Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Pollen - Natural News

Honey bee carrying pollen back to the hive

Bees have been in the news a lot lately, and not for good reasons. Colony collapse disorder has been debated around the world, with fingers being pointed at many culprits. Not only does this crisis affect our overall food production, but it also hampers the production of one of nature's richest and most healing superfoods - bee pollen.

A powerhouse of nutrition

Pollen on anthers of lily
Bee pollen is considered one of nature's most complete foods. It contains nearly all the nutrients required by humans and about half of its 40% protein content is in the form of free amino acids and is highly bioavailable to the human body.

Bee pollen helps correct diets that are nutrient deficient or imbalanced through its remarkable nutrient profile that is not only comprehensive but also very well balanced. It contains the richest known source of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, hormones, enzymes and fats, as well as significant quantities of natural antibiotics.

Revel in the nutrients present in this miraculous superfood:

• A rich source of carotenoids (which convert to vitamin A)
• Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin E
• Calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, silicon, sulphur and 59 other trace minerals
• 22 amino acids, which contain five to seven times the amino acids found in equal weights of beef, milk, eggs or cheese
• Enzymes including amylase, catalase, cozymase, cytochrome, dehydrogenase, diaphorase, diastase, lactic acids, pectase and phosphatase

In a nutrient-starved world, incorporating bee pollen with its exceptional vitamin, mineral, amino acid and enzyme profile could go a long way in filling in the gaps of your day to day nutrition.

Healing action of bee pollen

The overall effects of bee pollen are comprehensive, as it appears to activate systemic biological functions rather than focusing on one physiological area. After many years of testing, bee pollen has also been noted as lacking any harmful side effects, and it is easily digestible and suitable for all ages.

The many healing properties of bee pollen include:

• Promotes growth of healthy new cells
• Encourages increased tissue repair
• Enhances toxin elimination
• Reduces cholesterol levels
• Regulates blood pressure
• Increases resistance to infections
• Stabilizes the nervous system
• Improves fertility in women
• Retards growth of tumors
• Eliminates excessive calcium deposits
• Helps release excessive uric acid
Scotts Pine pollen grain
• Promotes skin tissue growth and counteracts wrinkling
• Increases calmness and relaxation
• Promotes increased concentration and memory
• Enhances sexual activity
• Promotes increased strength, stamina, endurance and energy levels
• Combats cancer, diabetes, arthritis and depression

Considering that all disease is partially rooted in nutrient deficiency, it is no wonder why this nutrient-dense superfood has such a positive effect on all the biological functions of the body.

How to incorporate bee pollen into your diet

Bee collecting pollen
When deciding to incorporate bee pollen into your healthy lifestyle, there are a few factors you want to consider, including buying it raw (not pasteurized) and as local as possible.

You also want to take care that you do not heat the bee pollen at higher temperatures (above 105°F), as it will destroy the delicate enzymes and vitamin C content.

A great way to incorporate bee pollen into your diet is by simply eating the granules themselves, or incorporating them into smoothies, yogurt, trail mixes, cereal and oatmeal.

Considering the positive effects that bee pollen can have on our diet, and the fact that they pollinate many of the world's crops, let's do our best to support the industry and feel better physically in the process.

Sources for this article include:

Alternatives Central

Learn more: Natural News

DMBKA Bee Library

Beekeeping Library

Available to all members of Dengie 100 & Maldon Beekeepers.

A full list of all the books/publications currently held by DMBKA will be published shortly.

During the winter months, why not borrow a book and read one of the many books we have on keeping bees.

If you have any beekeeping books that you are prepared to loan out to other members, please contact the secretary with details.

The Beekeepers Year - Guide to "What to do"

The Beekeepers Year

What to do and when. A helpful guide for beekeepers 

December, January & February

What to Do …

Monitor hive entrance for build up of dead bees and blockage. Wedge up the back of the hive to ensure the floor slopes gently forwards. Repair Woodpecker and other damage to stop wind / weather getting in. Ensure the roof is secure; bricks, blocks and/or a strap will do the job. Gently heft (lift) the hive to check food weight, if light put block of Candy over the feedhole, a shallow eke may be needed. Record your observations for each Hive in a book each time you visit; more reliable than a memory!

Essential Equipment

  • Protective Clothing, Smoker, Hive Tools.
  • Record Book.
  • Ply, foam, Drawing pins etc.
  • Straps, Bricks, wedge.
  • Candy in tubs or blocks, Shallow Eke to allow candy block over Crown Board.


What to Do

During early March continue to monitor the Hive entrance for damage by weather or attack, Animal or Human! Pay close attention to weight of the hive if weather is warming up the colony should be growing quickly and food consumption will increase considerably, replace Candy block if consumed. Later on consider giving a weak Syrup (weather dependent).

Essential Equipment

  • Protective Clothing, Smoker, Hive Tools.
  • As above Later in the month possibly a liquid feeder and syrup.
  • Record Book.


What to Do

The colony should be growing very quickly now so food supply will need to be maintained if the hive is light. Feed if required with half strength Syrup. On a warm day remove the Eke, Entrance Block and Mouse Guard if fitted. Change the Floor for a clean one prepared during winter. Later remove the Feeder and put on a Queen Excluder and a Super(s) if required to give space for the growing numbers. Insert Varroa treatment for 42 Days only (2 Brood Cycles). Remove before Honey flows into the Supers. Be vigilant Swarming can begin in late April! Consider one or more ‘Bait hives’ in the Apiary to catch Swarms.

Essential Equipment

  • Protective Clothing, Smoker, Hive Tools.
  • Feeder and Syrup.
  • Varroa Treatment.
  • Clean sound floor with no gaps for Wax Moth to occupy, preferably ‘flamed’.
  • Varroa Treatment Queen Excluder and Super/s.
  • Sterilise your extractor for use / consider upgrade.
  • Bag for rubbish removal.
  • Bait Hive and Swarm Lure.
  • Record Book.


What to Do

Begin thorough and regular inspections of the Brood Comb. Work old comb to the outside so that it can be removed and replaced. Old comb harbours disease and should be replaced systematically as good practice. Aim to change 35% per annum. If necessary remove outside  frames clogged with food. These can be given back in the Autumn after storing in the freezer. Ensure enough food and Pollen remains in the brood Chamber. Place new frames and Foundation  either side of the brood nest to allow the Queen to increase her nest size. Congestion can cause swarming. Additional Supers may now be required. Remove Varroa treatment before honey flow into supers. Consider one or more ‘Bait hives’ in the Apiary to catch Swarms.

Essential Equipment

  • Protective Clothing, Smoker, Hive Tools.
  • New Frames and Foundation. Spare Brood Chamber/s for carrying Frames in and out of Apiary.
  • Spare Supers  ready to use or to exchange for extraction.
  • Bait Hives & Swarm Lures.
  • Bag for rubbish removal.
  • Record Book.


What to Do

Continue to examine (and if possible exchange)  Brood Frames for any signs of disease or swarming. The brood  should be able to  occupy most of the Brood Chamber this month. Swarming will continue through June so you will have to continue to be vigilant. You may be able to take off some frames of capped Honey or even complete Supers, ensure you have empty Frames or Supers to replace those taken.

Essential Equipment

  • Protective Clothing, Smoker, Hive Tools. Record Book.
  • New Brood Frames and Foundation.
  • Spare Supers with Frames and Foundation.
  • Bee Escapes for clearing Supers. Bee Brush.

July & August

What to Do

Swarming should be over by early July allowing the Colony and you to concentrate on collecting Nectar. The Honey for harvesting and the Queen Excluder should be taken off in early August allowing the bees to collect what little remains for themselves and Varroa strips to be put in for 42 days (2 Brood Cycles)  Early August insert Entrance block to reduce entrances so the diminishing colony can defend against Wasps.

Essential Equipment

  • Protective Clothing, Smoker, Hive Tools.
  • Record Book.
  • Spare Supers with Frames and Foundation.
  • Bee Escapes for clearing Supers.
  • Bee Brush.
  • Varroa Strips.
  • Entrance Blocks.


What to Do

It is time now to feed the colony for the winter replacing the Honey taken. This is done by adding 1 Kg bag of Granulated Sugar to a pint of water and heating until all the sugar is in solution, add Fumidil B for Nosema. The colony will need at least 15Kg (more for the bigger hives) of this Syrup to make it through the cold months ahead. Feeding needs to be completed before the end of the month allowing the colony to process off the excess water. Remove Varroa strips after 42 days. Fit a mouse guard to the entrance.

Essential Equipment

  • Protective Clothing, Smoker, Hive Tools.
  • Record Book.
  • Feeder and Syrup with Fumadil B. Feeders.
  • Large Eke for bucket type feeders.

October, November December

What to Do

With all the required syrup now in the brood chamber all should be well for winter. Fit a mouse guard to the entrance if not done already. Strap and or weigh down the roof against winter wind. Monitor the now small entrance regularly for the build up of dead bees. Bees are dying all the time and just a few can block the entrance leaving the others unable to get out for water or toileting. Unchecked a few dead bees can lead to the loss of the whole colony. Keep a regular check for Woodpecker damage or rain getting in. Be aware that  deer or other animals could knock the hive over rubbing against to satisfy an itch. Feeding should not be required yet but keep an emergency block of Candy with you just in case, Most of the colonies that die out are due to starvation. Most important remember bees are Livestock and we have a duty to look after them as best we can.

Essential Equipment

  • Protective Clothing, Smoker, Hive Tools.
  • Record Book.
  • Blocks or bricks.
  • Straps.
  • Mouse guards.
  • Ply, foam, Drawing pins etc. Straps, Bricks, wedge.
  • Candy in tubs or blocks.
  • Books Videos and magazines.

Free Moments

What to Do

Read as many Bee books, Magazines and watch as many Video’s as you can get your hands on. The more you learn the easier and more rewarding Beekeeping becomes. It is a privilege to keep Bees; enjoy every minute!

Essential Equipment

  • Reference Books
  • Beekeeping Video guides

National Hive - Plans