Spring Fling Giveaway: Bee Happy!

by - April 19, 2011

I’m new here at Love Sown, and I sometimes get lengthy… but I think you’ll enjoy the read! So hang in there with me….
Years ago whenever I told people I’d never been stung by a bee, I said it was because I was a “bee charmer.” (Please say you’ve all seen Fried Green Tomatoes.) I’ve never had a fear of bees so when we moved into our house in the middle of a downtown area and my horticulturist husband asked if we could have honeybees I actually thought it was a fun idea. (Since then, I have said no to chickens and a goat!)
Four summers later, we are still beekeeping and daily enjoying our harvest of honey. Our neighbors have noted increased production in their gardens and flowers and it has been an educational tool for so many. Our oldest daughter eats honey on everything and if you ask her about the bees, she’ll say she is a “bee charmer.” She has no fear of our little friends and knows the rules of the bees—you only go near the hives with mom or dad. She will sit in the grass in our backyard and call them hoping one might land on her outstretched hand.
Whatever your interest level in bees, they are very fascinating creatures. Here are just a few facts:

- Honey bees account for $14 billion a year in pollination services in the US.
- In the US honey bees account for 80% of all insect pollination. (You NEED them in your garden.)
- An average worker bee produces 1/12 of a tsp in her lifetime (6 weeks)—so if you don’t lick the spoon, a bee died in vain.
- Worker bees are female… are you surprised? I wasn’t.
- To gather 1 pound of honey, bees travel 25,000 miles, or a trip around the world.
- Honey has antiseptic properties and while there is a lot of talk about how it helps cure allergies, the research isn’t there to prove it yet. (Although I do think it has helped mine!)
- Honey bee numbers are drastically declining in the US for many reasons… diseases, pests, pesticides, etc.
Below are THREE ways you can help support your local bees:

1 ) Raise your own bees!! Call your local county extension office and find out where the beekeepers are in your county. These people have been doing it for years and most often love to welcome in some young blood. NOW is the perfect time of year to start!

2) Support the local honey industry because they are supporting your flowers and gardens! Buy honey at your local farmers’ market – it is SO different from what you purchase in the store.

3) Pay attention to what bees you kill at your home. DO NOT KILL HONEYBEES!! If you have a swarm in your yard, call your extension office. They have people that will come remove these bees for you. Honey bees are not aggressive but can sting to protect their home
For the record, I’ve been stung twice now since we began beekeeping and both were completely my fault. So, in all actuality, I’m not quite up to “bee charmer” status. :)

GIVEAWAY of the DAY!! To say thanks for reading and improving your bee knowledge, I am giving away a one pound jar of our Downtown Honey. To enter today's giveaway, comment with a bee story of your own. As a second entry, tweet or post on Facebook about this giveaway and leave a comment below. One comment for each entry! The winner will be announced here next week!
In addition, here are three great links for you:
- Apiculture at NC State…. be sure to click on extension, then beekeeping notes. There are some great documents there including what plants to plant in your yard to attract bees for pollination.

- NC Cooperative Extension Office… not only a great resource for bees, but for so many other aspects of everyday and community life. Check them out.
- The Extraordinary Ordinary… my family blog. I hope to be getting to know you better in the months ahead.

We are pleased to announce the winner of this giveaway is Susan Stevens!

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  1. i LOVE honey...so i guess that means i have to LOVE bees. but, i don't really like bees, i'm terrified of them. i've never been stung, but it has nothing to do with being a "bee charmer" and everything to do with freezing like a statue anytime one is near me. i've never killed a bee either. maybe they can sense that and consider me one of their own. either way, thanks for the honey, you bees.

  2. I'm not a bee lover, I've been stung many times! My husband has asked many times for them, but I just can't bring myself to be ok with them in our backyard! But i do buy local honey, but it doesn't compare to the Blevins' Downtown Honey!!

  3. A Bee Story. Jude is currently obsessed with the bumble bees that live in our yard. I guess it's OK since they aren't going to hurt him but it still freaks me out.

  4. if memory serves, i have only been stung by 1 honeybee: as a kid in flip flops, walking through a yard of clover (bees love those tiny white flowers). since then, i've been stung numerous times by yellow jackets and wasps. THOSE buggers are mean!

    we love honey in our household. nothing better than a peanut butter and honey sandwich on fresh bread!!

  5. oh, and for the record: i tweeted this link!

  6. mmmm honey! We love bees but I have to say, when we visited the NC zoo last year I was a little grossed out to hear that part of the honey-making process is when the bees throw it back up ;) Oh well. Tastes good to me!

  7. two things: 1)this one time, at a wave pool, after running to the picnic table after a particularly rough wave session, i took a sip of my root beer and i didn't know there was a bee in it! it swirled and buzzed in my mouth and i spat it out on the table. it didn't sting me, thank goodness, but it was the weirdest feeling in the world.
    2) my uncle and his daughter are both bee keepers.
    and i know i said that would be it, but i have a number 3. so, 3) my grandfather was a bee charmer!
    oh, and number 4) dave & i hope to keep bees some day. :-)
    that's it. i promise.

  8. I love honey, and just like your darling daughter, I put it on everything! I especially love it in my morning tea and on toast! In high school, for a biology report, I did a paper on the communication of bees! They do quite an intricate dance! Since I don't live in Gastonia, and probably won't win the contest, I'd be happy to buy a jar of honey from you, the next time you are in Hickory! Beeeeee happy!!!! Bzzzzzzz......

  9. We have a huge tulip tree in our front yard and when in bloom it sounds like we have a hive of our own. We love to stand under the tree and just listen to the bees working. Also, our 4-H club has a bee project and we promote bee awareness at local events by bringing a frame (encased, of course) of bees. We always have a swarm (ha) of people wanting to know more. Nice blog.

  10. I once stepped on a whole hive in the woods behind our house, was chased and eventually my dad had to strip me completely because they had flown up my shorts. It was quite the awkward, embarrassing, and painful experience. Needless to say I was maybe six years old. I love honey though, so good to bake with and put on a freshly made biscuit in the morning!!!

  11. I also haven't been "stung" by a bee, but I did step on one with my barefoot once, so that was definitely my fault. When I was a kid, I was (gullible) told that if you hold your breath, then you are invisible to the bee...well, the bee landed on my lips as I was holding my breath. Not sure what was more tramatic, the fact that it didn't work (or did it) or that I thought for sure it was going to sting me on the lips...lol.

    4allibaby at gmail dot com

  12. Wow, I love this post! I think my only story is that I buy my honey ONLY at the farmer's market. When I was pregnant I stalked our guy to be sure I had an adequate supply for the winter. I love this honey because it tastes great, but I also hope it will help with seasonal allergies.

  13. I'm fascinated with you guys that have hives. I don't think I've ever been very brave around bees, and I think I passed that onto my daughter Ella. She is pretty terrified of bees which isn't helped by the fact that we have a lot of carpenter bees enjoying our wooden porch right now (do you know how to stop them??). However she has recently decided that she has a pet bee. They talk and play...while the bee is outside the window and she is on the other side :)

  14. Have never been a fan of honey or bees...evidently I'm NOT a "bee charmer!" :/ However, after trying Downtown Honey I'm now a believer; it's the best honey ever! I may even try to be nice to bees now, well, not carpenter bees.



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