Get to Know Your Local Beekeeper

Learn about organic beekeeping and how it boosts your health.

By Emily Main


Get to Know Your Local Bee Keeper#3: They feed their bees well.
"Bees collect honey all summer and store it away to eat all winter," says Conrad. "It adds back a lot of minerals, vitamins, and nutrients that are found in the nectar from plants." In organic beekeeping, farmers are pretty responsible about leaving enough honey behind for the bees and harvesting just enough so bees don't get hungry. However, he says, if the bees don't produce enough, or if they eat up all their honey in the first few months of winter, beekeepers have to feed them something to keep them going. "Typically, an organic beekeeper feeds them organic sugar syrup," he says, but commercial and large-scale beekeeping operations may feed them corn syrup or even high-fructose corn syrup, which Conrad says contains sugars that are mildly toxic to bees. And a study just published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry proves him right. Those researchers found that that high-fructose corn syrup produces a toxic chemical that kills honeybees when it's heated, as it often is before it's fed to the bees.