Monday, December 5, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
I am not sure when this article was published by APhA, but the study they cite in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine was published in 2007.
Honey more effective than honey-flavored dextromethorphan for children's coughs
Key point: A study published in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found that children who received a single dose of buckwheat honey 30 minutes before bedtime slept better and coughed less than those who received honey-flavored dextromethorphan or no treatment at all.
Finer points: The primary outcome measure of this partially double-blinded, randomized study was to compare parental satisfaction with a single nocturnal dose of buckwheat honey, honey-flavored dextromethorphan, or no treatment at all in children experiencing nocturnal coughing from an upper respiratory infection (URI). A total of 105 children aged 2 to 18 years with URI, nocturnal coughing, and duration of illness 7 days or less were enrolled in this study, which took place in a single, outpatient, general pediatric practice.
On the first night of the study, each child received no treatment. The next morning, parents answered five questions concerning cough frequency and severity, bothersome nature of cough, quality of child's sleep, and quality of parent's sleep. Survey responses were stratified using a seven-point Likert scale. On the second night, each child was randomized to receive a single syringe containing 2.5 mL, 5 mL, or 10 mL of buckwheat honey or honey-flavored dextromethorphan, or nothing. The syringes for all of the treatment groups were opaque and were placed in brown paper bags to ensure investigator blinding. The honey and dextromethorphan groups were blinded to patients and parents because the two products had similar consistency, texture, flavor, smell, and sweetness. Parents answered the same five questions the following morning.
Overall, parents rated honey as significantly better than dextromethorphan or no treatment for all five criteria (P < 0.001). Mild adverse events (e.g., hyperactivity, nervousness, insomnia) were significantly more common in children treated with honey than those treated with dextromethorphan or nothing (P = 0.04).
What you need to know: The recent FDA announcement that the Consumer Healthcare Products Association is voluntarily modifying the product labels of all OTC cough and cold medicines to state that the products should not be used in children under 4 years of age has left pharmacists with virtually no cough products to recommend for children in this age group. While additional research is needed to confirm the findings of this study, pharmacists should consider recommending honey as a symptomatic treatment for cough. Honey is safer than dextromethorphan in terms of abuse potential and possible serious adverse events (e.g., dystonia, anaphylaxis, psychosis, death). In addition, no published findings demonstrating the efficacy of dextromethorphan in children are available.
What your patients need to know: Tell parents that honey has been used as an alternative medicine since ancient times. Exactly why or how honey improves coughing is not known; it may be its viscosity or its antioxidant properties. Encourage parents to purchase only unfiltered, unheated, unprocessed honey and to never give honey to children under 1 year of age, because honey can contain botulism spores in its natural form.
- Paul IM et al. Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007;161:1140–6.
Balch P, Balch J. Prescription for nutritional health, 3rd edition. New York, NY: Avery Publishing; 2000.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Here is a picture of the hive in the little bit of snow we did get.
This next picture was taken inside the feeder that I still have in place.
The following are a few pictures of the Bighorn mountains which I took this morning. The Bighorns run north and south. We live just on the west side of the mountains so these pictures are looking east at the western slope. You should be able to click on the photos and see larger view.
Monday, October 31, 2011
The bees have been getting less and less active as the temps have gotten cooler. I'm sure they are clustering at night but do get out and about as the days warm up- we have been getting up into the 50's and 60's still here in town.
We are down to one hive going in to the winter. Virginia ended up with laying workers toward the end of the summer and finally died out. Georgia recovered nicely from her swarm last spring and has been healthy and strong coming in to fall.
Last year we extracted honey at the first of September and then tried to feed sugar syrup to prepare the hives for winter, but the bees ignored the sugar syrup completely- I couldn't get them to take any of it. There must have been plenty of nectar coming in during September and October because they had plenty of stores to get them through the winter. So this fall I figured they would have enough and didn't try feeding them. A while a go I hefted Georgia's hive and found that it was incredibly light. I don't know what the difference is between this year and last, but it appears that there must not have been much of a fall nectar flow this year.
Last week I prepared 2 gallons of sugar syrup mixed 1 1/2 parts sugar to 1 part water. I also added a little bit of Honey B Healthy. Honey B Healthy contains some essential oils that are supposed to help honeybees remain healthy and strong. I don't know if it really helps or not, but I have a bottle of it and figure it probably doesn't hurt. According to all the books I have seen, sugar syrup for fall feeding should be mixed in a 2:1 ratio, but I have not had much luck keeping that in solution- it keeps crystallizing on me. I bet the bees don't really care what the concentration is. Anyway, it took the bees just a couple of days to consume the first two gallons. I prepared a second batch a couple of days ago. Here is a photo of the bees in the feeder.
I don't know how long it will be before it gets too cold and the bees stop taking the syrup, but I will feed them as long as they do. I hope they can get enough stored up to make it through the winter. I am already planning on supplemental feeding in the late winter/early spring.
This winter we will be ordering a replacement colony to take Virginia's place. I hope to get a Russian queen and compare them with the Italian mutts living in Georgia. I don't know what we will name the new colony of Russian honeybees. Maybe a nice Russian name like Sasha or Svetlana. Any suggestions?
Sunday, September 18, 2011
This post is a little overdue- two weeks ago we harvested our honey. I actually pulled the supers off Georgia and extracted the honey a couple of days later. Virginia ended up with laying workers this summer and has now died out completely.
As I was removing the supers I removed each frame one at a time and removed the bees. The top couple of supers, which were the last ones to be put on, were full of capped honey- nearly every frame was 100% capped. The lower three supers had several frames that were full of uncapped nectar. I found it curious that the newest supers had more capped honey than the older ones. I had removed the queen excluder earlier in the summer because the bees kept sealing it off and blocking their own ability to move up into the supers. Consequently there was a little bit of brood up in the bottom super. I wonder if the fact that the brood chamber was sitting a little higher could explain why there was less capped honey down low. Anyway, by the time I switched out all the uncapped frames with capped frames I had 4 full supers.
This first photo shows uncapping a frame of honey with a heated uncapping knife.
In this next photo you can see the extractor we used and a filter over the five gallon bucket.
We let the caps drain for a couple of days and filtered that honey a little later. When it was all done we added about five pounds of honey to the total.
Now we have a bunch of beeswax that will need to be melted down and cleaned up. I don't know what we will do with the wax this year. Maybe we will try some candle making.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Here is the uncapping tank I designed and built this year. I designed one last year that had a few flaws- mainly that I had a difficult time removing the caps from the tank without dropping them down into the honey. Hopefully this years design will correct that problem.
Finally, a small piece of wood fits across the notches cut into the top of the first (top) bin. I used a 1X2.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
It's for sure. We have laying workers. I have known this for the last week or so but have been to busy (read lazy) to post it all to the blog.
If you want to read about when I found the cells with multiple eggs you can find it here.
I have read about several different methods for getting rid of laying workers, all of which take time. The question now is- Do I have time to get rid of the laying workers and requeen the hive in time to get the population and stores built up and ready for winter? I don't really know, but it seems pretty late in the season to me. I have decided to cut my losses with this hive and start this hive over next spring.
I have moved all the honey supers form Virginia over to Georgia. Georgia swarmed early in the summer and took quite a while to start filling up her supers. She has a booming population now and with Virginia's supers she is stacked up with 5 supers total.
Before Virginia lost her queen she was well on her way to filling at least 4 supers with honey. Last year (our second with the bees) we also had queen problems in both hives and extracted a total of 6 supers. Just think how much honey we could extract if we could just get a good year without any swarms or supercedures or laying workers!
Since Virginia will die out this fall and winter anyway, I am removing the deep frames from the hive to harvest what honey I can. In the empty space left in the deep hive bodies I am hoping that the remaining workers will try to rebuild the comb with fresh wax. That will just give me more wax to harvest before winter. We will see how that goes.
So now we are just waiting for Virginia to finish capping her honey. We plan on extracting the honey in early September. Last year I designed and built an uncapping tank. It worked but had some design flaws. This year I have modified the designed and built another that I think will work a little better. That will be the subject of the next blog post.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
I got the camera back yesterday after missing it for a few weeks. I had to go out this morning and find some bees in the garden that would pose for some pictures.
This first photo is one of the bees pollinating our yellow squash.
This next photo shows a bee collecting nectar from one of the many clover blossoms in our lawn.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
I peeked in on the bees today. They are making little progress in the honey supers. I guess there probably is not a real strong nectar flow going on right now. The alfalfa flow was pretty intense at first but as the summer goes on it becomes less and less intense even though it continues to bloom. As the hay alfalfa grows after it is cut and blooms again we should get another strong flow for about a week or so. I understand that spotted knapweed is blooming right now in other parts of the country. Do we even have spotted knapweed here in Wyoming? And if so, do we have enough around Lovell to even make a difference?
Friday, July 15, 2011
First I had better apologize for not including any pictures. Chris and the kids have left me home alone for a couple of weeks and took the camera with them. You will have to try to see it all in you mind's eye.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
I peeked in the hives a few days ago. I just wanted to see how much progress they were making in the honey super.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
One of the hives decided to swarm today. I assume it was Georgia as she was the strongest of the two hives and had a noticeably larger population.
I was in the middle of my lunch break when my cell phone rang. It was Chris, my wife, calling to tell me that our neighbor had just stopped by to tell her that our bees were hanging out in her bushes. She thought that they had all left the hive and landed in her yard. She was not at all upset or afraid- she really thought it was kind of neat. She just thought we might want to take them back.
Chris would have collected them herself, but I wanted to get in on the action too. It took me half an hour to get home then we rounded up the gear and the box we were going to put them in. As we walked around the corner into the neighbor's yard we walked into a big cloud of bees. They were just in the process of taking off again! We followed the cloud down the block and suddenly they were gone- we couldn't figure out which way they went.
Chris got a few pictures of the swarm before I got home.
So much for my minimalist approach this year. Last year my attempts to prevent swarming left the hives queenless and this year we lost a bunch of our bees in a swarm. It would have been nice to have recovered this swarm and started a third hive.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
This is just a quick update on the status of the hives. Back on May 13th we inspected the hives and put a medium honey super on top of each hive. The bees had plenty of room in the brood nest, but since dandelions and fruit trees were starting to bloom we thought we would give the bees room to store honey if they needed it. We have not had a lot of sunny calm days since then, but since today we are getting a break from the rain I decided to take a quick look in the supers to see if they had made any progress up there.
I first popped the top off Virginia and looked through a few frames. The super had quite a few bees up in it but was certainly not full of bee by any means. I looked at four frames and found a only five or six cells with nectar on each frame. I was not too surprised by this considering the relatively little time the bees have had to forage.
I then moved over to Georgia and found the super very full of bees. I looked at five frames and found significant nectar on three of them. Each of the three frams was about 1/4 full of nectar. These two photos show the nectar shining in the sunlight.Just think of what Georgia could have accomplished if we had had decent weather! I do hope that the weather dries out so the bees can take advantage of the fruit trees etc. before they finish blooming.
As for the fewer number of bees in Georgia- here are my thoughts (I could be wrong and probably
am): Back on May 13th we discovered 2 queens in Georgia's hive. They were just a couple of inches apart and one of them was missing a wing. I do not think they were in the middle of swarming or the existing queen would have swarmed before the new queen emerged from her queen cell. Since one of the queens was missing a wing I figure the she was the existing queen and the bees had superceded with a new queen. I have heard that the mother and daughter queens can live side by side for a while in this situation. If the existing queen either left or died there would be a period of time with no brood production before her daughter had time to mate and start laying eggs. That could explain the fewer numbers in Virginia's hive.
In any case, it looks like we are getting started with this years honey production. Can't wait!
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Friday, May 13, 2011
We finally made it back into the hives today. It had been a while. This year I am taking more of a minimalist approach to managing the hives. There are two reasons for this. First, I have just been so dang busy this year. I have hardly had time to think about the bees much less actively manage them. Secondly, last year I started feeding sugar syrup and pollen patties when it started warming up at the end of March. Both hive populations built up explosively and then I was left trying to prevent swarming by opening up the brood chamber on more than one occasion. With all those manipulations both hives ended up going queen-less for a good portion of the summer. This year I fed them bee candy and crystallized honey to get them through until the nectar flows got underway this spring. Here is what we found today:
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Earlier in the week I made it into the hives for the first inspections of the year. Each inspection took a while as there was a lot of cleaning up to do. A whole winter's worth of wax and propolis doesn't clean up easily. Everything was stuck together and there was a mess of bees, wax, etc. in the bottom that needed to be cleaned up.
I modified my management style this year. Last year I was so excited to get the colonies built up that I started feeding sugar syrup and pollen patties in about the middle of March. The populations increased quickly, and by the time summer was coming on I was trying to prevent swarming. With all of the hive manipulations to keep them from swarming both hives ended up going queenless for a good part of the summer. This year I decided to hang tight and only feed them bee candy to keep them from starving.
So here we are in the middle of April and I have seen pollen coming for about a week and the bees have been doing orientation flights for quite a while. As I dug through the hives I found quite a bit of honey and a fair amount of pollen left from last year as well as new pollen from this spring. Both hives have good healthy populations with eggs, larva, and capped brood. I am glad I haven't been feeding sugar syrup or the numbers would be booming way too early.
This first photo shows a few bees on a frame with a small bit of honey.