|once supers, now nucs|
I like to open feed in half barrels filled with hay the bees don't drown and I don't know but I like think them crawl. I used to use primarily jar feeders, but this is not only easier but it prevents robbing and seems more natural. It's just my own idea, but bees naturally go out from the hive to feed. I do know that a lot more bees were killed in the other types of feeders I've tried, and this is very simple, cheap, and easy to maintain. I just procured this shelter from a friend, but before that the barrels just sat out on the lawn.
Bees are not the only things that sting in Florida, and it's always a good habit to look before putting your hand under something. This is a Black Widow spider I found moving pallets and empty supers. Snakes and scorpions are also seen around here frequently, so I have to really look at what I'm doing. It's probably made me less concerned about safety around bees than I should be. Getting stung on the face is always the worst to look at, but the fingers hurt the most.
The State of Florida now has a regulatory system for Cottage Food Operations that allows for the production of non potentially hazardous foods, including honey, prepared in a personal residence using home kitchen appliances. Annual gross sales cannot exceed $15,000 and your products cannot be sold on the internet, mail order or wholesale, which includes such places as restaurants and retail outlets. There are food labeling requirements, and the Department of Agriculture has the authority to investigate home-based food operations if there is a legitimate complaint and enforce penalties for non compliance.
These are examples of our new front and back labels we ordered for our 2 lb jars this year. We've never bothered having labels on our honey since we could only take donations. We tried once to make them, but the ink ran since we only have an inkjet and we didn't realize the labels had to be printed on a lazer printer to hold up to use. This year with the cottage food law, we started looking at labels to buy. What worked for us was a label made by Anne Turnham at Custom Honey Labels. Anne is a Minnesota beekeeper who started making honey labels for her bee club and is now taking orders from across the U.S. and Canada. She's got a wide variety of designs to suit whatever your image is, the prices are very good, and she pays personal attention to what you need on your label. Really a full-service business; it makes us feel important even though our orders are small.
Spring is a busy time in the bee business. Though I've been working all winter here in Florida, plants are starting to bloom and the daylight is lasting longer, so I tend to work longer days just like the bees.