What's the Buzz?

  (Miami, Florida)
A Honey of a Blog

100 Million Year Old Bee?


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It seems that bees are much older than we think! The discovery of a 100-million-year-old bee fossil preserved in amber "pushes the bee fossil record back about 35 million years," according to Bryan Danforth, Cornell associate professor of entomology. Before this fossil was found, the oldest bee fossil recorded was a mere 65 million years old. It had been suspected that bees were much older, perhaps even 120 million years old, but there was no physical evidence to support this. 

And guess what! This amber-bee has wasp-like traits, which now suggests that bees and wasps may have some evolutionary link. (And they don't even like each other!)

Also, originally researchers believed that primitive bees were members of the Colletidae family, but Danforth's work indicates that they originated from the family Melittidae.

D-uh! EVERYone knows that, right?

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Find out more about these old bees at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061209083342.htm 

 
 

Love Those Lychees and Avocados! Honey, That is....

Miami is a splendid place! We have such a fabulous mix of exotic tropical and sub-tropical fruits growing here, it's mind-boggling! And all of these fruit trees create nectar and pollen that make our bees so happy!

One of the things we enjoy most is when the Lychees and the Avocados blossom. In the rest of the world these fruits blossom at different times, but here in South Florida most years they blossom together. Even better, the Lychee groves and the Avocado Groves are usually right next to one another. 

What does that mean? It means that we are some of the world's luckiest people, because we have annual access to Avocado-Lychee honey, an exotic combo of two of nature's most delicious nectars.

It's bliss! And it was just harvested, so we're revelling in the joy...

It gets even better... As I said, we celebrate the creative combination of the two together...but this year the Lychees ALSO kept on blossoming after the Avocados were done. Which means that we in addition to our favorite combo, we also got to harvest straight Lychee honey, which practically never happens for us.

So it's a double whammy of the dark and delicious! Yes, we're sticky and sweet and hoping to stay that way....

 
 

Our New Hives Have Arrived!

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New Hive Delivery.jpg It's always fun in the Spring when we our partner Steve brings us fresh new Queens and some new beehives. We've got about a dozen new colonies that arrived last week, and when you step into our yard, you can smell fresh honey in progress. Here's Steve helping our new girls to settle in. They're quite happy here! I see them alighting upon so many different blossoms. They're especially fond of the Sweet Almond Bush, which has an intoxicating aroma. They don't bother much with the Gardenias, which are also in bloom. So between the ripening honey, the Sweet Almond Blossoms, and the Gardenias, strolling out back is an aromatic experience. And the next honey harvest? Just a few weeks away! Thankfully we've got plenty of Orange Blossom and Wildflower to tide us over until then...
 
 

What's Honey Made of, Anyway?


nutrition_profile_2.jpg We're so often asked about what honey is composed of, especially by those of you who are trying to lessen your intake of sugar. The good news is, honey has very little sucrose in it, and is instead made up of other sugars that are not processed and much less destructive to consume. Honey is sweeter than sugar, so you need less of it! The other good news is that it metabolizes differently than sucrose, so consuming honey does not create that blood sugar spike and crash we're all familiar with from white table sugar. 

 Honey is basically 38.5% Fructose, 31% Glucose, 17.1% Water, 7.2% Maltose, 4.2 % Carbohydrates, only 1.5% Sucrose, and .5% Minerals, vitamins and enzymes. Type 2 Diabetics can enjoy a daily spoonful of honey without negative effects on their blood sugar levels. (From Two Million Blossoms by Kirsten S. Trainor.) Of course, it is a carbohydrate, so don't go crazy....but honey's positive benefits outweigh the negative, so enjoy your honey, honey~ 

 
 

FREE Recipe! Sweet N' Sour Broccoli & Asparagus

Hot    In case you love good recipe's here's one from the National Honey Board! You can find it at: https://www.honey.com/recipe/hot-n-sweet-broccoli-and-asparagus

I love honey with my veggies. Don't you? 

If you double click on the image above, it will show up nice and big.

 If not, here you go:

INGREDIENTS

1/4 Cup of Honey

2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce

1/2-1 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper

1 lb. Broccoli, trimmed

1/2 lb. Asparagus, trimmed

2 T. Olive Oil

DIRECTIONS

Combine honey, soy sauce, ginger and red pepper. Cut up broccoli and slice stem.

Slice the asparagus on the diagonal.

Heat oil in a large skillet, add the broccoli and asparagus. Stir fry over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup Water to the pan. Cover and steam vegetables for 2-3 minutes, until crisp but tender. Drain water from the pan.

Add the honey mixture and cook uncovered until the glaze thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Serve! 

 
 

This is Driving Me Buggy!

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http://www.panna.org/blog/decline-insects-and-what-it-means

 I was just this morning having a conversation with my husband over coffee, about bugs. When we first started keeping bees, of course I loved our bees! But I realized that I didn't love other insects so much. I wondered, "Do I just love the bees because they feed me?" That seemed so self-centered! The hypocrisy was self-evident. And so over the years I made a point to really notice my little six-legged brothers and sisters, and learned to respect and even love them! Yes, it's easier to love dragon flies and ladybugs and other cute, pretty ones.  But over time I've learned to view most of them with affection. I still have a bit of an issue with palmetto bugs. It's hard to love 4" giant roaches who fly at you when you turn on the light in the middle of the night. But I'm working on it! At least when I swat them with a broom I aim to stun, not maim, and apologize profusely as I sweep them out into the night, to have another chance at life. 

I've even learned to share. When I pick a papaya, or some pigeon peas that we've raised, and I spot some other creatures munching down, I no longer discard it with an "eeeyyoooooo". I remove the crawly part and either compost it or share it with my chickens. And the rest is ours. There's plenty for everyone!

So with my new-found appreciation of those other species I share my environment with, I was authentically appalled when I saw this article this morning, "The decline of insects and what it means".

 You can find it here: http://www.panna.org/blog/decline-insects-and-what-it-means

 Here's what they have to say!

The news over the past few weeks has been riddled with headlines like “Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’,” “Monarch butterflies are going extinct,” and “The insect apocalypse is here.” If it sounds bad, that’s because it is.

You probably know that bees and other pollinators are in trouble for several reasons — including increased overall pathogen loads, poor nutrition, habitat loss and pesticide exposure.

But these alarm bells over the broader state of emergency that insects are facing underscore the fact that yes, bees and other pollinators are in trouble. But they aren’t the only insects crucial to keeping an ecological balance, nor are they the only insects at risk.

The decline of the monarch

While honey bees are the most commonly discussed pollinator endangered by pesticide exposure, there is a very wide range of pollinators beyond honey bees — including about 4,000 types of bees, butterflies, bats and birds — that can be impacted by agricultural chemicals.

This year, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation reported that California’s monarch butterfly numbers are at an all-time low, declining more than 85 percent from 2017. And this massive drop comes after years of decline; 97 percent of monarch butterflies have already disappeared since the 1980s.

Scientists say the monarchs are threatened by pesticides, herbicides, and the destruction of butterflies’ milkweed habitat along their migratory route. Climate change is also a factor, with carbon dioxide from car and factory exhaust reducing a natural toxin in milkweed that feeding caterpillars use to fight parasites.

Where are the bugs?

Beyond the monarch news, another recent study has warned that insect populations are declining worldwide due to pesticide use and other factors, with a potentially catastrophic effect on the planet. The study warns that more than 40% of insect species could become extinct in the next few decades.

While insects are routinely depicted as mildly annoying at best and a downright plague at worst, they make up around 70% of all animal species and serve as the structural and functional base of many of the world’s ecosystems. Until now, the broad conversation around endangered species has largely focused on vertebrate species, but entomologist Don Sands shares that insects are “the small creatures that run the world.”

The decline of even one species of insect could have dire consequences for food and farming: "If we don't have insects as moderators of other pest populations, we have insect populations that flare up and ruin crops and make them difficult to grow.”

Immediate action needed

Experts recommend taking radical and immediate action to prevent large scale insect extinction. These include overhauling existing agricultural methods. In particular, we need a serious reduction in pesticide use replaced with more sustainable, ecologically-based practices.

Integrated pest management is one such approach to sustainably managing insects, as it focuses on prevention rather than treatment, and uses environmentally friendly options to safeguard crops. The goal is not to eliminate insect pests entirely, but to keep their numbers at a point to which they no longer cause a problem.

Unless we change how we produce food, and move away from chemical pest management more broadly, we’ll be in big trouble. This shift in conversation around the importance of insects is an important first step.

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 The Pesticide Action Network is so active and I appreciate their efforts. You should check them out and follow them!  

 
 

Have You Had Your "Royal Nectar" Today?

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We've been talking about it for a long time! Chef Rolf has been blending just the right mix of yummy beehive bounties to create a delicious, nutritious, super immune-booster. Enter "Royal Nectar!"  So here's what he did! Our beloved German Master Chef took some of our raw Tropical Wildflower honey, and combined it with pollen, propolis and royal jelly! Now there's a nutritional powerhouse!!! Each of those additions is popularly taken as a supplement in it's own right. But, in case you have explored any of them, their flavor profile leaves something to be desired. That's saying it nicely....

Still, health enthusiasts everywhere grin and bear it (as opposed to "bare it" which would be another story entirely!) They endure their propolis and royal jelly because of their superior immune boosting properties.

So since Rolf possesses a superior palette, i.e. trained as a classical European Chef gone wild, we let him loose on this super honey blend project. It wasn't quick. It was an adventure.

And now, TA DAAAAA, it's done, ready and waiting, and truthfully I can't stop eating it. I started small, just a half teaspoon, to see if I could tolerate the pollen. I could. Increased to 1 tsp. Then 2. Now, I steal a spoonful every time I pass the kitchen and we consumed a jar and a half over the weekend!

Anyway, we're proud parents and ready to release this yummy healthfulness to the world. You can find it here: https://www.beemyhoney.buzz/online-store.html#!/Royal-Nectar-Immune-Booster/p/131766861/category=0    Happy snacking! 

 
 

Candle stubs and Father Daniel!

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Yesterday I received a call from Father Daniel McKenzie of St. Vladimir Russian Orthodox Church. Seems they had an office full of beeswax stubs from candles burned over the years. Would we like them? YES, we would!!

So we went and picked up an entire truckload of little tiny candle stubs, which we will happily recycle into NEW candles. More than that, he was the coolest guy ever, and the church was a lovely little house and they gave us some apple pie to boot! And, the middle spire over the entrance gate? Had a colony of wild bees buzzing happily...A divine experience all the way around! Thank you, Father Daniel!

 
 

Got Honey?

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You can never have enough pure honey is my motto! With a shelf life of over 4,000 years, antibiotic and antiviral properties and a host of other health benefits, it's nature's perfect sweetener! (I confess, I drink it straight from the bottle!) We've got Tropical Wildflower, Orange Blossom, Lychee, Saw Palmetto and Key Lime. And....every bottle comes with a FREE RECIPE BOOKLET. I love honey! Don't you?

I really love the exotic varieties we have here in the subtropics. They have such incredible diversity.... 

Get some today! From $7.00
https://www.firelady.com/products.asp?cat=18

 
 

Butternut Squash Soup

I love when Autumn arrives and we begin to get ready for Halloween and all of the harvest celebrations. Here's a recipe from the National Honey Board for Butternut Squash Soup that I thought you might like!

https://www.honey.com/recipe/butternut-squash-soup

 
 

Do YOU Know How Honey is Made?

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Do YOU know how honey is made?
Honey starts as flower nectar collected by bees, which gets broken down into simple sugars stored inside the honeycomb. Constant fanning of the bees' wings causes evaporation, creating sweet liquid honey. Honey's color and flavor varies based on the type of nectar collected. Oange blossom nectar is light in color so the honey created is also light. Honey from avocado or wildflowers might have a dark amber color. The darker honeys are a bit more robust in flavor. I think they're the most interesting, personally. But they all have their place, and when you're cooking it's fun to have choices...

 
 

Did You Know Honey Could Do All This?

We thought it would be fun to share this from the National Honey Board:

https://honey.com/about-honey/honey-benefits 

In addition to being an amazing natural sweetener, honey has benefits that have gone largely unknown. It's a wholesome sore-throat soother, a natural energy booster and more. 

Nutrition

It's not just versatile, varied and delicious. Research has shown that honey contains a wide array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants3. Flavonoids and phenolic acids, which act as antioxidants, are found in honey3. The amount and type of these compounds depends largely on the floral source3

Sweetener

Honey is sweet—that’s a given. And it adds a special touch to almost every recipe. It can be your secret ingredient that's always revealing new possibilities. Many people think of honey as a drizzle in desserts or a topping for toast. But more and more, honey is being recognized as a pantry staple. It gives your recipes unbeatable flavor and unexpected functional benefits. From balancing flavors to providing moisture to baked goods, honey excels in a slew of tasks—all from one little bottle and only one ingredient.

Natural Energy

Honey is a natural source of carbohydrates, providing 17 grams per tablespoon, which makes it ideal for your working muscles. Since carbohydrates are the primary fuel the body uses, honey can help maintain muscle glycogen, also known as stored carbohydrates, which gives athletes the boost they need when they need it most.

Cough Suppressant

Honey has been used for centuries to help alleviate symptoms of the common cold, and now research confirms this approach for children ages one and older. Honey offers an effective and natural alternative to over-the-counter cough medicine4. Though time is the most important healer of a sore throat, a spoonful of honey can help relieve the irritation4.

Important Reminder

Honey is a versatile and wholesome food for older children and adults. Honey may be introduced into a child’s diet after the age of one, but not before4, 5.

 
 

We Harvested Our Big Pine Key Honey Before Hurricane Irma Blew the Island Blew Away!

We are so grateful that our beehives in Miami were not damaged by Hurricane Irma! And we are especially happy that we harvested our Black Mangrove honey from Big Pine Key before the hurricane wreaked its havoc and destruction! 

It may be quite some time before we can harvest from there again, but for now, we've got a 50 lb. bucket of one of our favorite floral varieties safely here in Miami.

The reason we love this Florida Keys honey is that it tastes like, well, butterscotch. The flavor is created by the blend of Black Mangrove nectar, along with some of the other tropical nectars from flowers that blossom at the same time.....It is remarkably reminiscent of butterscotch.

Another thing I like about it is it's low viscosity.

What does that mean? Well, Orange Blossom is a very thick honey, for instance. That's great sometimes, but if you put it in a pitcher of iced tea it would sink straight to the bottom. Black Mangrove honey, being very runny honey, disperses happily in your iced tea, and is my absolute favorite on french toast or pancakes. Doesn't glue the pancakes together, but absorbs and flows, and frankly, makes it so that you need very little butter.

I also like to use it in my smoothies, uncooked sauces (like honey/mustard sauce for stone crabs) and salad dressings for the same reason....disperses easily.

And I've been known to drink it from the squeeze bottle, straight. I can't help it. 

So I'm thrilled that we have enough to get us through the season, until flowers can blossom there once again. And my heart goes out to those in the Florida Keys who are still waiting for power and assessing the damage to their homes and their lives. May their storm recovery be as rapid and painless as possible!

 
 

Yummy Honey Ice Cream!

YIELD: 1 quart

INGREDIENTS

4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups half-and-half or dairy mix*
Optional infusions, add-ins or swirls see below

DIRECTIONS

Whisk together eggs, honey, and salt in medium bowl. In medium saucepan, bring half-and-half to a full simmer with any infusions. Remove from heat. Refrigerate until completely cool.

Process custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions; add soft ingredients such as 1/2 cup sliced bananas or raspberries half way through freezing, or chunky ingredients like nuts or candy during the last 2 to 5 minutes.

Transfer to bowl or tub, add any desired swirls and serve, or cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.

 Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board.

I like to make this using our Butterbee honey, my pet name for our Florida Keys variety that has a butterscotch influence, a contribution of the Black Mangrove nectar that makes it so yummy! It's a low viscosity honey so it's much easier to dissolve in liquids than a really thick honey....

Add-ins: Half way through the churning add up to 1 cup of fruit. Or, during the last 2 to 5 minutes add 1/2 cup nuts, bits of pure honey comb or chocolate bits.https://honey.com/recipe/homemade-honey-ice-cream-master-recipe
 
 

Honey of the Harvest Club!

It all happened last Sunday. We were enjoying the aroma of newly ripening honey in our backyard apiary. Inspiration and sweetness filled the air. And Rolf said...."What about a club where folks could get different kinds of honey all year long?"  I might be prejudiced, but I thought it was a brilliant idea.

And so, the "Honey of the Harvest Club" was born!

This is what we've implemented so far: Members will receive 12 different honeys, in 1 lb. bottles, free recipes and a quarterly e-newsletter. All of our honey is Fresh from Florida, raw, unfiltered and unprocessed.

We're working on all sorts of additional things as well: special pricing on soaps, gifts, and candles. Tours of our apiary and edible food forest for our members. Stuff like that.

So what do you think? You can contact us at: marcie@beemyhoney.buzz  or call Rolf at (305) 332-5892. We'd love your feedback! 

 
 
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