Beekeeping Industry Dishonesty
Beekeeping Industry Dishonesty: “Pure Raw Honey For Sale”
Beekeeping Industry Dishonesty is wide spread and it is getting worse. Very little or no industry regulations at the state or federal level exist to protect consumers. As a long time beekeeper and coming from a longtime beekeeping family I find it very sad to be in an industry that is now so full of wrong doing. Here I will cover just a few things that the general public as well as new beekeepers should be aware of. Please know that I will not name any beekeeper/s by name. If your a beekeeper reading this and you feel like I’m pointing a finger at you I probably am.
Beekeeping Industry Dishonesty Subjects Covered:
Honey & Honey Bee Products:
- Pure Raw Honey (Local Honey)
- Specialized Honeys (Mesquite, Wild Flower etc….)
- Pollen ( Is eating raw pollen actually safe? The beekeeper says it is! )
- Adopt-A-Hive ( Help Save The Bees! )
- Beekeeping Classes ( Taught By “Master Beekeeper”)
- Nucleus Colony Sales
- Queen Sales (Queen Breeders, Reselling Another Beekeepers Queens etc…)
Pure Raw Local Honey For Sale
If your a Honey consumer about the biggest rip off from an unscrupulous Beekeeper is the Sales Of “Pure Local Raw Honey”. Pure Local Raw Honey can be found at local Farmers Markets as well as on counters at many area small businesses. By law beekeepers have to label their honey with their name and address and can only label pure honey as honey. If the beekeeper processes their honey in their kitchen or un-inspected building they can only sell the honey direct to the consumer and cannot offer their honey for sale through a third party/ business. Many beekeepers feed their bees throughout the dearth’s and through the winter months. If this feed is not used by the bees it is stored in comb and can be found in extracted honey. Below I will list just a few of the dishonest Schemes that beekeepers will come up with to sell their product.
- “Local Honey” Usually labeled with a county and a source such as Clover, Mesquite or Wildflower. The problem is here by looking at the honey you have way of telling where it came from. Many beekeepers are honest and sell only their honey. Many more beekeepers are not as honest and will sell honey from unknown sources in order to fill customer demand. Find a beekeeper that you can trust which may be hard to do. A warm smile and a God Bless do not always mean the beekeeper is honhest.
- Specialized Honey Sales: “Mesquite, Clover, Wildflower, etc…”. This has to be one of the biggest consumer rip offs that exist. In order for bees to produce a single source specialized honey, that source must be the only source or at least 51% of the target nectar source. At 51% that’s only slightly over half of the contents in your jar of honey. For it to be 100% it has to be the only predominate source of nectar available within the bees foraging area (about a 2 mile radius). “Mesquite Honey” for example has to be one of the most mislabeled honeys in the industry. Honey Labeled as being “Mesquite” just plain sounds good and delicious. In fact one area beekeeper that claims they have “Mesquite Honey” in stock says and I quote ” It has mild Smokey Flavor”. Hmmmmm, the only way honey can have a Smokey flavor is if the beekeeper over smoked the hive when he was removing the honey. Sadly specialized honeys are few and far between. In order for a honey to be specialized it has to be the predominate nectar source in the area where the bees are located. Many beekeepers as soon as the “Mesquite Trees” start blooming automatically claim their bees are producing “Mesquite Honey” . The fact is in South Texas when the “Mesquite Trees” start blooming so are many many other flowers and trees. I get a kick out of beekeepers that take pictures of bees coming in from foraging with multi colored pollen which means multi sources are being visited. Multi colored pollen means the bees are foraging on a variety of sources other than “Mesquite”. Finding an area where there is only “Mesquite Trees” blooming is almost impossible. The next time you go to your local beekeeper to buy a jar of “Mesquite Honey” ask the beekeeper one simple question. Has your honey been tested for the pollen content and source to guarantee that the honey is actually at 51% “Mesquite Honey”? I’ll guarantee the beekeeper or person selling the honey will tell you “no” as testing honey is extremely expensive and not cost effective.
- “Pure Raw Honey” is one of the biggest selling points most beekeepers use to sell their honey. The question is just how pure is their honey? Many Beekeepers store honey supers with drawn wax comb every year after a honey flow. When the beekeeper stores the frames often times chemicals are used to prevent wax moths from moving in and damaging the drawn comb. Drawn comb allows bees to start storing honey without having to waste resources to build new comb each year. This allows beekeepers to place honey supers on their colonies at the start of a flow. Storing honey supers with chemicals in them year after year allows the chemical to impregnate the honey comb which then transfers the chemical to the honey. Beekeepers also use chemicals in their hives to control pest such as mites. In the hands of a beekeeper that does not know how to properly use the chemicals honey can easily become contaminated. There are beekeepers that do not use chemicals in their hives and that do not reuse drawn honey comb frames every year. These are the operations you want to purchase the honey you are going to feed your family.
Beekeeping Industry Dishonesty
Beekeeping Industry Dishonesty: Beekeeping Classes
When I was nine years old I was taught beekeeping by my dad who learned to keep bees by his dad. At that time there were no beekeeping classes and beekeepers gladly helped new beekeepers or another beekeeper if they needed a hand. Todays beekeepers are of a different breed and money talks. I especially have a hard time with all the Beekeeping Classes that have sprung up since the CCD or “Help Save The Honey Bees” started. Everyone now is a beekeeping expert many of which are what I call “Text Book Beekeepers”.
- Beekeeping Classes Taught By A “Master Beekeeper” Early on when CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) and “Help Save The Honey Bees” started, new beekeeping web sites and blogs sprung up on the net. Early on one beekeeping blog caught my interest due to its vicinity to my operation so I followed along on their day to day “Beekeeping Adventure”. Also let me say I had an idea early on where the blog was headed and kept track of its day to day post. First let me say that some people just don’t get it that when they post something on the net for the public to read or see it stays there for many years or until its removed by the owner or due to its age it just falls off into never never land. This story has a point so please follow along. About (9) years ago a blog was started by a couple that decided to get started in beekeeping. They posted about how excited they were to get started and went out and bought (2) complete established hives. They placed the hives in their backyard and then posted almost daily about their beekeeping adventure and their excitement about learning from their (2) hives. At one point one of their hives turned aggressive and the “Beekeeper” decided to terminate the hive by wrapping it in plastic sheeting to exterminate it (Re-Queening never was mentioned) which an experienced beekeeper would do. The picture of the hive wrapped in plastic is still on the net. Shortly after their aggressive hive fiasco they decided to purchase more complete hives and started placing them on area properties. After getting a few hives the couple decided to start teaching beekeeping classes in their back yard and came up with cutesy name. They started advertising their beekeeping classes that were taught by a “Master Beekeeper”. The “Master Beekeeper” was the same man who just a couple years earlier started beekeeping with their (2) new hives. He also mysteriously now had thirty years experience. After reading this I posted an article similar to this one about the “Master Beekeeper” teaching beekeeping classes. To my surprise he sent me an email saying that the “Master Beekeeper” was not his doing but his wife’s and that he had nothing to do with it (I still Have his email). Just after receiving his email the “Master Beekeeper” was removed from their beekeeping classes advertisements. This is a prime example of no regulations on who is teaching Beekeeping Classes at the Local or State Level. Anyone can start teaching beekeeping classes and the consumer is the one that gets ripped off and suffers. This is a prime example of false advertising. By the way, many States including Texas now have a “Master Beekeeper” program. What is the “Master Beekeeper Program? It’s designed for Amateur or Hobbyist Beekeepers to further their beekeeping knowledge. It’s not for Commercial Beekeepers as it doesn’t cover Commercial Beekeeping which is on a totally different level.