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Hudson Hives - What's the Buzz?

Welcome to the Hudson Hives Blog where we talk all about Bees, Honey & Beekeeping

Winter 2023

About our Blog

We started this blog to share our love about bees, honey and beekeeping. Each blog will feature interesting facts about bees, honey and beekeeping and will include yummy recipes, DIY crafts and skincare recipes.

This blog discusses:

Cute little honey bee with pollen

About Hudson Hives

Hudson Hives is a family owned apiary located in Hudson, MA. Honey is raw, unpasteurized, unfiltered, & unadulterated and retains all the healthy benefits that mother nature intended. We hand bottle, label and package in our Hudson Hives' studio.

As founders of Hudson Hives, Stephen and Jen blended their interest and passion of beekeeping and plants together to establish Hudson Hives.

To learn more about how and why we started Hudson Hives click here

The Beekeeper

Stephen in the Hudson Hives apiary (bee yard)

Stephen is a beekeeper and first became interested in bees in Ireland where a family member was a beekeeper. Stephen was trained through the Worcester County Beekeepers Association and is a member. ​ In his spare time Stephen is a historic British Reenactor. You can find him on Lexington Green on Patriots Day.

The Herbalist

Jen in her favorite place in the world - a lavender field in Provence

Jen loves plants and is a certified herbalist and aromatherapist . She formulates and handcrafts all of Hudson Hives' products using honey, beeswax, herbs and essential oils. ​ Jen loves to spend time outdoors hiking, kayaking or paddle boarding, doing yoga and is obsessed with hippy vans.

Winter Beekeeping

Right now we are in the middle of winter with a fresh blanket of snow. The bees are snug as a bug huddled in a cluster with the queen in the center. The bees shiver to promote heat and take turns being in the center of the cluster. The inside temperature of their winter cluster is about 95 degrees.

In the fall beekeepers prepare hives for the winter, treating hives for Varroa Mites, a microscopic mite which is a debilitating parasite of the honeybee, causing loss of the bee colony. Beekeepers make sure the bee colony has enough food as the colony needs up to 100 pounds of honey to eat throughout the winter. The amount of honey needed for the bees depends on how strong the bee colony is and how warm winters have been. A warm winter, above 40°F (4°C), keeps the colony active which uses more energy than they would during a cold winter. A cold winter, below 30°F (-1°C), results in bees remaining in the cluster and conserving their energy. The more energy that the bees use, the more food that they need to eat to replenish that energy.

While overwintering the queen slows down or even stops laying brood (baby eggs). The beekeeper will make sure the front entrance to the hive is open so that the hive is ventilated so moisture doesn't build up. There is a saying beekeepers use "a wet hive is a dead hive". The opening needs to be clear of snow and debris so that bees can come in and out of the hive as needed. On warm sunny winter days it's not surprising to see bees coming out of the hive to relieve themselves (yep they have been holding it in just waiting for a warm sunny winter day).

Beekeepers utilize this quieter time during the winter to prepare for the upcoming busy months and may build frames for the hive.

Stephen inspecting a frame. Note the queen cells on the edge of the frame.

Why does Honey Crystallize and How to Fix It?

Why does RAW UNFILTERED HONEY crystalize?

All RAW UNFILTERED honey will crystalize over time; the type of honey, method of storage and cooler temperature can impact how quickly it will crystalize.

Discovering tiny white specks or noticing a distinct change in consistency of your honey may be concerning to those not familiar with honey crystallization. When raw honey crystallizes it often lightens in color. The consistency change starts at the bottom and crawls towards the top. The honey may feel hard or taste gritty.

Composition of Honey

To und