that what they do began as a hobby had slowly transformed into a way of life for people to earn a living at.  People who decide to become Beekeepers that are knowledgeable in biology and entomology can prove to be valuable to the beekeeping market for those who are trying to improve even innovate and create their own unique system of beekeeping which can be passed down to up-and-coming beekeepers who want to learn how to do successful beekeeping.

In summary, beekeeping is a really old tradition that is being kept alive by people who are passionate about bees and keeping them.

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9 Unexpected Uses for Honey

9 Unexpected Uses for Honey

What Are The Amazing Uses of Honey?

When you have a sore throat or a cough, honey is one of the best and tastiest, salves that nature has to offer.

The first record of beekeeping dates back to 2400 B.C. in Cairo.  For millennia, cultures around the world, including the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans and the Chinese have fallen for the sweet substance.  All of these cultures used it both in medicine and in the kitchen.

Honey is commonly used as a sweetener. It’s made up of 70–80 percent sugar; the rest is water, minerals and protein.  It’s also used to alleviate allergies, but honey has many other uses.  Surprisingly, many of the conditions that honey is used to treat are far more serious than the simple sore throat.

1. Burns

Honey has been used as a salve to heal burns and prevent infections for thousands of years, according to the Mayo Clinic. Results also show that honey may reduce burn healing time.

A trusted study compared honey to a silver sulfadiazine dressing for burns and found that honey makes wounds sterile in less time, enhances healing and doesn’t leave as much scarring as the other treatment.

2. Memory

Some say honey can improve both short and long-term memory, especially in menopausal and postmenopausal women. In one study postmenopausal women who were given tualang honey treatments for several weeks saw as much improvement in their immediate memory as women given hormone therapy of oestrogen and progestin.

3. Herpes

Research conducted in Dubai shows that honey is an effective topical treatment for both oral and genital herpes.  Honey can heal lesions from herpes just as quickly as ointments you find at a pharmacy and it’s even better at reducing itchiness.

4. Diabetes

Honey has a lower glycaemic index than sugar, which means it won’t spike your blood sugar levels the way that sugar will.  Honey also has a sweeter taste than sugar and may help you use less sweetener on foods.  This makes honey a better option than sugar.  In one study, researchers found that swapping honey for pure sugar is an effective way to keep blood sugar levels steady.

5. Cancer

Honey is celebrated for its antioxidant properties, which causes many to wonder if it can help prevent or treat cancer.  A 2011 study from Iran looked at how honey affects renal cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer. The researchers found that honey is effective in stopping cancer cells from multiplying and they concluded that it warrants further study as a cancer treatment.

6. Haemorrhoids

Haemorrhoids cause itching and pain in the anus, as well as blood in the stool.  They are never fun.  If you’re looking for a home remedy, honey might fit the bill.  A pilot study using a mixture of honey, olive oil and beeswax as a topical treatment found that the mixture significantly reduced pain and itching, as well as bleeding.

7. Wounds and ulcers

Honey has been used to dress wounds for centuries, but does it work better than gels and compresses?  The research is mixed, but certainly not against honey.  The Mayo Clinic says that honey can sterilize wounds and promote healing and also reduce pain, odour and wound size.  It can also treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria and long-term ulcers and wounds after surgery and from burns.

Other researchers agree that it can be effective, or even superior, to other wound dressings, but it all depends on the wound.  For deep cuts and wounds, it may delay healing time.  You should only use honey for these treatments after you’ve seen a doctor.

8. Fertility

Honey has been lauded for its potential to boost fertility in both men and women, but the evidence is mixed.  Two separate studies using rats, conducted in Nigeria in 2013, give very different results.  While one showed that honey increases the sperm count of male rats, the other showed that too much honey can have a negative effect on fertility in rats.  More research needs to be done.

9. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a common skin condition that causes redness, blisters, itching and even lesions. It’s usually treated with topical creams that contain corticosteroids or vitamin D, but honey may be more effective.  This study once again uses a mixture of honey, olive oil, and beeswax, finding that most participants with psoriasis experienced a reduction in redness, scaling, and itching.

The Conclusion

Honey can have some surprising uses.  With a low glycaemic index, it’s a good substitute for sugar and can help you monitor blood sugar. But if you want to use it medically, like applying it topically to wounds and irritated skin, make sure you speak to your doctor prior to use.

 If you would like to order some natural raw honey go to www.llangattockapiaries.co.uk

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The Benefit of Borage Honey

Borage Benefits of Honey

Borage honey has a distinct taste that many find delicious. The plant itself is widespread and used in both traditional and modern medicine. As for beekeeping, this flower provides high amounts of pollen and nectar for the worker bees to gather. The plant also goes by the following names:

  • Blue Borage, or Starflower (English)
  • Bourrache officinale (French)
  • Borragine (Italian)
  • Borretsch (German)
  • Borraja (Spanish)
  • Purasruoho (Finnish)
  • Limba mielului (Romanian)

It has other names too, depending on where in the world you find it, but it’s still the same plant.  This is generally a light, delicate honey loved in Europe with porridge or in tea, though there are lots of other ways to pair it with foods too.  It’s perfect when drizzled over berries or ice-cream.  The pure borage honey is clear, runny and incredibly moreish. It’s also slow to crystallize when kept at room temperature or above.

This is perhaps one of the sweetest of all the honeys, making it a great alternative sweetener to table sugar.  If you keep borage honey in the refrigerator it sets to a chewy texture, which makes it a bit more like toffee than honey. This cool chewy texture is a favorite with kids.

The Medicinal Properties of Borage

Bees love the borage plant, but they’re not the only ones.  People also use the plant for its medicinal properties.  Its main use is as an herbal, homeopathic and allopathic medicine. One popular use is to help alleviate depression.

The honey carries many of the same health benefit claims as the oil derived from the same plant. Some of these include the following:

  • Eases grief and sadness
  • Brings out courage and offers comfort
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Helps with hyperactive gastrointestinal disorders
  • Helps ease respiratory disorders
  • Helps with cardiovascular disorders
  • Contains anticancer properties
  • Treats pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Helps with menopause symptoms including hot flashes

A 1999 report in Bee World, wrote how borage is so attractive to bees that it’s become a popular plant for people to grow as a way to invite bees into their gardens.  You can read more on the science and popularity of borage at Science News.

Bees, Borage, Farmers and Honey

The borage oil makes the borage plant a worthwhile crop for farmers.  This is great news for beekeepers.  They get to benefit from fields of this beautiful flower, which lasts for about eight weeks.  This is a perfect example of a mutually beneficial relationship. In this case, the beekeepers get lots of honey and the farmers get increased yields because the bees pollinate their crop. The nectar and pollen these flowers produce is huge, compared to many other species.

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The Benefits of Honey Fighting Covid

Honey Fighting Covid

The prospects of honey in fighting against COVID-19: pharmacological insights and therapeutic promises. (Taken from an article June 2020)

Honey and its various ingredients have been in limelight as an effective natural therapy capable of normalizing the situation by attenuating acute inflammation through encouraging immune response. Several studies have proved its potential healing capability against numerous chronic diseases/conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, autophagy dysfunction, bacterial and fungal infections.

More importantly, honey showed its virucidal effect on several enveloped viruses such as HIV, influenza virus, herpes simplex, and varicella zoster virus. Honey can be beneficial for patients with COVID-19 caused by an enveloped virus SARS-CoV-2 through simultaneously boosting the host immune system, improving comorbid conditions and antiviral activities. Moreover, a clinical trial of honey on COVID-19 patients has been undergoing. In this review, we summarized the potential benefits of honey and its ingredients in the context of antimicrobial activities, numerous chronic diseases, and host immune system and thereby tried to establish a relationship with honey for the treatment of COVID-19.

This review will be helpful to reconsider the insights into the potential therapeutic effects of honey in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. However, the effects of honey on SARS-CoV-2 replication and/or host immune system need to be further investigated by in vitro and in vivo studies.