The Cheatham Beekeepers Club met Saturday, November 12, 2011 at the Cheatham Co. Public Library in Ashland City, TN. Linda Nutt led the discussion in President Roger Senechal's absence. Several topics were discussed - the members (which are a diverse group) engaged in an interesting and animated discussion of each topic.
1. November Beekeeping Tasks as cited at HIvetool.com. Use of Fumidil-B/Fumigillin-B as a preventative to nosema (both types) was discussed - why, it's intended impact, how to use. Some members use this antibiotic, some do not. One person present is using Honey-B-Healthy as a 'bee booster' with good results. There is variation in frequency of use (1x or 2x a year). Though this product is used to prevent hive infection of two types of nosema, there is still much to learn about how this works and natural alternatives.
2. Fondant as a Winter feed source was discussed. Since no one present had experience using fondant as an alternative to sugar syrup or other forms of feed, one member volunteered to use the recipe in hivetool.com and bring it to the December meeting.
3. Food Safety News article about 'Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn't Honey' which was recently shared with the members by Stephen Penick was discussed. Stephen outlined the prominent points of the article which were 1) over 60 different honey products were purchased and analyzed by Professor Vaughn Bryant who is an expert in milissopalynology (the study of pollen), 3) He found that the majority of the samples (76%) had no (zero) pollen, and 3) Pollen was found in every sample purchased from beekeepers, farmer's markets, coo-ops, and natural food stores.
Pollen can be completely removed with a process called 'ultrafiltration': pollen identification is one certain way to identify where honey originated via the specific pollen sources which may be unique to a limited number of locations. With the continued attempted importation of tainted honey from China (for example) with the use of devious labeling and shipping strategies - being able to identify the source of honey is important.
Currently, there is no requirement that imported honey be tested by the FDA to verify its source and to also to rule out the presence of pesticides and other chemicals within the honey. Also discussed was the push of some members of Congress to have honey formally defined so the USA uses the definition used by most European countries. This action would address if pollen is an expected part of honey (and if pesticides are not). There is opposition or apathy to taking this action for reasons that are not clearly understood - mandatory testing of imported honey would probably require more staff, more money to support the increased action, etc. What constitutes honey is questioned in the Food Safety article, the FDA is cited as saying honey is not honey is no pollen is present.
The members were in agreement that education of the customer is the key to sales on a customer-by-customer basis.
This article can be accessed at www.foodsafetynews.com
A different perspective was presented by Kim Flottum from Bee Culture magazine. His Catch the Buzz email subscription presented comments about the Food Safety News article by the CEO for the National Honey Board (NHB). The NHB representative says most honey is filtered in the USA because most customers want clear honey and that the lack of pollen isn't an issue of concern. Apparently the USDA honey grading standards refer to the presence or removal of pollen. The presence or absence of pollen in honey by agencies like the USDA is not all together clear. More of this pespective from www.honey.com. A subscription to Catch the Buzz can be made at the BeeCulture web site.
4. The December meeting will be December 10th at 1 PM at Riverside Restaurant on the Cumberland River in Ashland City. If you like, bring an inexpensive present (less than $10) for a 'dirty Santa' present exchange. Participation in the present exchange is optional. Family are invited for fellowship and fun. This date is verified.