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Honey

Let’s learn how to start having bees and making honey on a homestead in arid South Africa. Beekeeping can be exciting and rewarding! Here’s a simple guide to get you started:

Step 1: Learn About Bees: Before you start, it’s essential to learn about bees and how to take care of them. Read books, watch videos, and talk to experienced beekeepers to understand their needs and behaviors.

Step 2: Choose the Right Location: Find a suitable spot on your homestead for the beehives. Bees like sunny areas with some shade during the hottest parts of the day. Make sure the location is away from busy areas where people often pass by.

Step 3: Get the Right Equipment: To start beekeeping, you’ll need some equipment. The main things you’ll need are:

  • Beehives: These are boxes where the bees live and make honey.
  • Frames: These go inside the beehive and hold the honeycomb where the bees store honey.
  • Beekeeping Suit: This will protect you from bee stings while you work with the bees.
  • Smoker: A tool that blows smoke into the hive to calm the bees when you open it.

Step 4: Get Your Bees: You can get bees from a local beekeeper or buy a package of bees from a bee supplier. The package usually contains a queen bee and worker bees. Gently introduce the bees into the hive.

Step 5: Care for Your Bees: Bees need attention and care. Check on them regularly to make sure they have enough food (nectar and pollen) and water. Make sure the hive is clean and free from pests.

Step 6: Harvesting Honey: When the bees have made enough honey, you can harvest some of it. A beekeeper uses a special tool called a honey extractor to remove honey from the honeycomb without harming the bees.

Step 7: Enjoy the Honey: Congratulations! Now you have your very own honey! Enjoy the sweet and delicious reward of your hard work and care for the bees.

Important Tips:

  • Always wear your beekeeping suit and gloves when working with the bees to avoid getting stung.
  • Be gentle and calm around the bees. Sudden movements or loud noises can startle them.
  • Check local regulations and any permits you may need before starting beekeeping.

Remember, bees are essential pollinators for plants, and by keeping bees, you’ll not only have honey but also help your garden and surrounding plants thrive. Have fun and bee-come a successful beekeeper in arid South Africa! Buzz on and happy beekeeping! 🐝🌼

Honey is already harvested in our forested areas. Focus here needs to be on the sustainability of the harvest. This can be ensured by making the villagers the owners of their land through the community land trust scheme and the harvesting being controlled by the Board of Trustees. This will ensure that those who keep the bees (and the trees on which they rely) also are the ones who benefit from them. Honey is a very welcome addition to the diet as it is a sweetener which we can produce locally.

Consider buying a FLOW Hive or two and also plan food forests to make them ideal for bees, including flowering plants all year long and windbreaks to minimize bee flight energy.

For harvesting Flow hives it is as easy as turning the key and you have honey-on-tap. Generally, you don’t need equipment or much protective wear for that, maybe just a hat veil and gloves. It depends on how aggressive the bees are that you have in the hive and how ‘scared’ or allergic you are of bees. We always advise clients to first get a hive with bees in it and get to know the bees and see how comfortable you are around them.

You must do brood maintenance once or twice a year to keep your swarm healthy and strong. This process involves opening up the hive for which you will need a bee suit or jacket, gloves, smoker and hive tool.

It really depends on how involved you want to get with beekeeping, but you can just keep a hive and harvest the honey. So for that, we would suggest an AH4 hive, which is assembled and baited and ready to put out to attract a passing swarm. Should you not get a swarm to move in you can buy bees from a local beekeeper.

We have got package deals which include the complete Flow hive, Smoker, Hive tool, Gloves and a Jacket with veil.

However, if you are rather scared of bees or even allergic, then I would suggest a full suit and then I’ll quote you separately on everything you need.

If you would like, you can visit our depot in whk and see about the different hive tools, gloves and clothing to then make a decision.

info@easybeesyautohives.co.za

Some other notable contact people in Namibia.

Roland zu Bentheim (‭+264 816357323‬), Michael Steinbrück, Mike Demtschuk or Udo Schluckwerder (produces Honey on his farm)

Unfortunately we do not have that many natural sufficient populations of wild flowers or any large seed sources for the few we do have in Namibia. But there are ways to provide habitats and forage grounds for bees and pollinators like bubble bees, wasps and solitary bees in your gardens. Many herbs make excellent sources high quality nectar and pollen. Herbs such as Marjoram/Oregano, Rosemary, Borage, camomile, chives, mint, basils, lavender, sage, comfrey, hyssop fennel and dill all are super pollinator attractors.

Different Types of Bee Hives and Their Advantages

Beekeeping, an age-old practice dating back thousands of years, has evolved significantly, especially in terms of hive designs. Beekeepers around the world use various types of bee hives, each with its own set of advantages suited to different climates, bee species, and management preferences. Let’s delve into the most common types of bee hives and the benefits they offer:

1. Langstroth Hive:

  • Advantages:
    • Modularity: Langstroth hives consist of stackable boxes with frames, allowing for easy expansion and manipulation during hive inspections.
    • Standardization: Widely used and recognized, Langstroth hives facilitate the exchange of frames and equipment among beekeepers.
    • Ventilation: The hive’s design promotes good airflow, reducing moisture buildup and minimizing the risk of diseases like chalkbrood.

2. Top-Bar Hive:

  • Advantages:
    • Simplicity: Top-bar hives have a straightforward design, making them ideal for beginners or those seeking a less intrusive beekeeping approach.
    • Natural Comb Building: Bees in top-bar hives build comb downwards from removable bars, mimicking their natural behavior.
    • Less Equipment: These hives require fewer components than Langstroth hives, reducing initial setup costs.

3. Warre Hive:

  • Advantages:
    • Vertical Design: Warre hives mimic the natural vertical expansion of honeybee colonies, promoting swarm control and colony health.
    • Minimal Disturbance: With a design focused on minimal intervention, Warre hives are suitable for beekeepers who prefer a hands-off approach.
    • Insulation: The quilt box and roof design of Warre hives provide insulation, helping colonies regulate temperature and humidity.

4. Flow Hive:

  • Advantages:
    • Harvesting Convenience: Flow hives feature a unique honey harvesting system that allows beekeepers to collect honey without disturbing the bees or opening the hive.
    • Reduced Stress: The non-invasive harvesting method minimizes stress on the bees, resulting in calmer and happier colonies.
    • Educational Tool: Flow hives offer a fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of bee colonies, making them excellent educational tools for beekeepers and enthusiasts alike.

5. Horizontal Hive:

  • Advantages:
    • Accessibility: Horizontal hives have a low profile and open from the side, making hive inspections and honey extraction easier on the beekeeper’s back.
    • Natural Bee Behavior: These hives allow bees to build comb in a horizontal plane, which closely resembles their natural behavior in tree hollows.
    • Cold Climate Suitability: Horizontal hives with insulated walls offer excellent protection against cold weather, making them suitable for beekeepers in colder climates.

6. Skep Hive:

  • Advantages:
    • Historical Significance: Skep hives have a long history in beekeeping and are valued for their traditional charm and aesthetic appeal.
    • Natural Material: Traditionally made from straw or wicker, skeps provide insulation and breathability, creating a comfortable environment for bees.
    • Swarm Management: While not commonly used for modern beekeeping due to limited access and honey extraction difficulties, skeps can be effective for capturing swarms or housing small colonies.

Each type of bee hive offers unique advantages, catering to the diverse needs and preferences of beekeepers worldwide. Whether you prioritize ease of management, natural bee behavior, or innovative harvesting methods, there’s a hive design suited to your specific requirements. Ultimately, the choice of hive type depends on factors such as climate, beekeeping goals, and personal preferences, but all contribute to the vital task of supporting and sustaining honeybee populations.

How to Test Honey for Purity

Honey, often dubbed as nature’s liquid gold, is a beloved sweetener cherished for its rich flavor and numerous health benefits. However, due to its popularity and economic value, the market sometimes sees adulterated or impure versions of this natural delight. To ensure you’re getting the real deal, it’s essential to know how to test honey for purity.

The safest way to ensure you’re getting pure, high-quality honey is by purchasing directly from a local beekeeper. This direct connection offers the assurance of knowing the source and production methods firsthand. Unfortunately, in many cases, honey sold by various sellers is imported and bottled, leading to uncertainty about its contents and origin.

In Namibia, the beekeeping industry is relatively small, and there are capacity limitations that restrict oversight and regulation by forestry authorities. Consequently, some sellers may operate with minimal accountability. It’s essential to be vigilant when purchasing honey, as natural honey will inevitably crystallize with age, while impure honey, often adulterated with syrup, will remain runny and fail to crystallize. Another distinguishing factor is the behavior of honey when stirred in water; natural honey will dissolve slowly, whereas impure honey will dissolve quickly and completely. Initiatives like this wiki platform hold promise for enhancing food security and availability in Namibia, offering opportunities for knowledge sharing and innovation within the agricultural sector. Such initiatives pave the way for a brighter future in our beloved Land of The Brave. We express gratitude for the efforts dedicated to this cause. 🙌🏾✌🏾

Here are some reliable methods you can employ in your own kitchen:

1. The Water Test:

  • Procedure: Fill a glass with water and add a tablespoon of honey into it.
  • Observation: Pure honey will settle at the bottom of the glass without dissolving, while adulterated honey or honey with added sugar will dissolve or form lumps.
  • Interpretation: If the honey dissolves quickly or forms lumps, it likely contains added sugars or other substances.

2. The Thumb Test:

  • Procedure: Place a small drop of honey on your thumb.
  • Observation: Pure honey will remain intact on your thumb and not spread or get absorbed quickly.
  • Interpretation: If the honey spreads or gets absorbed rapidly, it may contain excess moisture or added syrups.

3. The Flame Test:

  • Procedure: Dip the tip of a matchstick into honey and strike it against the matchbox.
  • Observation: Pure honey will ignite easily and produce a clean, steady flame.
  • Interpretation: If the honey fails to ignite or produces a sputtering or crackling flame, it may contain water or other impurities.

4. The Paper Test:

  • Procedure: Place a few drops of honey on a piece of absorbent paper or a napkin.
  • Observation: Pure honey will be absorbed slowly and leave a mark that doesn’t spread much.
  • Interpretation: If the honey is absorbed quickly or leaves a large spreading mark, it may contain added water or other liquid ingredients.

5. The Spoon Test:

  • Procedure: Dip a spoon into honey and observe its flow.
  • Observation: Pure honey will flow in a steady stream without breaking.
  • Interpretation: If the honey drips erratically or breaks into separate streams, it may have been diluted with water or other substances.

6. The Taste and Aroma Test:

  • Procedure: Taste and smell the honey.
  • Observation: Pure honey will have a distinct aroma and flavor characteristic of the flowers from which it was made.
  • Interpretation: If the honey lacks aroma or tastes overly sweet with no floral notes, it may have been adulterated or heated excessively.

7. The Crystallization Test:

  • Procedure: Observe the honey’s consistency over time.
  • Observation: Pure honey tends to crystallize over time, forming small granules without affecting its quality.
  • Interpretation: If the honey remains in a liquid state indefinitely or forms large crystals quickly, it may have been heated or mixed with syrups.

By employing these simple yet effective tests, you can ensure that the honey you’re consuming is pure and of high quality. Remember that pure honey not only tastes better but also offers a plethora of health benefits. So, the next time you’re indulging in this golden elixir, take a moment to verify its purity and savor the sweetness of nature in its truest form.

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