Who We Bee.

March 25th, 2016
5 year old at a bee meeting

Our little honey bee

Welcome to Boyd’s Honey and Bees!  We are proud keepers and collectors of all-natural, free-range honey bees and natural, organic honey.  Our “Bee Girls” are NOT supplemented with any corn products (HFCS), un-natural food sources or broad spectrum antibiotics.  Although their range may include a farmers field which is producing corn, currently there are no corn products being grown or produced within five miles of our apiary.  The bees normal range is considered 2-2.5 miles, but never more than four miles.  Our bees are meticulously cared for north of Dallas, Texas, and produce some of the best organic raw honey in the area.  There are micro granules of pollen left in the honey by the bees and are not filtered out.   These minute quantities provide minimal exposure to different flower pollens in the “Local area.”  In addition to honey, we offer “Honey Butter” in a 16 ounce plastic tub.  The butter is excellent for bagels, toast or anything else (apple slices come to mind).  The consistency is similar to  peanut butter, without the peanut of course.  It is high in pollen from local flowers, fragrant and tantalizingly tasty!

Since we are a family-run operation, supplies of honey are limited by the “Bee Girls” production each season.  Honey Butter is available seasonally in limited quantities.  While the girls (our bees) work diligently to fulfill every order, supplies only last as long as the season allows.  We will be happy to put you on a waiting list for our next production run, if that is necessary.

For ordering or information, please email: BoydsHoney@gmail.com updated pricing.

 

 

 

Fall 2016 Update

November 18th, 2016

As the cold fronts start, so does the honey production cease. This years’s harvest was less than noteworthy due to a dryer than normal spring and summer. (Read: drought) The lack of early moisture curtailed the number of wild flowers which in turn affects the amount of honey. This along with the loss of two additional hives due to pesticides (I lost half of my hives March 2015 from the same cause) and everything slows down a bit.  To replace a hive runs from $150 to $275.  Depending on point of purchase and if the “new” colony has accepted the queen and is productive.  If not, then it may well take 2-2.5 years for the colony to mature and be up able to collect enough nectar for honey to be harvested.  Couple this with the physical relocation of the apiary to about one mile south and the heavy rains which all places stress on the colonies of bees. I will be consolidating the hive boxes for winter since I usually overwinter in one hive box if it will hold the colony. I will more than likely have honey to process going into December from this process. The average hive requires about 70 pounds of honey which must be left in the hive for winter sustenance.  Most of my hives are considered large hives and are extremely healthy. The irony of this robust number is that if the flowers don’t bloom in the early spring, the larger hives may perish by starving to death since they will consume their winter stores rapidly due to the large number of bees and lack of blooms. Such is the life of a bee. They can deal with the stuff nature throws at them but are more or less incapable of handling mismanagement or aggressive human developed and applied broad spectrum pesticides for the sake of the grower saving a “buck” on the spray.  Oh yes, by the way the pesticides are “residual” and remain on and in your food products also.  The worst offender is GMO’s gene spliced seed with Neonicotinoid poison.  This nicotine derivative is systemic in the plant, flower, nectar and pollen.  When the bee visits a plant of this type, they collect the nectar and pollen and take it back to the hive and feed the young and the queen resulting in almost immediate death.  This in turn causes the hive to perish also.

Farmer’s Market at the Barnyard

November 12th, 2016

I’ll be there November 13 and have your honey.  Late Fall harvest due to the drought, high temps and then the rain! And then more rain and cooler weather.  The “girls” work hard but not a lot of flowers.

To GMO/Hybrid-Cultivar or go Native? That is the question!!!

May 5th, 2016

Although plants hybridize freely in nature, that’s nature, and those plants can take care of themselves (or not–nature has many failed experiments). We should not be producing hybrids or purposely growing them. For just one reason, they are frequently sterile, so if you’re growing plants because you expect their fruit or nectar to attract wildlife, hybrids will not do it. Growing such plants will not help restore the balance of nature, and most professionals think that our gardening should do just that.

Tis’ Now The Season to Swarm

April 22nd, 2016

April is the month when the weather warms and the bee “Girls” get active.  I’ve had many people ask me about my bees, especially the “SWARM”!  Sounds scary and horrifying does it not?  In reality the swarm episode is nothing more than creation of another colony looking for a new home.  We’ve all been there looking for a home, with replies like “No Kids Allowed”, “no vacancy’s”, priced to high or too far from the grocery and work!  Believe it or not bees have the same problems.  When the current colony becomes over crowded with workers and there is no room for expansion inside the hive, the group will raise a swarm queen to solve their problems.  This normal activity takes place during April and May in most of the United States.  What is a swarm queen?  Well in the normal chain of events she will be the new hive queen in short order.  The swarm queen is the offspring of the current queen raised to take over the leadership of the colony when the sitting queen swarms with 60% or more of the young workers (again her offspring) or about three pounds of bees which is around 10,000 members and leaves to find another home with more room.  There are no horror flicks here, just the flick and flutter of “apis milifera” (Italian honey bee) wings in flight.  The beauty of the buzzing of wings in flight is nothing short of a God produced miracle of life.  This group of bees rally’s  in flight and then “drifts” downwind to alight in a temporary location to reconnoiter a permanent sight.  At this time all of this group is non-defensive since there are no young to protect and the only reason they are protective is because of the presence of young progeny within the hive.  The honey bee is all about procreation of the species. They can only use their defense mechanism once and then they die!  Somehow the bees know this.  Now all bets are off if you molest, harass, disturb or in anyway interact with this football size group of bees on the tree limb or other feature worthy of temporary housing!  Bottom line, call a bee expert or your friendly bee keeper to help you out or turn around and walk away.  Some but not all Bee Keepers will charge for the “removal” and some will do you a favor and help the bees with relocation.  Any pest control contractor will more than likely not want to participate in this activity.  The Texas State guidelines require removal and relocation over destruction.  As long as there is no danger posed by the swarm group, which would be hard to justify with what was known and written, the judge would take a dim view in court of purposeful extermination.  After all the bees are protected and fast becoming an endangered species.  Add to that the swarm has a greater than 80% chance of perishing during it’s first year and the odds are not in their favor.

A Queen for her Kingdom

March 27th, 2016

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This past week we received two new “Italian” queens for two splits of larger colonies. They were happy to get here from Nacodoches, Texas via the U.S. Postal System. The Post Mistress called and said “She’s here, your queens have arrived!” Both “girls” are now getting to know their “subjects”. The acclamation process last three days or longer and is necessary to prevent the colony from “balling” the queen. The balling process is when the workers gather tightly around the queen in an “embrace of death”. They accomplish this by raising their body temperature higher than the queen can tolerate. She expires and bee bizzness goes on. Being a queen is not all it is “quacked up” to be. I’m willing to remain a worker in the grand scheme of things!  This same process is used on predators that gain entrance to the colony that are too big to “muscle” move out of the hive.  A wasp is one of theses animals.  The wasps maximum body temperature is about one degree less than the hive worker bees.  

 

The Bee Buzz from Boyd’s Honey & Bees 2016

March 25th, 2016

Winter is almost over and the flowers and trees are coming into bloom. It was a particularly hard season on the Bee “girls” due to widely swinging temperatures and devastatingly cold days and nights. Although most of those days are behind us, March of each year is a tough month for the “girls” also. This was demonstrated recently with dropping temperatures, rain and hail. Since there are but a few blooms to visit, the nectar is not available in sufficient quantity to support a bee’s normal warm day lifestyle.   It may be hard to believe that most feral colonies that have formed by swarm from a host colony and made it through the winter tend to perish in the early months of spring. This includes the Apiarist kept or Beekeeper bees “in a box” also. This is due to the queen bee planning ahead and laying an enormous amount of eggs along the order of 1,500 per day. This is in anticipation of the nectar and pollen that is drawing ever near with spring. What happens is that the colony exhausts all of its food stores that are left over from the previous fall/winter. The conundrum is since the colony is large with a lot of mouths to feed the food sources are further taxed by raising young. When there is no nectar or pollen the bees will starve. Over 80% of feral colonies do not make it through the winter cycle whereas the apiarist plans on a 33 1/3 percent loss annually.   This year, through one reason or another, I lost 7 colonies or about 50% of my total apiary. Couple this catastrophe with other environmental pressures from agribusiness along with parasitic vectors and the deck is stacked against Apis Millifera (Latin: bee + honey-bearing) or the Western Honeybee.

Boyd’s honey & Bees is an unofficial “Not For Profit”, sole proprietorship with a tax-exempt status, meaning profit margins are usually in the negative for cash flow. With that said, we are writing to let you know why our prices are forced to increase to keep pace. Supplies, materials and support items necessary for bee keeping only qualify for tax-exempt status. Even with this State of Texas assistance, the cost of goods, marketing and production have outpaced our pricing for a few years. If you prefer to support our effort to “give back to the environment and the community”, the only action required is to continue to be our customer.

Thank you for your patronage.

BoydsHoney.com

2016 – Snow Pellets but no snow yet

March 25th, 2016

 

For the whole month of December 2013, our little honey bee hoped and hoped that it would snow for the holidays.  Sure enough, on the day we celebrated, it began, and then it kept coming.  For the entire night, lovely flakes of white goodness fell and piled on everything in sight.  The next day required some maintenance on the hives, since the entries were completely blocked by snow the bees needed some help.  Now, we’ve moved through the yearly seasons and coming up on another winter in 2014.  The “BIG MOVE” took place this season with a geographic relocation to a farm about thirty miles north of Dallas.  Although the honey is still considered local to the north east Dallas zip, it is now even more local to north Dallas zip code.

 

The beekeeper took his handy bee sweeper brush and began working to clear the entrances.

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Spring – Flowers? Winter 2016

March 23rd, 2016

 

Spring in TexasWell Spring and Summer have come and gone!  It is currently  barely above freezing outside.  I’m sure the “Bee Girls” are huddled in a tight cluster, keeping warm inside their hive boxes.  I can’t wait until it can be said that “It is almost springtime in Texas and the bees will be out looking for food sources”.  The days above 55F, allows relief and orientation flights.  But the “Bee Girls” will be back in the cluster before sunset.  When it is consistently above 60F the foragers will start working and collecting nectar from flowers for honey along with pollen grains for food.  Until that time, inside they will stay just like the rest of us, unless necessary to get out!