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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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Why Honey?

Honey is a superfood

Honey is 100% natural.  It is healthier than sugar, nutritious, sustainable, versatile and delicious. 

Honey can even help prevent hay fever, it is naturally antibacterial and is a source of minerals.

Humans have been eating honey for thousands of years.   It’s a natural sweetener.

You should eat honey, too.

Local honey is better for you

Llangattock honey is made by bees who gather nectar from the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park. 

They make wildflower honey because wildflowers grow right outside the hives; in the surrounding fields, on the banks of the River Usk, and on the slopes of the Black Mountains which overlook them.

The honey they make contains traces of pollen; if you eat it, it acts like a vaccine, making your body more resistant to hay fever.

Local honey is better for the environment

A thriving local bee population is essential for our environment. 

The bees pollinate plants around us, promoting biodiversity in our countryside, and keeping our hedgerows and fields healthy and fertile.

Only locally produced raw honey has these benefits; buying from a supermarket isn’t the same.  Mass-produced honey can be blended and filtered in ways which break the link with local flowers and lower the nutritional value.

We have 250 hives in Llangattock, Bwlch and on the slopes of Sugarloaf Mountain.

The bees are tended by Anthony Smith, who has been keeping them for six years.  Anthony says, “We like to think that if you taste our honey, you get a taste of the wildflowers and heathers which surround us.  We do very little to it; it is straight out of the hive and into the jar within 24 hours. What could be more local than that?”

If you buy Llangattock Honey, you will get the best flavour, the highest nutritional content, the very best of what is around you. Buy local, buy Llangattock Honey.