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The Surprising History of Beekeeping

Humans have been relishing in the sweet taste and the glistening colors of honey for over 10,000 years. How did beekeeping originate? How did it evolve in modern times? Here is the surprising history of beekeeping!

What Is Beekeeping and How Did It Begin?

Beekeeping or “apiculture” refers to the maintenance of bee colonies. Most commonly, that includes species like honey bees, worker bees, and stingless bees. In apiculture, apiarists (beekeepers) are in charge of keeping bees to collect their honey along with other products, including beeswax, flower pollen, propolis, honeycombs, and bee pollen.

So how did we end up domesticating bees? Well, the history of beekeeping may surprise you. Some sources that depict early beekeeping activities date back to 8000 BC. They include prehistoric drawings in caves that show people consuming honey. Another rock painting from 5000 BC gives us a glimpse into early beekeeping practices. This drawing was found in Spain, and it shows a honey hunter collecting honey from a bee’s nest. Beekeeping also had roots in ancient Egypt over 4,500 years ago. In fact, archeologists have discovered primitive hives, smoke traces, honey jars, and other apiculture tools in the tombs of pharaohs, such as Tutankhamun.

What’s more, in Israel’s Jordan Valley, an archeological dig has revealed an ancient beekeeping site that dates back to over 3,000 years ago. The site contains evidence of orderly rows. They could store 100 hives and up to one million bees. Other ancient civilizations, like the Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and even the Mayans, all collected honey.

At some point, we started to make tools and artificial hives to collect and store honey. Those tools include wooden boxes, hollow logs, straw baskets, or pottery vessels. However, apiculture was quite primitive in the early days because we knew little about the biology of bees.

Modern Beekeeping

The modern era of apiculture began when we started to learn more about bees from a scientific perspective. For example, in 1568, Nikel Jacob found that queens are bred by bees from the eggs of young larvae. Moreover, in 1586, Luis Torres discovered that the queen bee is a female “mother” bee who lays eggs for all bees in a hive.

Still, one of the biggest breakthroughs came in the 18th century when scientists focused on studying bee colonies and bee biology. This new perspective on bees allowed humans to construct the movable comb hive. The movable frame hive is one of the most important inventions in beekeeping. It has allowed beekeepers to harvest the honey without destroying the entire colony. During this period, we also learned about the different types of honey, different bee species, beeswax, industrial beekeeping practices, and modern hive designs. In the 19th century, there was an explosion of practical and commercial apiculture, which continues to this day.

Currently, beekeeping is still evolving. In North America and around the world, scientists and apiarists are focusing on bee-friendly and ethical practices. This has caused an explosion of all kinds of bee-friendly equipment and hives that allow bees to live in a safe “bee space” and create natural combs.

Little Giant Beekeepers Can Help 

At Little Giant Beekeepers, we have a profound respect for bees, and we know they are some of the essential creatures on the planet. However, we also understand that bees can become a problem if you find them inside or outside your home. If you need quick and ethical bee removal, we can help you stay safe and bee-free. Contact us today to get rid of unwanted bees, and we’ll be happy to help!

Home Remedies to Cure Bee Stings

When a bee feels threatened, it will sting. Not only is it painful when the initial stinger invades your body, but the reaction your body has afterward isn’t any better. 1 to 3 percent of the population has an allergic reaction, which may end in a trip to the hospital. However, most people only experience mild reactions, which last a couple of days and can be treated at home. With the proper care, you will feel better in no time. Little Giant Beekeepers has gathered some helpful tips and home remedies for treating bee stings.

Ice and Cold Compresses Reduce Swelling

Immediately remove the stinger with your nails or tweezers, even the side of a credit card works. This stops any more venom from entering your body. Then, wash the area thoroughly to remove any extra venom. After this is done, the most common step is to use ice or a cold compress. It helps reduce pain and swelling. Wrap an ice pack (or the sort) with a cloth and place it on the site of the sting. Keep it there for a couple of minutes and repeat it as many times as needed.

Toothpaste Neutralizes Bee Venom

This is a remedy that most people have at their disposal. Although it’s unusual and has never been scientifically proven, it has been used by many people to treat stings. The claim is that alkaline toothpaste helps neutralize bee venom. However, it does not stabilize wasp venom, so be sure to know which one has stung you. Simply place a small dab of toothpaste in the affected area.

Baking Soda Reduces Itching and Swelling

Create a paste with water and baking soda. This will help neutralize the venom and reduce itching and swelling. Apply it to the affected area and cover it with a bandage. Leave the bandage on for about 15 minutes and reapply as needed. But bee careful with baking soda. It contains lots of alkalines and too much of it can damage the skin.

Meat Tenderizers Reduce Pain

Papain is an enzyme in meat tenderizers that is believed to break down the protein that causes pain and itching. Create a solution with one part meat tenderizer and four parts water. Apply the solution for about 30 minutes. 

Aloe Vera Gel Soothes the Skin

If you have ever gotten a bad sunburn, then you probably have used aloe to treat it and have it lying around somewhere in the house. It has cooling, soothing, and moisturizing qualities that will reduce pain and swelling. It will also prevent the area from getting infected. According to a study done in 2015, aloe has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which explains the magical relief you feel when it touches the affected area.

Essential Oils Help With Pain

These oils have wound-healing properties, but be careful when using them, for some may create an allergic reaction. These oils may help with pain and swelling. Many of them have antibacterial and antifungal properties, which can help with preventing infections. Some of the oils include tea tree, thyme, rosemary, lavender, and witch hazel. Mix any of the oils with olive oil. Create a 1:5 ratio, with olive oil being the main base.

Honey Itself, is Antibacterial

It may seem odd, but bees create the remedy to heal the wounds they cause. Honey has many medicinal properties and contains compounds that reduce swelling. It has antibacterial properties that can prevent the affected area from getting infected. Make sure to apply honey indoors though, you don’t want to attract any more bees!

Little Giant Beekeepers Can Help Prevent Bee Stings

Although there are many home remedies to treat bee stings, the best solution is to stop it from happening in the first place. If you ever see bees inside or outside your home, there’s a chance a beehive is there too. Contact Little Giant Beekeepers right away! We will safely remove the hive as quickly as possible. There’s no reason to be dealing with the pain of bee stings. Call us today and we can make your home safe again!

Why Do Honey Bees Die When They Sting You?

If you have ever been stung by a honeybee, you probably noticed that it didn’t get very far afterward. Now, you might be wondering why do bees sting if it will kill them? If Honey bees die after defending themselves, there must be a reason for their ultimate sacrifice. Bees are fascinating creatures that work very hard to raise and protect their beehives. Female Honey bee workers are the ones that do most of the attacking, as the queen bee rarely leaves the hive and procreates instead. Worker bees are simply doing their part and will sting without a second thought when they feel threatened.

The Honey Bees’ Gruesome Death

The stinger is made up of two parts, which are two rows of saw-toothed blades. These blades scissor into your flesh and once they are in, they don’t retract. The only way for the honeybee to pull out of your skin is to self-amputate. It leaves behind part of its digestive tract, muscles, and nerves. This abdominal rupture kills the bee. However, even though the bee is dead, the stinger is still hard at work, pumping venom into your body.

The Threat Remains

Nerve cells continue to coordinate the stinger. The blades dig deeper into your skin, releasing venom into your wound for minutes after the bee is gone. The stinger needs to be removed immediately or the effects can be detrimental. The scent of the venom may even reach the rest of the worker bees and signal a war. This scent is a mixture of alarm pheromones that excites the beehive because it’s a sign that there’s a threat nearby. The worker bees get prepared to sting anything that comes their way.

The Honey Bee’s Main Purpose is to Protect

Since Honey bee workers are infertile, their main task is to collect nectar and pollen to feed the beehive and to protect the hive from any threats. Honey bee workers are like disposable soldiers. They give up their lives so the queen bee can keep reproducing, and so new bees can survive to take over the throne and maintain the hive in the future, continuing the life cycle. Honey bees aren’t aware that stinging will lead to death, and they attack instinctively. 

The Stinger as a Weapon

Honey bees use their stingers as a weapon for any sort of threat, whether it’s an insect or a human. Luckily, their stingers don’t get stuck in all animals. When they sting large insects, the honeybees can pull out their stinger safely and survive. However, humans and other types of mammals with thick skin trap the stinger and leave no other option for the bees than to die. Honeybees are the only types of bees that die once they have stung you. Yet, their stinger pumps a couple doses of venom into you, so it’s not a complete misfortune for the honeybee.

Little Giant Beekeepers is Your Protection

Honey bees will sting you as soon as they feel threatened. Even after they die, their venom will pump through your body, bringing you discomfort, and it can even have detrimental effects on your health. The scent of the venom will arouse the rest of the bees against you. If you see bees buzzing inside your house, or a good amount of them outside your home, there is a high chance that a beehive is nearby. Don’t wait another minute; contact Little Giant Beekeepers today! We will get rid of the beehive as quickly as possible to avoid any further threats.

What’s The Difference Between Bees and Wasps?

Many people use the terms bees and wasps interchangeably in conversation. Yet, they are fairly different. They may have a similar color scheme and make the same buzzing sound, but when it comes to their stinging power and way of life, they are quite different. It is important to know the difference between both insects, so you use proper treatment of wounds and appropriate pest control like Little Giant Beekeepers. Once you know what you’re dealing with, a portal of answers opens up.

Beloved Bees

There are many types of bees in the United States and they commonly make their appearance during warm weather. They come out of hiding in the springtime, busily collecting nectar from all of the sprouting flowers. They remain active in the summer and well into the fall. The most common types are honey bees, bumblebees, and carpenter bees. Bees do a lot of good work to maintain our delicate ecosystem. That’s why Little Giant Beekeepers is passionate about offering live bee removal services. With our bee removal services, we can protect our communities and these amazing little insects.

What Do Bees Look Like

Bumblebees and carpenter bees are rounder in shape and they are black and yellow as the media frequently depicts bees. Honey bees are banded orange-yellow and brown to black and appear to be very hairy. Fun fact, their fuzziness actually helps them collect nectar. Honey bees are the most common type of bee that you will encounter. All types of bees range from a quarter of an inch to an inch long!

Bee Gone 

You might have heard about bees dying after they sting you. This is typically true for honey bees because they leave their stinger in you. By leaving the stinger, they are also leaving part of their digestive tract. They won’t sting you unless they are around their nest and they sense a threat to their home. While they are away from their nest, they are less aggressive. They will sting if they feel threatened, so avoid swatting at them and they will leave you unharmed. However, once you mess with a bee it’s no joke. The stinger they leave behind continues to pump venom into your veins. Removing the stinger is painful and so is the aftermath. Swelling and itchiness accompany the wound and the symptoms can last for a couple of days.

A Bug’s Life

Honey bee colonies can have a population of over 75,000. Queen bees procreate, while the worker bees take care of the nest. They do not hibernate because they have thousands of bees that preserve food and keep each other warm. Their main function is collecting nectar and creating honey.

Watch Out for the Wasps

Queen wasps will begin building and populating their nest in April. By June or July, the colony is fully populated. There can be up to 10,000 wasps. This is a much smaller number compared to bees. Due to the smaller amount, they are unable to keep each other warm during the winter. They also don’t gather as much food for all of them to survive until the next summer. They hibernate in the winter, usually in deep crevasses.

Wasps’ Appearance and Habits

Wasps are narrow-waisted and black. Some of them have bright yellow, white, or orange markings. They don’t have much hair unlike bees, and they are half an inch to an inch long. The most common type of wasps is yellow jackets and paper wasps, with yellow jackets being the shortest. Wasps can not produce honey. They still feed on nectar and other types of sugar, and their larvae are fed bits of insects.

Do Not Mess with a Wasp

Unlike honey bees, wasps do not give up after they sting you once. They keep their stinger attached and can sting multiple times in the same spot. They are much more aggressive than bees and will sting you if you get close to their nest or just stumble upon them. The stings of wasps and bees alike can severely threaten your life if you are allergic. They are a force not to be reckoned with without the help of professionals. For your safety, give LGB a call and enlist our wasp removal experts to take care of the job quickly and efficiently.

Little Giant Beekeepers to the Rescue

If you ever see bees or wasps congregating inside or outside your home, call us right away. Our team is well trained and equipped to remove wasps, bees, and other stinging insects. We will do it in a safe and timely manner. If there is one thing that bees and wasps have in common, it is their commitment to protecting their nest. Hiring a professional bee removal team near you, like Little Giant Beekeepers, is the best way to get rid of this hive. Give us a call today and we will be happy to help!

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