Watching bees in a community is a fascinating experience. Suiting up to take a closer look at these beauties was even more fascinating and, exciting! Noel showed me the heathers close by which at this time of the year, the bees were busy collecting nectar and pollen from.
The newly hatched bees start at the beginning of the assembly line and intuitively know their job. This entails cleaning out the cells ready for the Queen to place her new eggs in. I watched one such young bee doing this particular job; its body was almost totally immersed down the cell as it diligently set about the task of cleaning it!
Meanwhile Queen Bee herself was busy walking over any and all the bees looking for a cleaned out cell to place her new eggs in. Lazy is a word that definitely does not go into the same sentence as Queen Bee herself. I was informed that she lays 1500 to 2000 eggs per day , not bad going!!!
I watched as bees arrived back to the hive with visible pollen sacs bulging on their legs, entry was by queuing on the outside waiting for a free space to pass!
Other bees lined the outside of the hive fanning their wings acting as a natural air conditioning unit for the whole hive.
Drones whose job was finished lay lifeless outside the hive.
What a community spirit these bees have. Each one knows their job and each one works for the benefit of the whole community.
I love natural products both to eat and to put on my skin. In the last few years I started to make my own skin care remedies as a necessity, as the harsh chemicals in some products left my skin raw, sore and infected. I strive to use natural ingredients for my products and sometimes “almost” natural is as good as it gets.
To me finding a company that produces beeswax, an ingredient I use in most of my homemade products because of it’s effectiveness was exciting, to say the least!
Leahy Beekeeping produces two types of products from their hives. Firstly they produce raw honey, this is honey that has not been pasteurized, heated or treated in any way. Because of this it contains more valuable benefits and is packed full of minerals, vitamins, enzymes and powerful antioxidants. Honey in its raw state also has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties.
Eating local raw honey is also good for anyone that suffers from allergies as their body becomes used to the local pollen that is specific to an area and taking a spoon or two of raw local honey each day builds up the body’s tolerance to seasonal allergies.
Leahy Beekeeping is situated in the Sliabh Aughty Mountains, a mountain range which covers East Galway, North Clare and also runs into the Burren. It is a family run business where the tradition spans four generations. Their hives are located at various places on the mountain and from here the bees have a great range of flora to enjoy.
Different seasons produce different plants and trees for the bees. In the spring it is mainly pussy willow, hazel, sycamore, beech, chestnut, white thorn, daffodil, snowdrops, mountain ash, heather, gorse and fruit trees. In the summer the bees enjoy the fruits of the hawthorn, dandelion, clover, blackberry, Gorse and Lime. In Autumn they have Ivy, heather, privet and knapweed.
At different times of the year, Noel explained to me there would be very many colours of pollen in the hive as different colour pollens came back from different flowers.
He also went on to explain that the capping seals put over the cells by the bees themselves, is where the beeswax comes from.
The cappings are cleaned and filtered and fine filtered again in order to make the beeswax for the beauty product range that Noel’s daughter Heather makes.
I watched later as Heather melted the natural beeswax that she had produced, at the most perfect of temperatures in order not to loose any of the goodness from it. The smell and texture of the beeswax was amazing.
Various other natural ingredients are also added to their skin care range, depending on which product is being made. Their skin care range includes hand cream, foot cream, lip balm, beard wax and hair wax.
I have definitely got a new found respect for the bees and their industrious ways and their community spirit after visiting them.
It is great to see local business doing such great work with local product. To find out more about Leahy Beekeeping visit their website here.
Blog by Dolores Andrew-Gavin, Owner of IrishHealthHour