Climbing Trees with Honey Bees – Short History on Tree Beekeeping

Evidence dating back from the last Ice Age about 10,000 years ago, shows the first links between humans and the wild honey bee. As humans shifted from a hunter-gatherer society towards farming crops and domesticated animals, apiculture (beekeeping) was formed. During this period in time, humans shifted from hunting wild hives for honey to beekeeping domesticated hives. Ancient pottery dates beekeeping to about 9,000 years ago in Europe, East and North Africa.

Although the roots of Tree beekeeping only dates back over 1,000 years, it is considered one of the oldest methods of beekeeping traditionally practiced in the forests of Eastern Europe. Since wild bees in nature build nests high above the floor, beekeepers would replicate a natural hive by scaling trees and building cavities into it’s trunk.

Traditional tree keeping involved scaling trees and building hives inside the tree 9 meters above the ground

During the Middle Ages, an increase in demand for honey would spark a revolution in beekeeping, economics and politics. Since profits from beeswax and honey were worth more than 30 times the price of wood, the beekeeping industry became highly regulated and protected by Kings and city governments. Parcels of forest would be leased out to beekeepers and taxes would be paid in production of beeswax and honey. The wealthiest beekeeper would own more than 400 hives. By the middle of the nineteenth century, wars and industrial developments fueled the demand for wood and caused extensive bans on tree beekeeping. This resulted in the transition from beekeeping in live trees to log hives platformed on trees to log hives on the ground. As tree beekeeping largely disappeared by the end of the nineteenth century, Modern beekeeping methods emerged and dominated the industry.

A log hive attached to tree trunk ‘platform; in the Gruszki village on the edge of Bialowieza Forest in Poland

Ancient apiary with log hives scattered along the country side

Tune in next week for Kelley’s blog on types of modern day hives.

Interested in becoming a beekeeper? We are always encouraging others to pick up the practice as a hobby so we are offering hand-on backyard beekeeping education along with your very own backyard beehive. Learn more about our beehive sponsorship here.

Modern Day Hives:

Bees getting ready to swarm on a Top-Bar hive

Kelley Honey Farm Langstroth Hive

Warre style hives in France

 


Kelley’s Attends the Mother Earth News Fair

February, 16 2018 Belton, Tx- Kelley Honey Farms attended the Mother Earth News Fair, a sustainable living convention open to the public. We saw everything from making your own coconut milk ice cream to composting toilets.

Sustainable living and bee keeping go hand in hand, being able to produce your own non perishable food while simultaneously increasing crop yield through pollination is a must for anyone trying to be truly self sustaining. Kelley’s has come up with a way to help sustainability enthusiasts establish their own hive by becoming hive sponsors.

The Kelley Honey Farms Sponsor a Hive program allows anyone with a backyard to get their own hive and learn how to keep it alive. Learn more about getting your own hive through our program, and start making your own honey here.

To learn more about Mother Earth News, and sustainable living visit the Mother Earth News website here.


Watch Elon Musk Send a Car to Mars and Learn About Bees in Space

First Watch This

Now Let’s Talk About Space Bees

 

Space Bees are a thing…or were a thing in 1984, when a small 3400 bee hive with a queen was introduced into a specially made module and launched into orbit where the colony was able to produce comb, store honey and produce eggs during a week long orbiting phase where they were also able to adapt to micro-gravity flight. This is a far cry from the 3-7 month journey they would need to make to get to a colony on Mars, but if we can overcome these challenges, small Honeybee colonies would be a much appreciated tool in the green houses needed to feed the estimated million person population needed to develop a self sustaining Martian city. Needless to say a bottle of Martian honey will be pretty expensive for your great grandchildren.

Check out more on the 1984 space bees HERE


One Great Way to Kill Spicy Foods With Honey

If You Can’t Stand The Heat, Get Out The Honey

 

Recently Kelley Honey Farms attended the spicy food festival, Zest Fest 2018, in Irving, TX. There they debuted their new honey flavors cinnamon and jalapeno with the first public tasting with much success. They also helped cool a few hot mouths with one of the amazing properties of honey. Strategically placed right next to the PuckerButt Pepper Company ,Guinness World Record holders for the worlds hottest pepper, Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper®. It was the sadistic samples at this booth of pain that sent people running to the nearest bastion of hope, the Kelley Honey Farms’ sampling station. There they could put out the fire with honey samples and regroup before continuing on their noble journey through Dante’s kitchen.

Zest Fest 2018, a gauntlet of delicious pain

 

How Does Honey Help?

 

Just one tablespoon of honey is enough to put out the fire from most really spicy foods, that’s because the sugars in honey help dilute the heat causing compounds found in peppers, how much you need depends on how much spice you’re trying to dissipate.  You may notice that “spicy” honeys don’t tend to taste as spicy as the peppers that they are infused with, that’s the sugars taming down the pungency allowing you to taste more of the flavor of the pepper without overwhelming heat. This is surprising to many, but in fact we’ve known about the ability of sugar to fight heat for a while. The Scoville scale that we use to measure the heat in peppers was devised way back in 1912 and involved diluting a pepper’s extract with sugar water until no heat could be detected. When we dilute spicy sensations with honey we are essentially doing the same, except it tastes better.

Kelley’s new flavored honeys were a hit with Zest Festers

Kelley Honey Farms is a proud Go Texan member

Kelley’s Kitchen | Honey Peach Cobbler

Ingredients:

  • For Filling:

¼ cup – Kelley Texas Country Style Honey

2 ½ – 3 lb. – Parker County Peaches

½ tsp. – Cinnamon

½ tsp. – Nutmeg

2 tbsp. – Butter

  • For Dough:

1 stick – Butter

1 cup – Flour

1 ½ tsp. – Baking Powder

½ tsp. – Salt

½ cup – Sugar

1 cup – Milk

½ tsp. – Vanilla Extract

Directions

  • Pre-Heat oven to 375° F
  • Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish and prepare peaches into slices. Place even layers of peach slices in baking dish.
  • For the filling, warm up the 2 tablespoons of butter and mix it into Kelley’s Texas Country Style Honey, cinnamon, nutmeg. Drizzle and spread the mix across the top of the layers of peaches.
  • For the dough, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder together. Slowly pour in milk, melted butter and vanilla extract while mixing it into the dry ingredients until all ingredients are blended.
  • Scoop round chunks of dough and place evenly across the layer of peach filling.
  • Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes, or until dough is light golden brown and the filing is bubbling.
  • Remove from oven and let it cool until ready to serve.
  • Serve warm with vanilla ice cream topped with more Kelley Texas Country Style Honey.

The Buzz About Swarms

Bee hives are incredible examples of social organisms. At their best, they are efficient communities producing food, brood, and infrastructure for 50,000 or so individuals. In fact they are so efficient that they can outgrow their hive quickly. When a hive is out of space about 60% of the bees including the queen will swarm, leaving behind their original hive in search of a suitable place to start another.

Before swarming the queen will lay eggs in special brood cells called “Queen Cups”, this ensures a new queen for the bees left out of the swarm. Around the same time worker bees will begin to cut back on the queen’s feeding in order to trim her down for the impending flight with the swarm.

When the swarm leaves the hive they will find a temporary resting place while scouts look for a suitable place to settle down. As the swarm begins building their new home, the original hive cares for the developing queens. Eventually the first queen will hatch, find the unhatched queens and kill them before they hatch. After disposing of her potential rivals the queen will take on her new role with the hive, replacing the departed queen and laying eggs to replace the workers lost in the swarm.

At the end of all this we end up with 2 healthy hives…which means double the honey!


Kelley’s Kitchen | Honey-Mustard Glazed Turkey

It’s Turkey Time!

What’s better than a freshly baked juicy turkey?… A juicy turkey with a sweet, savory, crunchy kick! For this Thanksgiving we’re pulling out all the stops in a one of a kind tasty turkey treat. This is one dish that your guests won’t want to put down!

Ingredients

  • 9 lb Whole Turkey
  • Carrots
  • Green Beans
  • Onions
  • 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ½ cup Kelley’s Texas Country Style Honey
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • ⅓ cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1  tsp Garlic

Instructions

  1. Thaw turkey to room temperature
  2. Mix Honey, Vinegar, Salt, Pepper, Mustard, and Garlic powder together until consistent
  3. Chop onions, garlic, and carrots
  4. Put chopped veggies and green beans large cooking dish
  5. Place turkey on top of veggies in dish after drying skin
  6. Baste turkey with honey dijon sauce
  7. Cover with foil and cook at 350℉ for 45mins per lb
  8. Re-baste turkey occasionally during cooking process
  9. For last 45 minutes remove foil and cook uncovered to brown skin
  10. Enjoy!

Kelley’s Kitchen | Sweet Potato & Honey Casserole


What’s better than combining sweet potatoes and marshmallows into a casserole? Making it with raw & natural honey of course! Bring a little sweetness in your life with Kelley’s take on a Thanksgiving favorite: Sweet Potato Casserole

 

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Kelly’s Texas Country Style Honey
  • ¼ cup Heavy Cream
  • ⅓ cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 3 Medium Sweet Potatoes
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 bag marshmallows

 

Directions

  1. Slice & Quarter Sweet Potatoes
  2. Boil covered for 10-15 minutes or until tender
  3. Preheat oven to 375℉
  4. Mash sweet potatoes until smooth
  5. Drain water and add:
    • Nutmeg
    • Salt
    • Butter
    • Heavy Cream
    • Brown Sugar
    • Honey
  6. Spread mashed mixture in 8×8 baking dish coated with cooking spray
  7. Evenly spread the marshmallows on top of mixture
  8. Bake in oven at 375℉ for 25 minutes
  9. Let cool for 10 minutes
  10. Enjoy!

 

When adding in nutmeg and butter, feel free to spice your casserole up with some vanilla, cinnamon,or a little pumpkin spice.


Kelley’s Kitchen | Honey Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Bacon


A sweet and savory flavor of both bacon and Kelley’s honey explodes with each bite into these crispy and tender brussels sprouts. So simple that it makes a tasty side dish at any Thanksgiving dinner table.

 

Ingredients:

2 lb – Brussels Sprouts

3 – Stripes of Bacon

3 tsp – Olive Oil

2 tbsp – Kelley’ Texas Country Style Honey

Salt

Pepper

 

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven at 400 degree Fahrenheit
  2. Cut brussels sprouts into halves and lay out onto baking sheet
  3. Cut bacon strips into small pieces and place on top of brussels sprouts
  4. Coat both in olive oil, salt and pepper
  5. Drizzle honey over everything
  6. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes

Kelley’s Kitchen | Sweet Potato Honey Ham Hash


Whether it’s made for Thanksgiving dinner or with the leftover from the night before, Kelley’s Kitchen presents a favorite classic dish: sweet potato hash with ham and honey topped with an egg. This recipe brings together the savory flavors of ham and bacon, and the sweetness of sweet potatoes and Kelley’s honey. Add in some jalapenos for a southwestern kick.

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients:

2 – Sweet potatoes

1/2 lbs – Maple ham

1 slice – Bacon

1 or 2 – Bundles of green onions

1 or 2 – Jalapenos (optional)

2 tbs – Kelley’s Texas Country Style Honey

4 – Eggs

2 tbs – Olive oil

 

Directions:
1) Wash, peel and dice sweet potatoes into small cubes
2) Dice ham and bacon into small chunks
3) Dice green onions and jalapenos
4) Coat skillet with olive oil and heat to medium-high
5) Saute honey, sweet potato and the other vegetables for 10-12 minutes
6) Saute the meat into the vegetables until bacon and sweet potatoes are fully cooked
7) Crack 4 eggs on top of the hash and cover with a lid until fully cooked
8) Plate and enjoy!