Rub balm between the palms of your hands to warm up. A little water helps soften.
Beekeepers are a rare breed of individuals who are nothing but custodians of bee colonies. Not much is in place to keep the queen and her subjects trapped inside a box, the choice to stay is theirs, I say "theirs" because we have reason to believe that the colony is managed under a democratic rule. This takes the responsibility of important decisions away from solely the queen.
The relationship between the beekeeper and the bees is key, how the beekeeper manages his hives will affect how the bees perform. Beekeeping actually falls under the department of agriculture and on a larger scale we refer to humans as "farming bees". Commercial beekeeping has faced severe criticism in recent years questioning their practices of migrating bees over great distances, pollination practices and how, if we continue like this, we are threatening the survival of all of life on the planet. It is true, our planet needs us to be more aware of her needs right now, we need to clean up our farming practices in every shape and form possible. It's not only the bee farmers who need reform.
A large scale problem we are facing is the practice of importing and exporting honey, and the practice of diluting honey or even producing fake honey. We need to come back to seeing our food as our medicine. That is: tune in to where our food comes from, who is growing it and what impact is this having on the environment.
The truth is bees are highly industrious, they have evolved over the years to overcome the changes in climate, and to yield enormous amounts of honey, far more than to cater for their own needs. And not only honey, other byproducts like propolis are used in health care. Beeswax is used in art, cosmetics and candle making.
So, what exactly are we buying on the shelves: I hear this often during a conversation around retail honey. Well, we aren't 100% sure anymore, especially if the country of origin is listed as three or more countries. My advice is "Local is Lekke". We should adopt this approach: that the very supply of our food (not just honey) is connected to nature, connected to the seasons, rather than something that is connected to the consumers demands. This will put nature back in the driving seat and bring the highest quality of honey back to your table at affordable prices.