Red House Honey celebrates Christmas in July at Prescott Farmers’ Market

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Santa giving motorcycle rides.

Santa giving motorcycle rides.


Red House Honey was at Prescott Farmers’ Market as vendors hosted Christmas in July this past weekend. Santa showed up to give thrilled children rides in his sidecar and even the occasional adventurous adult. Christmas songs were sung and a great time was had by all.
Many people stopped by to asked how Red House Honey’s bees were doing; everyone, it seems, has heard of the massive bee deaths in Ontario over the past three years, indicative of a broader, very troubling situation virtually worldwide.
Honey on display

A selection of Red House Honey on display at Prescott Farmers’ Market

Red House Honey products are now available at Halee’s Lockview Gift Shop in Irquois, ON and Burchell’s Home Hardware in Cardinal, ON. Ask your favourite grocer for them.

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Sign the “Save the Bees” Petiton!

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Busy bees

Beautiful busy bees


Sign the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association Petition by clicking this link: http://chn.ge/11J53Jc.

The petition will be sent to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. The goal is to reach 50,000 signatures. Help us please!

Here is an excerpt from the OBA’s manifesto:

“Ontario’s bees are dying in massive numbers due to the pervasive use of neonicotinoid pesticides on our agricultural field crops. Fully a third of our food relies on pollinators: without bees, Ontario’s food supply could be in serious trouble. Further, these chemicals leach into soils, groundwater and waterways, and can persist for years, killing not only bees, but other pollinators, aquatic insects, amphibians and birds.

“We already have sufficient evidence to prove that neonicotinoid pesticides are killing our bees. Canada’s Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency has confirmed that last year’s widespread bee deaths in Ontario were caused by neonicotinoid pesticides. As well, dozens of independent, peer reviewed scientific research studies have concluded that these pesticides pose a significant threat to bees and other wildlife. Furthermore, science and experience has shown that neonicotinoids don’t really increase agricultural yield in the long run.

“Join Ontario’s beekeepers and their agricultural, environmental and scientific partners in urging Premier Wynne to ban neonicotinoid pesticides in time for the 2014 planting season.

“Ontario’s bees are in unprecedented peril. In the past two years alone, Ontario has seen a 35% decline in honey bees. The time for urgent, precautionary action is now.

Sign this petition and share with everyone: http://chn.ge/11J53Jc”

For more information:
OBA BeeCause
http://www.ontariobee.com/issues-and-advocacy/beecause-advocacy-fund

You may also cut and paste the following letter, drafted by the OBA, and send it directly to Premier Wynne

To: Premier Kathleen Wynne

I am asking you to immediately ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in Ontario.

Last year, extensive losses of honey bees and other pollinators associated with the application of these toxic pesticides to field crops in Ontario were documented by Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency. Continued high rates of bee kills have been observed and reported this spring as well.

The continued use of these pesticides destroys bees, other pollinators, aquatic insects, amphibians and birds, threatens our food supply, contaminates our water and creates persistent buildup of toxins in our soil.

On April 29, 2013 after reviewing more than 30 different studies, the European Union suspended the use of these pesticides. We do not need additional research to prove the harmful effects of neonicotinoid pesticides. We need to follow the EU’s example.

I am asking you to act now.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

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The wonder of bees

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old quarry filled with water

Old quarry near the St. Lawrence River


Bees were a wonder to Belgian poet and dramatist Maurice Maeterlinck, winner of the 1911 Nobel Prize for Literature. A beekeeper himself, he wrote the seminal book, The Life of the Bee in 1901. More poetical ode than instruction manual, his words ring even more true today as we find ourselves faced with the imminent collapse of honey bee colonies around the world — and all of it due to our own practises.
“Must we not admire the manner in which the thought or the god that the bees obey is at once revealed by their edifices, wrought with such striking conviction, by their customs and laws, their political and economical organization, their virtues and even their cruelties? … The god of the bees is the future. When we, in our study of human history, endeavour to gauge the moral force or greatness of a people or race, we have but one standard of measurement–the dignity and permanence of their ideal, and the abnegation wherewith they pursue it. Have we often encountered an ideal more conformable to the desires of the universe, more widely manifest, more disinterested or sublime: have we often discovered an abnegation more complete and heroic?”

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Ontario Government Finally Agrees to Look into Mass Bee Poisonings

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Bee hives beside a cornfield.

Bees beside a cornfield. Will they survive?

On July 11, 2013 the Ontario Government, led by Premier Kathleen Wynne, who is also the Agriculture Minister, formed the Bee Health Working Group to look into mass bee poisonings (many of which occurred in the spring of 2012) which has killed an estimated 35% of the Canada’s bee population in the past three years. This despite the avowed determination of the agriculture and ethanol industries to deny that neonicotinoids (a nicotine-based insecticide sprayed on corn and soybean seeds) have anything to do with bee deaths. Some have suggested apiary mismanagement is at the root of the problem, with apiarists brazenly exposing their bees to dust and residue from the poison on spraying days. Unfortunately for the agricultural and ethanol industries, the bee deaths in 2012 coincided with what has become routine annual massive spraying of these crops with these pesticides, which, incidentally, are banned in Europe.
The Federal Pest Management Regulatory Agency has already found a connection between neonicotinoids and bee deaths but its review will not be complete until 2018. Wynne has sent a letter blasting federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq for not speeding up the review deadline.
It is difficult to say what will happen in the next few years as the issue is leisurely examined. Meanwhile, the agriculture industry digs its own grave as it continues to poison bees–the very bees upon which it relies almost exclusively for crop pollination. These same invaluable creatures contribute an estimated $2 billion annually to the very industry which so heedlessly kills them.
Needless to say (to paraphrase Einstein) if there are no bees, humanity will also soon find itself extinct.

The Honey is Flowing

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The honey has started to flow! After anxious months of waiting and watching, peekig inside to check on the bees’ progress in making honey, we have finally taken some of their ambrosia and bottled it.
The process was both easier and harder than anticipated.

Bee on a Bachelor's Button

A Bachelor’s Button is perfect for a bee


On a slightly overcast Friday evening, we crept up to the hive and removed two frames fom the hone super, brushing off hundreds of hard-working honey bees who were rather dedicated to their task They buzzed a little angrily, but resignedly all the same. “It’s them! They are going to take some of our honey. Oh well, let them, we can make more,” seemed to be the general feeling.
Placing the frames in a tub, we hurried over to our neighbours’ house, where they had set up an extraction laboratory in their garage. After uncapping the honey comb with an uncapping fork (which looks a lot like a canine coat-stripping comb) It was placed in the hand-cranked, two-frame extractor (which is really just a large, stainless steel centrifuge with holding racks inside) and cranked for several minutes. Then the frames are rotated inside the drum, and cranked again, to extract the honey from the other side.
Finally, the golden liquid is poured off by opening the honey gate (a spigot at the bottom of the tank) and poured over a double sieve into large bowls.
From the bowls, the strained honey is poured into clean jars, labelled and is ready to go!
The golden nectar sits our counter, proudly bearing the Red House Honey label. Alas, only about two kilos were collected this time, and it is all spoken for. Watch our site for news of our next honey production dates and subsequent availability, probably around the end of July.

The Honey Tree

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Busy bees

Beautiful busy bees

Bees do more than make honey, of course.

Beeswax is an ingredient in candles, cosmetics and hand creams . Natural, unfiltered honey has lots of antioxidants which may help prevent some cancers, and its pollen can actually help some allergy and asthma sufferers. Honey is also also one of the best topical antibiotics there is.

The 3,754 tonnes of liquid gold produced last year by hard-working bees from Ontario’s 101,000 colonies was valued at a whopping $26.5 million dollars, according to the 2012 OMAFRA Provincial Apiarist’s Report.