Buzz By Bill's Bees Honey Table at McGroarty Arts Center Chili Bowl Fest & Art & Craft Faire

Bills Bees Honey Table at McGroarty Arts Center

Buzz by Bill's Bees Honey Table at McGroarty Arts Center
16th Annual Chili Bowl Fest and Art & Crafts Faire,
Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 1st & 2nd, 2018.

Liane Lewis will have our honey table overflowing
with beautiful holiday gifts from Bill’s Bees honey bees.  

Bill's Bees Honey Table at McGroarty Arts Center

 100% Raw Honey - Just the way the bees made it!
You'll love our home made beeswax soaps and lotions 
hand crafted by Liane. 
Our magical beeswax ornaments and beautiful slow burning beeswax candles are a holiday treasure
Lots of delightful, flavorful HoneyStix!

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All the Buzz About Bees - Talking Points Featuring Bill Lewis of Bill's Bees

 Bill Lewis, President/Owner of Bill’s Bees and former president of the California State Beekeepers Association, shares some of his experiences with bees over the last 30-some years.

"It's not something everybody does." ~Bill Lewis

In this fascinating overview, Bill talks about honey bee activity, hive behavior, bee colony collapse, habitat loss, crop pollination, and honey production. 

Take a peek at the amazing life that goes on inside a beehive: how bees communicate, get along inside a hive, and who makes the decisions. Learn how bees collect nectar and pollen and bring it back to the hive to make honey, 
how honey is harvested and preserved. 

When asked about the best ways to behave around bees, Bill's reply:

"Pretend they're not there." 

Beach TV/CSULB Host: David Kelly
California State University/Long Beach

Bill's Bees

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Happy Halloween!

Bill's Bees HoneyStix

Trick or Treat with a Healthy, Happy, Tasty, Treat Kids Love To Eat! HoneyStix! from Bill's Bees!.

Bill’s Bees HoneyStix are convenient straws filled with pure honey. We offer Floral Honey Varieties, HoneyStix Natural Flavored Varieties, and HoneyStix Gourmet Flavored, over 20 different varieties to choose from. 

HoneyStix are the best sweet, healthy, tasty treat! They’re great for snacks or a quick energy pick-me-up! Pack them in your kid’s lunch, pop them in your backpack, keep a package in your car, or your drawer at work. Bill ran a marathon with a fist full of HoneyStix - 1 stick evey 2 miles. Honey is an excellent source of healthy energy and are rich in amino acids, antioxidents, vitamins, and minerals. Sweeten your tea, drizzle over cereal, yogurt, or baked good. Squeeze the delicious honey straight from the straw into your mouth! 

To open, just snip one end of the straw, or, pinch one end of the straw between your thumb and pointer, hold the honey stix so the edge is vertical, and bite down with your back teeth. Then squeeze the honey out and – enjoy! 

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It's Autumn - Time for Bill's Bees Pumpkin Spice Latte Handmade Beeswax Soap

Bills Bees Pumpkin Spice Latte Homemade Beeswax Soap
It's Autumn! Time for Pumpkin Spiced Latte Handmade Beeswax Soap, one of Bill's Bees favorites. Liane creates a delicious blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and real organic pumpkin...enchanced with milk and honey. These lovely soap bars smell and look good enough to eat - but I wouldn't recommend it.

Liane personally makes all our handmade beeswax soap barsShe develops her own recipes and uses beeswax and honey produced by our honey bees. She makes soap the old fashioned way, cold process in small 30 bar batches. It's always a mystery to me; I never know what she's going to come up with next. 

Our Pumpkin Spiced Latte Handmade Beeswax Soap Bars are amazing, and they're seasonal. Get them while they last!!! Enjoy!

Bill's Bees

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National Honey Bee Day

Bill's Bees 2018 National Honey Bee Day

National Honey Bee Day (formerly National Honey Bee Awareness Day) is an awareness day started by beekeepers in the United States to build community awareness of the bee industry, through education and promotion.

According to its organizers, the National Honey Bee Day program started with a simple concept:[1]

Bring together beekeepers, bee associations, as well as other interested groups to connect with the communities to advance beekeeping. By working together and harnessing the efforts that so many already accomplish, and [by] using a united effort one day a year, the rewards and message is magnified many times over. We encourage bee associations, individuals, and other groups to get involved. The program is free and open to all.

The event was started in 2009, by a small group of beekeepers who petitioned for and obtained a formal proclamation[2] by the USDAhonoring honey bees and beekeeping. In 2010, a non-profit, Pennsylvania Apiculture Inc. was organized[3] to better facilitate and promote the observance. The original date of observation was August 22, 2009 (the fourth Saturday of August), but has since settled permanently on the third Saturday of August.


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Why Honey is a Smart Alternative to Sugar (& How to Substitute)

Honey Cashew Morning Buns 
Food 52 blog by Joanne Chang

Joanne Chang—owner of Flour Bakery, author of Baking with Less Sugar, and all-around dessert wizard—has discovered that less sugar can often mean more flavor. 

Today: This light and airy sticky morning bun is made entirely with honey, which means you'll keep enjoying it even after the first couple bites.

The old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" reverberated through my head as I was testing recipes for my latest book, Baking with Less Sugar. Did it really make any sense at all to create a no-sugar version of our famous sticky bun? When Bobby Flay declares your pastry "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" on the Food Network, you don't really want to mess with it. However, I was discovering how to bake with honey to make many—make that most—pastries, and I wanted to see what would happen if our sticky buns were made with the warm perfumey sweetness of honey. 

Honey is one of the oldest sweeteners known to man and has been used since ancient times for medicinal and nutritional purposes. It contains trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. And if you're looking to bake without refined white sugar, it's a smart alternative.

Honey substitutes for sugar

Since honey is actually a bit sweeter than sugar, you can usually reduce the amount of honey in a recipe that normally contains sugar and still have a wonderfully sweet pastry; the rule of thumb is about 20 to 25% less honey than sugar.

Here are some other points to consider when substituting in honey for sugar:

If you are using honey instead of sugar in a cookie or cake recipe that has baking powder or baking soda, you will want to add an additional 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the dry ingredients for every 1 cup of honey. Why? Because honey acts as an acid in baked goods and it will react with the baking soda and make your cake/cookies rise. When when you bake with sugar, on the other hand, there's no chemical reaction between the sugar and the baking soda and therefore no need to add it. (Baking soda is often in recipes that include white sugar because it reacts to otheringredients in the recipe: brown sugar, sour cream, cocoa, buttermilk, etc.).

Honey browns faster than sugar, so you’ll want to reduce the temperature of your oven by around 25° F if replacing sugar with honey.

A great attribute of both honey and sugar is that they are hygroscopic, which means they attract water and keep pastries moist. Pastries made with honey will be fresh and tender for at least a few days, if not longer.

Our original sticky bun recipe contains honey, as well as as copious amounts of brown sugar. In this recipe for Honey Cashew Morning Buns, I wanted to focus on highlighting the taste of honey (not just its sweetness) and of cashews.

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Honey Cashew Morning Buns

Makes 12 buns

For the bun dough:

240 grams (1 cup) water, at body temperature (when you put your finger in it, it should feel neither cold nor hot)
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast or 3 grams (0.1 ounces) fresh cake yeast
350 grams (2 1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus up to about 35 grams (1/4 cup) more, if needed
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
50 grams (1/4 cup) olive oil or mild vegetable oil

For the honey goo:

115 grams (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
170 grams (1/2 cup) honey
120 grams (1/2 cup) heavy cream
120 grams (1/2 cup) water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the bun filling:

240 grams (2 cups) raw unsalted cashews, chopped
115 grams (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, very soft
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

First photo by Joseph De Leo; second by James Ransom

(Thank you to FOOD52 for permission to reprint this blog post by Joanne Chang, August 4, 2015.)

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NEW HARVEST - Bill's Bees 100% Raw Avocado Honey

Bill's Bees 100% Raw Avocado Honey

NEW HARVEST - Bill's Bees 100% Raw Avocado Honey! Now Available!

From April to June we take some of our honey bees to help pollinate avocados in the avocado orchards of Ventura County, CA. The nectar from avocado blossoms makes a dark, rich buttery honey with a subtle taste of avocado. The unique taste can be used in a variety of ways: in your smoothies, delicious on toast, in cooking recipes which call for honey. It can be used as a substitute for sugar or molasses. Use Avocado Honey to create your own homemade facial masks, shampoos and conditioners. With its high levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, you can also use it on cuts and burns to help aid the healing process. Bill's Bees 100% Raw Avocado Honey - unfiltered, unprocessed - Just the Way the Bees Made It!


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Bill's Bees Honey at the Theodore Payne Foundation

Theodore Payne Foundation

When you're searching for the ideal wild flowers and  native plants for your garden, visit The Theodore Payne Foundation.  Buzz by their book/gift/seed shop and pick up some of Bill's Bees 100% raw, natural, local honey.  Bill's Bees honey bees forage in the local San Gabriel Mountains and bring back nectar from a variety of wild flowers and native plants to make delicious Buckwheat, Sage Wildflower and Wildflower honeys.  10459 Tuxford Streed, Sun Valley, CA 91352 (818) 768-1802.

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Bees For Sale

Bill's Bees has 2018 Bees for Sale! Order NOW for Spring delivery. We sell only Italian Honey Bees with known gentle genetics that are easy to work with and build up abundantly for pollination and honey production. Whether you are a new beekeeper or already an experienced beekeeper, these bees are perfect for you. Our VSH-Italian Queen Bees are from our favorite breeders in Northern California where there are no Africanized Honey Bees. These bees are ideal for Backyard Beekeeping in Los Angeles.

Medium Box Complete Hive Special!Medium Box Complete Hive Special - ($250): A complete hive is an established nucleus colony with a VSH Italian queen. It includes a used commercial grade hive top, bottom board, and medium (6-5/8”) hive body containing: 6 frame nucleus colony (4 frames brood in all stages, 2 frames with honey and pollen) and 4 additional undrawn plastic frames to fill out the box. These are gentle bees and the hive contains a marked 2017 Italian queen with known gentle genetics. These hives will need an additional box to expand into within a few weeks of taking them home. Order NOW! Available for pick up on weekdays immediately or the weekend of April 14th and 15th. Times: 8:30am-12pm and 1:00pm-3:30pm.   

Package Bees - 2018 ($175): 3 lbs Italian honey bees in a screened cage includes a VSH Italian mated, marked queen in a separate screened queen cage (with attendants). The known gentle genetics of these Italian Honey Bees make them ideal for Backyard Beekeeping in Los Angeles. Packages can be installed in any style hive. The VSH-Italian queen bee is produced and mated in Northern, CA where there are no Africanized genetics ensuring gentle behaving offspring. Order NOW! Available for pick up ONLY ON April 14th and 15th. Times: 8:30am-12pm and 1:00pm-3:30pm.    

Nucleus Colony - 2018 ($250): 5 frame nucs on deep frames  includes a VSH-Italian marked queen with known gentle genetics. These are Italian honey bees with known gentle genetics and are ideal for Backyard Beekeeping in Los Angeles. 5 frame Nucs on deep frames. Order NOW! Not available for pick up until mid-May. We will contact you in early May to schedule a pick up date and time.

Complete Hive - 2018 ($350) (Deep Box): 
 A complete hive is an established nucleus colony and includes a VSH-Italian marked queen, a painted deep hive body, bottom board fastened to the box and lid, plus 5 additional undrawn new frames to fill out the box. These are Italian honey bees with known gentle genetics and are ideal for Backyard Beekeeping in LA. Order NOW! Not available for pick up until mid-May. We will contact you in early May to schedule a pick up date and time.

VSH Italian Queen2018 VSH-QUEENS - 
($45) (MARKED)
 (VSH-Italian Sensitive Hygine), mated, with known gentle genetics. Queens come marked. Order NOW! Not available for pick up until mid-May. We will contact you in early May to schedule a pick up date and time.      
Bill's Bees are available for purchase online.
However, you can not pick up your bees at farmers markets.
Please check availability and pick up dates/times for your bees.
Thank you for purchasing your honey bees from Bill's Bees.

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Commercial Beekeepers: The Unsung Heroes of the Nut Business

Bill's Bees hives

An employee of Bill’s Bees prepares hives for transportation to almond groves. Credit: T

(Every year about this time, Bill's Bees takes part in the greatest pollination event in the universe - almond pollination. In 2015, Tracy Samuelson featured Bill's Bees in her piece for Marketplace, (it's reposted below in its entirety). Enjoy!)

"Commercial Beekeepers - the Unsung Heroes of the Nut Business" 

"Bill Lewis is waiting for the sun to set, the time of day when his bees crawl back inside the short white boxes that house their colonies. As the sky turns pink behind the San Gabriel mountains, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, Lewis climbs into the seat of a forklift and starts moving the hives onto the back of a flatbed truck. These bees are on the move.

Bill's Bees hives at sunset

The best time to transport bees is after dusk, when they return to their hives for the night. Credit: Tracey Samuelson/Marketplace

 Bill's Bees transports bees

Bill Lewis of Bill’s Bees loads several hundred hives onto trucks in Lake View Terrace, CA., in order to drive them a couple hours north to pollinate almond trees for a few weeks. Credit: Tracey Samuelson/Marketplace

"As soon as you get on the freeway and there’s air flowing past the entrances, all the bees run back inside,” says Lewis, of any stragglers.

Lewis, who runs Bill’s Bees, is taking about 700 of his hives on a road trip to the California’s Central Valley, where he’ll unload them across acres of almond orchards, working until 1 or 2 a.m. under the light of full moon.

All across the country, more than a million-and-a-half colonies are making a similar journey – traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles to pollinate California’s almonds. Farmers rent hives for few weeks because in order for almond trees to produce nuts, bees need to move pollen from one tree to another. 

No bees, no almonds.

“This pollination season there will be [some] 800,000 acres of almonds that need to be pollinated,” says Eric Mussen, a honey bee specialist at the University of California Davis. He says more than 100 different kinds of crops need these rent-a-bees, but almonds are significant for the number of acres that require pollination all at the same time. About 85 percent of the commercial bees in United States – which Mussen calls “bees on wheels” – travel to California for almonds.

The state supplies roughly 80 percent of the world’s almonds, worth $6.4 billion during the 2013-2014 season, according to the Almond Board of California.

“It’s a matter of numbers,” he says. “You’re trying to provide enough bees to be moving the pollen around between the varieties and whatnot. It’s just a huge, huge number of bees. The only way we can get a huge number of bees in one place at one time is to bring them in on trucks.”

In fact, bees are such an important part of the almond business that Paramount Farms, one of the biggest almond growers in the world, has decided they need to be in the bee business, too. The company just bought one of the largest beekeepers in the United States, based in Florida.

“Bees are so essential for the process of growing almonds,” says Joe MacIlvane, Paramount’s president. “If we don’t have a reliable supply of good strong colonies, we simply won’t be a viable almond grower, so that’s our primary motivation for getting into the business.”

Renting bees is about 10 to 15 percent of Paramount’s production costs, but the motivation to keep their own bees isn’t simply economic.

“Many bee keepers are individual or family business and many people are getting on in years and we don’t see a lot of young people coming into the business,” says MacIlvane.

Additionally, bee populations are struggling. A significant number having been dying each year for the past decade or so, thanks to a mix of factors, from pesticides to lost habitat for feeding. Sometimes it’s difficult to know exactly what’s killing them.

“We had a large problem last year with bees dying in the orchard because of something that was going on during bloom,” says Bill Lewis. He thinks a pesticide or fungicide may have been to blame.

This year, Lewis and his bee broker are being pickier about the farms they’re working with, vetting them more carefully because those lost bees had big economic consequences – about $300,000 in lost income for Lewis."

Featured in: Marketplace for Monday March 2, 2015 (Click here for Radio Interview

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