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Supporting pollinators helps the environment and our food supply. If you are interested in keeping bees yourself, there are many online resources to get started and local beekeeping organizations around the country. Most localities allow backyard hives.
If you don’t want to keep bees yourself, help support all pollinators by avoiding the use of pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals in the garden as these generally kill everything including beneficial insects. It is much better to have an integrated pest control plan where you allow other insects to control your pests. For mosquito control, Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis is a biological agent that is specific to mosquitoes and fungus gnats. It is the ingredient found in mosquito dunks and granules but can be bought in bulk sizes in line from companies such as Arbico-Organics.com.
Honey is harvested only when there is enough to support the bees through winter so our supply varies from season to season and if we lose hives over winter and need to buy new bees, we may not harvest at all. In our location, in a good year we can harvest about 60-80 pounds of honey in June and July. Once the nectar supply dwindles, we will remove our honey collecting boxes called supers and give the bees extra food to make sure they have enough to survive winter.
After removing the cap of beeswax over the honey, we extract the honey from the frames in a special centrifuge, filter out any residual wax, but not the pollen, and bottle it. Honey that is not heated or commercially filtered has more pollen in it and will often crystallize in the jar. The honey is still good and you can return it to its liquid state by putting the bottle in a gentle water bath, or if you are lucky like me to have a warming drawer, you can put it in there on the lowest setting.
After extracting the honey, we are left with the wax that capped the honey. It has a lot of honey residue and some people will wash it but we prefer to put it outside to let the bees clean up the residual honey. After all they made it, so why waste it. See a time lapse video of them cleaning some wax this summer. Once it is cleaned by the bees, there is not a bit of honey left on it. There can still be propolis that would interfere with clean burning so we heat it and filter it through organic paper coffee filters before pouring it into molds for our candles.