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WHAT IS COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER?

Dead Bee

The Beginning

   In approximately 2006, American commercial beekeepers began to experience high rates of colony loss. Hives that were previously active the day before were suddenly empty. On inspection the beekeeper would find capped brood but no workers or drones. Dead bees were to be found inside the hives. Beekeepers had never seen anything like it. This problem was eventually dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

   Colony mortality rates were reported from 30 - 90%. This was a drastic increase from the typical 10 - 15% in previous years. The sudden decline raised alarms in the commercial beekeeping realm as potential economic ramifications were dramatic. Commercial pollination is a 20 billion dollar industry in the United States. With the European Honeybee (Apis mellifera) responsible for pollinating over 90 different food crops our agricultural system was at risk. Scientists and researchers began scrambling for answers.

What is CCD?

   Smash cut to 2015. Here's what we know about CCD thanks to the tireless work of credible researchers. Colony Collapse is a syndrome - a variety of environmental factors that conspire to destroy a colony. Six main factors have been identified to be responsible for CCD. These are; lack of genetic diversity, pesticides, malnutrition, parasites/disease, in-hive chemicals, and migratory beekeeping practices.

Note: CCD is not caused by cell phones, cell phone towers, the magnetic poles fluctuating, gluten or any of the junk science theories put forward by those who lack the understanding that correlation does not imply causation.

The Factors

   In 1922 the United States passed the Honey Bee Restriction Act. The Act banned the importation of honeybees from foreign countries after they found honeybees imported from England carried tracheal mites (Acarapis woodi). Tracheal mites live in honeybee breathing tubes scarring them. This results in the suffocation of the honeybee. Not a pleasant death. Importation of honeybee stock was banned in an effort to halt the spread.

   Restricting the importation meant that the genetic pool would remain shallow. Researcher Ramesh Sagili of the Oregon State University Honeybee Lab has stated that all of our honeybees in the US are descendants of only 472 mother queens. We know that with such a lack of genetics effective queen rearing becomes problematic. Stock becomes inbred, weakened, and less able to fend off disease.

   The use of pesticides has been a rallying call as of late with Bayer and Monsanto receiving the brunt of the public's fury. Neonicotinoids are the most recognizable due to the media coverage they receive. They are a relatively new class of neuro-active insecticides related to nicotine that have been shown to interfere with honeybee's ability to navigate back to the hive. No real surprise here...it's a powerful insecticide designed to kill bugs.

   In commercial beekeeping colonies are often placed into mono-crop environments (that have been sprayed with pesticides). These environments provide only one source of nectar and pollen for the honeybees. Honeybees are meant to have a wide variety of forage, just like humans. Protein and carbohydrate profiles must be varied for them to remain healthy. Like humans, honeybees must have a balanced diet.

   Because the colonies have been weakened, their ability to fight of disease and parasites has been compromised. To combat this beekeepers will often use in-hive chemicals. Anti-biotics are used to stem nosema, foulbrood and a host of other maladies. Arachnicides are used to treat for varroa (a nasty little creature that feeds off the honeybee's hemocyte) and tracheal mites. Both are vectors for other diseases like Deformed Wing Virus and Acute Paralysis Virus.

   While anti-biotics work, they also kill the beneficial gut bacteria in the honeybee stomach making nutritional uptake more difficult. Not to mention creating resistant strains of the diseases. Arachnicides help with mites however they too become resistant to treatments. These arachnicides also kill off a beneficial psuedo-scorpion that predates varroa mites. It's a vicious cycle. 

   Finally, migratory beekeeping practices, constantly moving hives long distances stresses the colony further weakening it. Being locked inside the hive, bumped, and bounced around then let out in a foreign location is not relaxing for the honeybees.

What Does It All Mean?

   Taking into account all factors that cause of Colony Collapse Disorder the fog begins to lift. When we ask ourselves, "In what environment are the previously mentioned factors commonly found?". The answer is always - within commercial beekeeping and big agricultural practices. Colony Collapse is symptomatic of the unsustainable agricultural system we have come to rely on. When honeybees are kept outside of this particular environment they remain healthier.

   It's time to examine the way we handle our honeybees and developing new, low impact methods is ultimately the only way to change the course of this current trend. Fortunately there are those that are on the vanguard of new beekeeping working diligently to create stronger colonies. Beekeepers such as Jana Kinsman in Chicago, Rob Keller in Napa Valley, Hilary Kearney in San Diego, Kate Franzman in Indianapolis, and Jacques Wilson in Brisbane are ushering a new era. We must look to their methods as they will ultimately be the ones who save our honeybees.

   While there are significant challenges ahead, the future is bright.

 

~Damian Magista, Bee Local Founder

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THESE ARE NOT THE BEES YOU ARE LOOKING FOR

 

Fritz Geller-Grimm - Hylaeus Bee

Photo by: Fritz Geller-Grimm

 

Recently we have seen reports that bees have been added to the Endangered Species list for the first time in history. After this announcement we began seeing alarms bells being raised all over social media. Posts featuring photos of honeybees with references to the endangered status are making the rounds. Well meaning people are genuinely concerned about the plight of the bees. Overall this is good. However, we must clarify which bees are endangered and which ones are not. 

When you say "bee" most will immediately think of the cute fuzzy little honey bee, Apis mellifera, foraging for nectar and pollen. In North America we have very little exposure or understanding of wide range of bees that are not honey bees. In fact most will be shocked to know that the honey bee (A. mellifera) is not native to North America. All honey bees were imported by European settlers. Knowing the difference between honey bees and other native bee species is important. 

The bees that have been placed on the Endangered List are seven species of native Hawaiian yellow-faced bees; Hylaeus anthracinus, Hylaeus longicepsHylaeus assimulansHylaeus facilisHylaeus hilarisHylaeus kuakea, and Hylaeus mana. The ramifications of this are wide reaching and something we should take note of. Our native bees are under duress as a result of human encroachment and poor practices. Native bees are able to pollinate a wider range of plants and crops than non-native honey bees. 

Honey bees are an imported species that are essentially livestock. While they provide the foundation for large and broken agricultural system they are not the bees we are looking for. It is very important to understand the difference between our native bees and non-native bees. They deserve the spotlight too. 

HALLOWEEN: IT'S ALMOST HERE!

Candy

 

All Hallow's Eve is almost upon us! Ghouls, goblins, and ghosts will be on the hunt for a treat and if they don't get it...a trick may be in your future. Luckily we've got you covered with our candies. Pick up a box or a bulk jar of our Honey Nut Chews, Salty Caramels, Salty Chocolate Caramels, and Salty Black Licorice. 

Order now online at www.jacobsensalt.com

Candy

Candy

Candy

Candy

Candy

Candy

Candy

Candy

RECIPE: RUSSIAN HOPPED MEAD - MEDOVUKHA

mead

A few years ago my good friend Vitaly Paley told me he had run across an old recipe for a Russian hopped mead called "Medovuhka". Being very interested in esoteric mead recipes I asked if he would translate the recipe for me. Below is the result.

This recipe assumes that you know to keep your working area and utensils sanitized as we want to make sure there isn't any contamination. For tips there are great basic mead tutorials to be found online. 

This particular recipe results in a very fresh live and sparking style of mead. The hops add a fantastic slightly bitter framework that balances out the sweetness. You may also play with different yeasts for different results. I personally prefer a dry mead hence the use of Champagne yeast. 

Most of all have fun with it and enjoy! 

 

INGREDIENTS

2.2 lbs of Bee Local honey

1 gallon of water (distilled is preferred)

50 grams of dry hops

1 Packet of Champagne yeast

 

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat 3 cups of water. Bring to boil. Remove from heat. Add hops and let steep for 1 - 3 hours. Strain then set aside. 

2. Bring 1 gallon of water to rolling boil. Remove from heat. Let cool to 90 - 110 F. 

3. Measure out 2 lbs of Bee Local honey and at to water. Stir until incorporated. 

4. Start your yeast following directions on packet. 

5. Add yeast to water and honey mixture (must). 

6. Add steeped hop liquid to water, honey, yeast mixture. Stir. 

7. Pour mixture into your fermentation container. A one gallon carboy or bucket will work fine. 

8. Add your fermentation lock then set aside in a cool dry place out of sunlight. 

9. Let ferment for 3 - 4 weeks. 

10. Bottle Medovuhka into bottles with screw tops. 

11. Place bottles into refrigerator for 6 months (or longer). 

12. Drink and enjoy! 

 

Hops

Must

Hops

Mead

Mead

mead

PORTLAND FEAST 2016: A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL

Feast 2016

 

2016 marked a very special year in the history of Feast Portland. It was the fifth year of this annual event. Every year it keeps getting bigger and better. Headed up by the dynamic duo of Carrie Welch and Mike Thelin, the festival hosts a variety of incredible events, dinners, and chefs. Feast is more than food - it's community, sharing ideas, and most of all proceeds benefit Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon

Jacobsen Salt Co. hosted the Opening Party featuring the musical stylings of Portugal The Man, with food provided by Chef Doug Adams, Mei Lin, Joshua McFadden, Matthew Jennings, Scott Bard, and Michael Selfo. Partners included Williams-Sonoma, Union Wine, 6 Point Brewery, Fieldwork Flowers, Traeger, Poler, World Foods, and Enzo Olive Oil. 

The Oregon Grand Bounty tasting was a two day marathon of tastings from some of the best artisans Oregon has to offer. We were pleased to have Mei Lin, Gregory Gourdet, and Earl Ninsom serving up some incredible dishes at our table. 

The last event was the Feast Night Market. Traditionally one of the busiest Feast events this one did not disappoint. We served Oregon Elote and Tijuana Thunder to the hungry masses. 

We hope you enjoy the photos and see you again next year! 

(photos by Damian Magista)

 

Feast 2016

Feast 2016

Feast 2016

Feast 2016

Feast 2016

Feast 2016

Chef Doug Adams

Feast 2016

Feast 2016

Chef Max

G Man

Chef Mei Lin

Feast 2016

Feast 2016

Portugal. The Man

Chef Gregory Gourdet

Gregory Gourdet

Gregory Gourdet

Gregory Gourdet

Grand Bounty

Mei Lin

Mei Lin

Mei Lin

Mei Lin

Oregon Grand Bounty

Night Market

Feast Night Market

Feast Night Market

Feast Night Market

Feast Night Market

Feast Night Market

Feast Night Market

Feast Night Market

Feast Grand Bounty

Feast Night Market

Feast Night Market

HONEY vs AGAVE NECTAR: WHY HONEY IS THE CHAMP

Honey
nat·u·ral
ˈnaCH(ə)rəl/
adjective
Existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind.

 

Often times we are swept up in marketing hype devised by a corporate team paid to create the illusion that a product or byproduct is newer, better, healthier. This deft storytelling captures the buyer's imagination, enticing them to bring that item into their home. When done correctly, it leaves enough room for the consumer to fill in blanks -allowing them to create their own story within the narrative presented. 

Once such narrative has been built around agave nectar. Agave nectar has been touted as a healthier natural sweetener far better for us than refined white sugar or other sweeteners such as High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). It's name conjures up a natural sugar traditionally made from the agave plant. We infer, through its clever marketing, that we using a wholesome friendly sweetener good for the environment and our bodies. It's placement on store shelves next to honey reinforces this.  

Unfortunately agave nectar does not belong in the same category as honey. What is sold as agave nectar is in fact not nectar at all. It's a syrup made from agave nectar (the sap extracted from the pant by crushing the pulp) that contains a fructose content higher than that of the oft lambasted High Fructose Corn Syrup. HFCS is processed through the liver and it's thought that this places undue strain on our metabolism. The sap is then heated and hydrolized. This process in an of itself doesn't turn it into an evil monster chemical but it does kill off beneficial enzymes. It also betrays the fact that agave nectar is not as 'natural' as it seems. Like most other sugars it's been processed and refined. 

Honey, on the other hand, has only been processed by Apis mellifera - the European Honeybee. Honeybees fly within a 1 - 2 mile radius of their colony collecting the nectar directly from desirable flowering plants. The nectar is stored in a specialized sac called the honey stomach. While in the honey stomach enzymes begin to break down the nectars sugar from complex to simple sugars; fructose, glucose, and sucrose. On return to the hive the bee spits the nectar into a wax cell. From there the excess water is evaporated off then sealed over with a wax cap. Honey is by definition natural, unlike agave nectar. 

Because the bees have broken down the complex sugars of nectar into simple sugars, it's easier for our bodies to metabolize. It's flavor is far more robust than agave's rather neutral flavor profile. It's a perfect food containing various natural amino acids, proteins, and sugars. 

Agave nectar is neither natural or nectar. It's plant sap that has been refined by human hands. Through clever marketing its acceptance as a natural sweetener has grown. We know now that it is not in fact natural and while it is a somewhat acceptable sweetener its origins has been deliberately obfuscated. When a product begins its life in a fog of marketing speak we should question it. 

True honey is a natural product created by honeybees without man's intervention. It is a pure product born of a devious mash up of botany and insect biology. There is no need for slick marketing or disguising its source. When choosing a sweetener choose one that is truly natural. 

Choose honey. 

COCKTAIL: THE DELIVERANCE

The Deliverance

 

The Deliverance is the perfect late summer cocktail for your porch banjo sessions or taking a break during your buddy rafting trip. It's an expertly balanced drink that will make you squeal with delight! 

 

Ingredients:

2 oz Iced Black Tea concentration using Smith Teamaker Exceptional Ice Tea
1.5 oz Dogwood Distilling Branch Raw Honey Rye
1 oz Lemon Juice
2-3 Lemon Slices
 
How To Make Exceptional Iced Tea Concentrate:

 

Steep 1 quart sized Smith Teamaker's Exceptional Iced Tea sachet in 1.5 cups of boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove sachet. Set aside and let cool (if using single serving sachets we recommend using 4-6).

 

Directions:
 
Measure out all ingredients into small pitcher stirring as you add ingredients. Place ice in mason jar. Pour mixture over ice. Place lemon slices into Mason jar. Garnish with lemon wedge on rim of jar.

 

The Deliverance

The Deliverance 

The Deliverance

The Deliverance

The Deliverance