Q: Are the bees killed when you harvest the honey?
No! In the old days of beekeeping that was often the case, but since the invention of removable frames, there's no need to destroy the bees to harvest.
Q: Do you get stung when you tend the bees or harvest honey?
Yes, we do. Our bees are very mellow, and we're very careful, but it does happen. We don’t really mind—we're used to it.
Q: What happens to the bees in the winter?
When we harvest the honey, we leave our bees plenty of food to get them through the winter, and place them in holding yards. "Heater bees" vibrate their bodies, generating warmth that keeps the interior of the hives toasty. In the early spring, we move them to nearby almond orchards, where they forage and help with pollination. The nectar and pollen from the almond blossoms make awful-tasting honey, but they're really good for the bees.
Q: What's the difference between a "hive" and a "colony"?
The "hive" is the structure the bees live in. The "colony" is the population of bees that lives in the hive.
Q: Are you worried about the diminishing bee population worldwide? Has colony collapse affected your bees?
Our bees are thriving, thankfully, but we're definitely concerned about it. We're glad that there's such growing focus on the issue, and that researchers are searching for answers about both its cause and the solutions.
Q: Do you filter the pollen out of your honey?
No, we don't. Honey can be traced back to its source by analyzing the pollen it contains. Many large producers filter their honey to make it less likely to crystallize, a process that removes the pollen, making it impossible to track where the honey came from. Our honey retains its pollen, the signature of its origins in California, Montana or Hawaii.
Q: Why don't you pasteurize your honey?
Food is generally pasteurized to kill bacteria and extend freshness. Because honey is so high in sugar and low in moisture, it doesn't offer bacteria a good environment to survive in, so pasteurization of pure honey isn't necessary. The heat involved in pasteurization actually destroys the amino acids, enzymes and other healthy components of honey, along with affecting its flavor.
Q: What's the best way to store honey?
Tightly sealed on a shelf, at room temperature. Honeycomb should be kept lying flat, in its plastic container.
Q: What should I do if my honey has crystallized?
Pure, unfiltered honey that sits for a while on the shelf will sometimes begin to form crystals. Never fear. There's nothing wrong with it – crystallization of sugars is a natural occurrence. Just place the unopened jar, upright, in a bowl or pan of hot water, to warm the honey and make it liquid again. Don't boil the jar—and never nuke your honey! Gentle warming will melt the crystals without destroying the antioxidants, amino acids, enzymes, and other beneficial nutritional components.
Q: Does honey go bad?
Tightly sealed, honey can last pretty much forever on your pantry shelf. Pots of honey thousands of years old have been discovered in Egyptian tombs, still edible. The reason our jars have a "best by" date is that honey, like many foods, is most delicious when it's fresh, and it can lose some of its complex flavor over time.
Q: Is the wax part of the honeycomb edible?
Yes! It's soft and chewy and packed with vitamin A.
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Olivarez Honey Bees
6398 Co. Rd 20
Orland, CA 95963
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