Friday, October 26, 2012

Labelling Honey Jars



     While you may not have this much fun labeling your honey jars there is no reason why it can't be enjoyable and creative.  Note that this posting is for backyard, non professional beekeepers.  The legal regulations for labeling honey jars for sale vary according to where you live.  In Europe this includes whether or not your honey contains pollen (has not been micro filtered) or was derived from Genetically Modified Plants.  In my opinion both of these considerations are very important and should be included on commercially produced honey.
     Whether you are canning produce from your garden, bottling jams or labeling honey jars most of us will begin with hand written labels meant to identify the product and when it was produced (Jars can get lost in the pantry for years).  A good idea is to get your children to do this.


     By using label templates you can easily upgrade the design of your labels.  I have found that they are easy to use and allow your to personalize a gift.

Honey Label

     I have compiled a group of 60 label templates free to use for the backyard, non commercial beekeeper and canner to download here.  You can also preview and download them in six categories: Vintage Honey Labels (A.I. Root, 1920) ; Modern Canning Labels (Circle) ; Modern Canning Labels (Rectangle)Vintage Canning Labels ; Nutritional Labels and Honey Infant Warning Label .  The first step is to choose the template of your choice.  There is a wide range to choose from.  You can also use your own photographs.

Vintage Canning Label
Honey Label
Modern Canning Label

Honey Label

Vintage Canning Label

         
     Once you have chosen your label you can use a free image editing program like Gimp or my favorite Photoscape to add words to your template.  With Photoscape you open the program, go to editor, choose your template on the left side, click on "Object" and choose either "Text" or "Rich Edit" to add words. You can then choose the size, type and color of font you want to use.  When finished save your label, print it, cut it out and glue to your jar.  I use regular printing paper and minimal glue as a lot of glue tends to discolor the label.   
     Botulism in honey is a risk to babies under the age of 1 year.  Although the risk is minimal it is recommended (to be on the safe side) that you not feed honey to infants under the age of one.  If you are giving jars to those you don't know you may want to include a warning label. 


     For commercial beekeepers the regulations on labeling food products is changing constantly and very dependent on where you live and how much you sell. For example in Florida beekeepers are now allowed to sell their honey from home (not stores) using a Florida Cottage Food Label as long as they do not exceed $15,000 in revenue. There are no regulations on non commercial home canning or honey production so like the ladies in the video above have fun and be creative. 








Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wintering Hives Beekeeping Webinar


     The October 17th Beekeeping Webinar put on by author Kim Flottum and Ohio State University was a good overall reminder of hive dynamics in winter and how we can help our bees survive.


     The major problems for honey bees in winter are starvation, varroa and poor ventilation.  Cold condensation created by heat generated by the bee cluster contacting the cold inner cover will drip on the bees.  In cold climates wet bees are dead bees.  Possible solutions are insulation between the inner cover and outer cover, a moisture quilt or an Insulated Moisture Quilt.


     Wintering your bees is like real estate value in that the most important consideration is location (location, location, location).  Location dictates the methods you will use to protect your bees from the elements. Windbreaks are essential in some areas where there are cold, winter winds.  In winter we have a predominant, strong, low pressure, southeast weather pattern that brings with it fairly constant cold, wet winds.


     Wrapping is also very helpful at reducing heat loss.  Roofing paper is the favourite wrapping material (black absorbs heat from the sun) making sure to leave an upper hole for ventilation.  Some beekeepers insulate not only the top of their hives but the body as well, making sure once again to leave the upper ventilation hole open for air circulation.


     Other considerations are what type of bee you have.  Carnies and Russians (particularly Russians) winter smaller clusters, eat less, produce less winter brood and generally winter better than their southern Italian cousins (The Best Bee Type).  However, most bees are a hybrid of various types of bees.
     A great concern when wintering bees is starvation and to prevent this beekeepers must simply make sure they leave adequate frames of honey for thier bees.  Once again this is location dependent and for us is about 65-75 lbs or 10 deep frames.  For information on feeding bees go to Feeding Bees in Winter .
     To view this webinar go to the "Getting your hives ready for winter" with Kim Flottum or
"Putting the hive to bed for winter" with Kim Flottum .  You may also want to check out The Biology and Management of Colonies in Winter , Winterization Guide for Beekeeping , The Thermology of Wintering Honey Bee Colonies or Wrapping a Honey Bee Colony with Tar Paper  from the Beekeepers' Library.


   

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