Can you help Save the Bees?

image courtesy of GiGi

Short answer, YES!

In light of the not so recent  Monsanto Scandal, and the decrease of the bee population as a whole, we should be doing our part to make sure bees get a fighting chance. Here are a few things that we ALL could do to help our bees, so listen up!

Plant Things: If you have a yard, some space, or even a few pots… put some flowers in them, or pant a few vegetables if you can. If you increase the amount of pollen, you increase the bees productivity, which creates more bees. Plus, variety is the spice of life, so give the bees lots of different options. How fun would it be to flower bomb an area in your neighborhood? Just take a trip down to your local home and garden store and get a few seed packets, that’s all you need to start!

Go Organic: Once you have your flowers/gardens in, try a completely organic route. There’s no question that chemicals and pesticides kills bees (and other helpful insects, animals… and are generally not that great for you either). There are many ways that you can avoid nasty chemicals in your gardens. You could try this or go here or take a look here for some tips to get you started.

Buy Honey: There has to be a local farmer out there selling honey at your farmer’s market. Get some! Beekeeping seems to be catching on as a fun and important hobby. The more we support local bee farmers, the more we help out the bee population. Plus, we already saw the delightful ways honey can help you in GiGi’s last post. Try some of them out and let us know what you think!

Don’t BEE Afraid: See what I did there? All joking aside, we know that bees sting and that it hurts, but there is no reason to be afraid of them (unless, you are very allergic, then by all means). Spread the word about how great bees are and what they do for all of us!  And maybe some day you can tell people how great the honey was that you bought from those two awesome (crazy?) beekeeping sisters!

We want to know what you are doing to help Save the Bees, so report back!

xo

Madame W

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On honey and its abilities to cure what ails you

As the unruly weather in the Midwest dramatically changes seasons it seems I have, once again, become very ill. So while everyone else seems to be out celebrating Cinco de Mayo/The Kentucky Derby/The rise of the “Super Moon,” I find myself lying on the couch with a cat and a pug, watching television premiers of absolutely terrible movies.

I did manage to make it to a clinic though, but they couldn’t come up with a cure and considering my awful history with antibiotics -that once led to a night in the hospital- they were not willing to readily prescribe medications. What they did offer were a few suggestions to help me recover, including drinking lots of tea with a heaping tablespoonful of (all things) honey! You always hear about using honey for sore throats but it was the first time I had a doctor prescribe it to me.

This got me thinking, “I wonder if you can use honey for other home remedies to aid everyday ailments?” and what I found was a surprising list of uses for honey. So, I thought I’d share a few:

Use honey as a moisturizer. Add a tablespoon of liquid honey to a bottle of lotion. Sweet and soft!

Use honey as a face wash. Honey is a natural antimicrobial which makes it great for fighting breakouts and is gentler on your skin than hard chemical facewashes. Just take a glob of honey and add it to warm water, then scrub it on your face. It can also help relieve psoriasis and fungal skin infections like ring worm.

Use honey as a natural Neosporin. Honey is a natural antiseptic and good for your skin too.

Use honey to embalm a loved one. Ancient Egyptians used honey as an embalming agent before mummifying the dead.

Use honey to relieve allergies. The thought on how this works is that honey contains small remnants of pollen- every time you ingest local honey, you expose you body to the local allergens that cause you to suffer. It’s like a flu shot, but less painful!

Use honey to recover after a workout/a hard night of drinking. Honey has natural electrolytes in it so any time you are feeling a little low on energy, have some honey and it can give you a boost.

Use honey to prepare for 2012. Honey is the only food that won’t “go bad”  (well, honey and maybe Twinkies). It might crystallize over time but running the bottle under hot water will make it liquify again. This makes it a perfect food for that upcoming society-eradicating apocalypse.

Use honey to make your everyday life more awesome. Just eat it. And if you buy it from a local farmer I promise your life will be even more awesome.

Wonderful!

I hope you enjoy your holiday, whatever it might be that you celebrate today. As for me, I’ll be on the couch with a Hot Toddy.

R.I.P. MCA,

GiGi

(Special note: I would like to state that I (1.) am not an expert and (2.) would not recommend using any of these treatments on children without research)

When it comes to bees- why their stings are the least of my worries

About a week ago I got a text message at work:

“Have you ever been stung by a bee?”

It was from my older sister, Madame W. I tell her that, no, I haven’t been stung by a bee, per se, but I’ve been stung plenty of times by Yellow Jackets and Wasps.

“Ok. Just wanted to see if you were allergic.”

These were those fateful first words that catapult her and I into our grand experiment of reading books about beekeeping, signing up for classes, and trying to get everything we need to start our own apiary. And just yesterday she finally revealed our grand scheme to all of her friends.

“Great. Don’t get stung!” Seemed to be the sensible reaction. But when I thought about bees, their stingers became the least of my worries.

In early 2007, news outlets around the world began reporting the drastic decline of the bee population. Known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), it is when a beehive mysteriously falls apart despite the fact that nearly the entire order of the hive was as it should be.

If this is not even slightly alarming to you, it should be.

According to the US Department of Agriculture,  of the human diet is made up of crops from insect-pollinated plants, of those crops nearly 80% of that pollination is done by the honeybee. That means that about 2 out of 3 produce products you have in your fridge/tossed into your lunch bag/shoved into your mouth is the result of bees.

What caused this disease amongst our winged insect friends? Quite honestly, a few things, including possible fungi and maybe even cellphone reception. But a large contributing factor has been linked to pesticides and insecticides that can transfer to the flowers and nectar of plants. The EPA has approved the motion to use mass quantities of chemicals on our produce supply because the amount in the pollen was not enough to actually kill the bees but, unforeseen by capitalism, it has resulted in some dire events. A leading bee research firm, Beeologics (we love the “bee” pun… who knows why…), recently pointed the finger to the company Monsanto and their pesticides and genetically modified crops (GMOs) for being the culprit.

Don’t know Monsanto?

This is the company that has become famous for taking the potato, decimating the boundaries of evolution, spitting  in the eye of a higher power (if that’s your thing), and creating an unholy union between the potato and a bacteria so that the potato can produce its own pesticide to ward off insects. And you then get to ingest that pesticide. Don’t worry it’s safe... Or how about when thousands of farmers in India committed suicide after using Monsanto’s failed genetically modified crops. In light of these facts, it becomes little wonder that Monsanto won Natural Society’s Worst Company of 2011 Award.

So, when Beeologics pointed the finger at Monsanto, Monsanto did the most sensible and responsible action for a large corporation to do. It bought them out.

If you are not totally freaked out right now, you should be.

The result of this complete control over the top honeybee research should be obvious given this company’s recent history- Monsanto will either profit off of some sort of new and most likely just as awful chemical solution or just dig a hole, drop this mess in, and then turn around and bury it. Bees be damned.

So, what does this tirade of mine boil down to? That when I think about bees, I’m not afraid of being stung, I’m afraid that there will be no more bees around to sting me.

My own personal goal from this experiment and this blog isn’t just being able to start a new fun hobby with my sister, or capture a great picture of her running and squealing as a bee chases her (this is very likely), or even document the possible probably bee stings we’ll suffer. I hope with this new hobby and this new blog to interest, excite, and spark readers to take on their own beehive, or even plant their own organic garden. To learn that you don’t have to be an unwashed hippy (or hipster) to take control over what you eat and how it is grown.

And maybe we’ll help save the bees too.

Best wishes,
GiGi

From Dream to Reality

So, here we are… the very first post of the Beelievers. We are two sisters seeking a summer adventure and are here to document what we hope will be a exciting new hobby.

We’re talking Beekeeping here folks!

This idea just came to life a few short weeks ago. It became a spark, which has quickly set fire, and now we are just rolling along with it. We hope that as very novice beekeepers we can take you along the steps we have set- to conquer our goal of starting a hive and eventually harvesting local, organic honey. It’s a lofty endeavor, (and we are a little intimidated, mostly of getting stung) but so excited to learn!

Why?
In just a couple of weeks we have learned so much about these amazing little creatures. Not only can they make honey, (delicious) but they are important to a thriving ecosystem. Also, bees are just plain awesome!

So, we have ordered some books and signed up for a class…. and away we fly!

Wish us luck
-Madame W.