Monday, December 15, 2014

Raw Honey

Tom's Honey is raw and minimally processed. 
Our honey is manually uncapped from the frame, extracted in our 20 frame extractor, strained to capture large bits of wax and sometimes a bee or two, then allowed to settle in our storage buckets so the small air bubbles rise to the top of the container to give us a clear honey, and it's then bottled in our glass jars. 
That's the whole procedure. True artisanal honey.

Did you know:

Raw honey contains approximately 20 vitamins, 18 amino acids, 16 minerals, and a host of antioxidants and phytonutrients. Raw honey is an antibacterial, antiviral, and an antifungal substance. It is also highly nutritious. It also contains vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6, C, magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium chlorine, sulphur, and phosphate.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Come Fly With Me...

12/14/14, 45F, sunny, calm.
You'd think it was a little chilly for the honey bees to be out and around today but it looked like they couldn't wait to fly on this really nice middle of December day! Some bees even had a small load of greenish white pollen in their pollen baskets- maybe from witch hazel.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Miss Honey Bee wooden childrens toy

An old fashioned handmade wooden toy. Nothing could be more simple to spur every kids imagination!
Made to order by Tom's Honey Bees.
 Made of all solid wood, jiggle eyes, carpenters glue, hot glue and kid safe gloss acrylic paint. 
You can find Miss Honey Bee in our Etsy Store.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

53 and Sunny

SHD1 yard: 53 degrees F, sunny and calm today after a cold week in the 30's.
Mouse guards are put on and everyone is in top shape for the coming cold weather.

The smaller colonies are all set for winter also.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A hundred jars of honey...

You know it.... a hundred jars of honey on the wall,
a hundred jars of honey. If one of those jars just happen to fall, 99
jars of honey on the wall.....

Monday, November 17, 2014

Visit our new Esty Store

Our 100% Beeswax Candles, Natural Soaps and Lip Balms
 can now be purchased through our
Etsy Store.

Beeswax Candles 

Lip Balm- 4 flavors

Natural Soap

Handmade to perfection.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Winter Ready

First freeze last night so we got the winter inner covers on the hives today. These covers absorb moisture the bees give off inside the hive and offer some insulation value so the moisture does not condense on the cold hive top and drip back down on the bees. Wet bees during cold weather is a sure way to lose the colony.They should be all set for the coming winter weather as they have plenty of good healthy bees and 50 plus pounds of stores each.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Honey Bee Facts - American Beekeeping Federation

Honey Bee Facts - American Beekeeping Federation

Did You Know?

About the Honey Bee

  • Approximately one third of all the food Americans eat is directly or indirectly derived from honey bee pollination. Some crops pollinated are cucumbers, almonds, carrot seed, melons, apricots, cherries, pears, apples, prunes, plums, pluots, seed alfalfa, cantaloupe, seed onions, avocados, kiwi, blueberries, cranberries, etc.
  • There are three members of a honey bee colony:
    • Queen - mother to all the bees in the colony; she is a fertile female.
    • Worker - an infertile female that performs the labor tasks of the colony, including feed preparation, guarding the hive, feeding the queens, drones and brood, and heating and cooling the hive.
    • Drone - the male that starts out as an unfertilized egg. Its only purpose in the colony is to mate with a virgin queen. They live to mate with the queen, but not more than one in a thousand get the opportunity to mate.
  • On average, a worker bee in the summer lasts six to eight weeks. Their most common cause of death is wearing their wings out. During that six to eight-week period, their average honey production is 1/12 of a teaspoon. In that short lifetime, they fly the equivalent of 1 1/2 times the circumference of the earth.
  • The peak population of a colony of honeybees is usually at mid-summer (after spring buildup) and results in 60,000 to 80,000 bees per colony. A good, prolific queen can lay up to 3,000 eggs per day.
  • Drones fly on United Airlines. This is a corny joke amongst beekeepers because of the way queens and drones mate. When a queen is five to six days old, she is ready to mate. She puts out a pheromone scent to attract the males and takes off in the air. The males from miles around smell the scent and instantly volunteer in the mating chase, which is performed in the air.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Winding Down

The 2014 season is quickly coming to an end and the fall Buckwheat will soon fade to become the nutrients for next years crop. 11/08/14

Thursday, October 30, 2014

October Hive View

It's getting cooler and the leaves are starting to fall. Time to get all the hives ready for winter. 10/25/14

Sunday, October 26, 2014



Surrounded by fields of Buckwheat.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fall 2014. SHD1 Yard

10/12/2014, 63 degrees F, calm, sunny. Bees bringing in lemon yellow, bright orange, white and mustard yellow colored pollen. Fall wildflowers are waning with aster, some goldenrod and chicory to be all that's left. Maybe some groundsel and knotweed in selected spots also. Time to begin getting the bees ready for winter and pull the propolis traps off.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Late Summer and Spring

 Tom's Late Summer Wildflower Honey next to Tom's Spring Honey on the shelf at The Clipper Ship Tea Company.

Look for our new label (on left) soon to be on all of our products.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Phony honey a sweet deal for counterfeiters, bad for consumers

Honey bees have been in the news regularly with discussion after discussion and article after article calling attention to the potential demise of the insect because of CCD, mites, environmental degradation, migratory beekeeping practices, etc. and the effects this may have on our food supply.  
What has been off of most everyone's radar, especially the news outlets, is the massive amount of mislabeled "honey" being sold to unsuspecting consumers. Some of this so called "honey" is not honey at all but ........  Well, no one is sure what it is, what is in it, or even where it comes from. It's been called counterfeit honey!

Date: Feb. 26, 2014
Source: Texas A&M university

Summary: Consumers buying honey might not be getting what they pay for according to one of the world’s leading honey experts, who is supporting a U.S. Senate bill that would, if passed, put more stringent requirements on the federal government to ensure the origin of imported honey and compel sellers to label it accurately.

Know what you're buying, know your local beekeeper.

Friday, August 15, 2014

National Honey Bee Day

Saturday August 16, 2013 is National Honey Bee Day.
Thank a Honey Bee today!

100% Pure Beeswax Candles

10" taper candles in a red oak re-purposed hand rail candle holder

Votive candles & 10" taper candles.

Handmade 100% pure beeswax candles with a cotton wick. The beeswax is a product of our bees
and smells fresh and clean with a hint of honey. Nothing is added.
The candles smell good enough to eat!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Candles, Soap, Lip Balm..........

We finally did it! 
For so long now we have been putting off working with the other " products of the hive" and have concentrated on bees and honey, in that order.
Over the years we have collected a large quantity of beautiful raw beeswax and jar after jar of aromatic propolis. It's been stored away in the shop waiting for us to create something with it.

That day has come, and we have teamed with a terrific local artisan to produce 2 styles of handmade cold pour honey beeswax soap, 3 flavors of beeswax lip balm with vitamin E and 2 sizes of 100% pure beeswax handmade candles. Not bad eh?
(Notice there is no mention here of the many less than satisfactory results we had to work through to get to the level of quality we expect at Tom's - we'd like to forget all that if it's OK)

Now we're working on packaging for all those new products so we can introduce them to everyone. Well, not everyone because we have been passing out testers of our new products for a couple of weeks now and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive! Just what we were hoping for in order to move forward and get it out there for all to enjoy. 

We're not exactly sure when, but keep an eye out for the introduction of these new artisanal products from Tom's sometime this summer.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Spring Honey 2014

Light in color, floral and oh so sweet! The result of hard working honey bees and a fabulous Black Locust bloom this spring.
One rarely gets to taste a wildflower honey of this quality. It's Perfect Local Wildflower Honey!

Tom's local Long Island Honey

Thursday, July 3, 2014

2014 Honey is Now Available

*2014 Local Long Island Honey is Now Available*

We have harvested some of our 2014 honey crop and it is now available! The Spring/Early Summer honey we took off of the hives is a beautiful light colored floral honey that we are sure you're going to love. It's unique light color and delicate flavor is due to the spectacular Black Locust bloom this Spring.
It won't last so if you'd like to try a very unique tasting local honey from right here on Long Island get some soon.
We will harvest again later this Summer for our Late Summer/Fall honey. Honey harvested later in the year is amber in color and tends to be more robust in flavor.

With honey, it's all about what nectar the bees collect!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Making Honey

Fri. 6/20/2014 75f, clear.
Top 3 medium supers on each hive are nearly full of honey and 80% capped.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Nuc yard update

The nucleus hive yard is growing as we made 4 more nucs the other day. Headed by Long Island Queen Bees, we may overwinter these hives as nucs for a ready supply of bees in the Spring. The queens will also serve as replacements for use in colonies that need to be re-queened later this summer.

Sat. 6/14/14

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Black Locust

Saturday June 7 2014 sunny, light breeze, 74F
Finally remembered to take some photos of our apiary #BWD. Notice the trees in the background with all the white blooms, yup Black locust and it's alive with bees. It's a favorite honey bee plant for nectar that will yield a light floral honey! And this yard is covered with the trees in every hedge row as well as throughout the surrounding countryside. The area is rich with Russian Olive that blooms in mid to late May and also yields some terrific light colored nectar.  Back to back great blooms for the bees to work. 

(Getting tall with honey supers)

(close up)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Browder's Birds Farmstand

Browder's Birds in Mattituck, on the North Fork, has opened their new farmstand located right on their organic farm. Browder's Birds is known for producing the finest organic chickens and eggs found anywhere. Some of their other products include dry rubs for seasoning meats , pickled eggs, a fry mix for fried chicken, barbecue sauce and more. 
You have to check them out: on line Browder's Birds or at the farm Fridays 3-5 pm, Sat & Sun 12-5 pm.

Tom's Honey Bees is working with Browder's Farm to produce honey for their Browder's Honey label. We utilize the same management techniques at Browder's Farm that we use when producing honey for our own label, and the result is pure, natural and untreated honey made from the wildflowers on and surrounding their farm.

Visit the chickens, ducks, sheep and yes, see the bees flying by. Don't forget to say hello to Holly and Chris and pick up some goodies to enjoy when you get home.

We are very pleased to be associated with the fine folks at Browder's Birds. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Nuc Yard: #SHD1

We have finally created a nuc yard to raise our new queens and replacement hives in with hopes to become 100% sustainable in the coming year or two. The new yard will also include a limited number of production hives as we find it hard not to take advantage of a nectar flow and the chance to harvest Long Island Honey!

 Last winter and early spring had us scrambling to find early queens to rebuild our hive numbers with after the winter losses from the crazy weather. Relying on warmer climate early queens and bees is something that has bothered us from the beginning for a number of reasons. This years shortage of available early queens has convinced us that the time is right to put our operation on more solid footing and limit the reliance on outside stock, with the hope of eliminating it altogether. We foresee that in the future we can overwinter a large number of nucleus colonies to use as our sole source of bees in the early spring for rebuilding after the winter and expand our apiaries and production hives earlier than what has been possible . Excess overwintered colonies will be offered to our customers.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A whiff of Honey....

There was a whiff of honey in the air today all through the Home Bee Yard. Yesterday I added supers to the hives in the #BWD yard and the same sweet smell greeted me when I got out of the truck to check them. Today I bought new batteries for the camera so I took a photo of some of the hives in the Home Yard. No pictures of the hives in the #BWD yard yesterday due to dead batteries. And to bad because some hives are 5 mediums high and filling up.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Monday, April 28, 2014

Nucleus hives

Monday April 28, 2014 (62 degrees F, calm and clear)

A picture of the new nuc hives that we created last week in the home yard. Notice the two tall donor hives and all the bees actively flying and bringing home pollen and nectar. All the new queens were accepted and the new colonies are already behaving like established honey bee colonies. A couple of more nucs are to the left and got cut out of the picture. One of these days, maybe I'll learn how to take a decent picture!
The stacks of boxes in the background are empty honey supers for later this Spring. The nucs
are to the left of tall hive with the blue cover and then to the right of the tall hive with the white cover are 2 sitting a little lower than the big hive. An inner hive cover is leaning against the cinder blocks.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Making Nucs

April 24, 2014 (55 degrees F, gusty, clear skies)

Made some Springtime Nucs from the overwintered hives today. Basically, I take 4 or 5 frames of capped brood from the existing hive, make sure the queen is not on them and add them to a empty hive box on a new bottom board with an outer over. An hour or so later I give them a mated queen and leave them alone for a week. This small nucleus hive will grow quickly and produce a honey crop later in the year.
A bank of 3 queen cages which each contain a mated queen, some attendants and a white candy plug for food.
A couple of the parent hives where I took the brood frames from to make the nucleus hives. Green grass, trees blooming and bees flying, it's Springtime in the bee yard.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Spring: time for bees

Finally, Spring is here. 
Checked one of the bee yards today, April 5, and the bees are collecting three colors of pollen and enjoying a light Maple nectar flow as well. The pollen is grayish white, mustard yellow and bright orange yellow in color. The sources of the pollen is probably Maples, Alder, Elm and Willow. Quite a sight! 
I reversed the brood boxes and got a good look at the brood pattern which is  building up very quickly to more "normal" Springtime levels. A welcome observation after the severe Winter and abnormally cold early Spring weather.

Monday, March 31, 2014

2013 Honey

Some of the 2013 Harvest...

We have bottled most of the 2013 Honey Harvest and are making deliveries to our customers who have reserved honey orders!
A bountiful harvest this fall season will enable us to offer our Wildflower Honey to new customers on a limited basis.

We took a quick picture of a few jars of this years harvest sitting on top of one the hives.
Toms Honey Bees: Long Island Wildflower Honey 

Honey Harvest Fall 2013

Our 2013 Long Island Wildflower Honey harvest is in for the fall!

We are very pleased with our fall 2013 honey harvest, which we finished extracting the beginning of September. The honey is a beautiful clear and clean amber color with a wonderful wildflower bouquet. Everyone loves it and feels it might be our best yet.
No heating, no filtering. As always we extract, strain, let the honey settle and bottle. Always amazes us at how clear a good honey can be without heavy processing.
We are currently in the process of bottling the last of this years harvest and hope to have a limited supply left for holiday sales season.

Breeder Queens

We've chosen the most desirable hives from 2013

Three colonies that we will use to produce queens from for the 2014 season. They exhibit all of the traits we find desirable in our honey bees. Come Springtime they will be managed to supply us with locally mated Long Island Honey Bee queens.

Late Fall Bee yard Check Nov. 10, 2013

Bee yard in November

Visited the #BWD bee yard today. Nov. 10th, temperature 55 degrees, sunny, light breeze.
As you can see they thought it was a good flying day. Just look at them all out and about.
It's supposed to get colder the next couple of days so they will cluster inside the hive until the next warmish day of 50 degrees or so.

New bees

We have decided to add an additional gene pool to our apiary this coming spring... 

Our choice for this addition is the Danish Buckfast line of bees.
We are excited to begin working with this bee and look forward to the benefits we think it will contribute to our apiary.
The Buckfast bee strain originated at Buckfast Abbey in England being developed by Brother Adam.
Our new Danish Buckfast queens are daughters of those Buckfast bees via Denmark and now bred in the US.
Some of their characteristics that we are interest in are:

  • hardiness in a variety of climates
  • excellent housekeepers
  • low swarming
  • excellent foragers
  • gentleness
  • ease of handling
  • superior resistance to disease
  • overwintering 

We will establish these Buckfast queens in only one of our outyards to start off with and see if they meet with our approval and live up to our expectations. Wish us luck and we'll keep you updated.

Long Island Agriculture

Statistics on Long Island, NY Agriculture

The most recent stats for Agriculture on Long Island. From the NY State Comptrollers Office.

=Ag production on LI totals $258.7 million.
=Tops in NY in nursery, greenhouse, floriculture, sod. 
=Suffolk County agricultural sales highest of all counties in the state totaling $242.9 million.
=Suffolk County is the State's largest pumpkin producer.
=Long Island’s other top commodity groups are 

vegetables, melons and potatoes (which includes 
pumpkins); fruits, tree nuts and berries; and 
poultry and eggs
=Long Island is also the State’s 
largest producer of aquaculture (i.e., the farming 
of aquatic organisms such as fish, clams, shrimp, 
lobsters and aquatic plants). 
=Long Island’s vineyards cover more than 3,000 acres, 
and its wineries produce about 1.2 million gallons 
of wine per year.
=Suffolk County Farmland Program has 
preserved more than 10,000 acres of farmland 
through the purchase of development rights since 
it began in 1974.
=Long Island’s farms are efficient and 
produce a mix of high-value crops, as the average 
sales per acre was $7,249 in 2007, which was more 
than ten times the statewide average ($616)

Read the full report here. (click here)

Most Store-Bought Honey Isn't Honey At All

Buyer Beware as Not All Honey is Honey.....

Rodale Press Article

If you want real honey, look for local sources and buy directly from the beekeeper. By knowing where your food comes from, you can ask about how the bees are treated and how the honey is processed. Sure, raw honey might not be crystal clear like the little honey bear bottles you see in the store, but it's swimming in health-promoting antioxidants and left in its natural form, which is definitely a good thing when it comes to honey.

Full Report :Food Safety News

Winter care January 2014

Tough winter but all is well...

A 'far north' type winter has had us in it's grip and we took advantage of a nice January day to put some supplemental feed on the bees. The feed is sugar, a little water to make it clump and a bit of apple cider vinegar. Emergency feeding in an abnormally cold, wet (snow!) and windy winter season just in case we underestimated the winter stores in the hive late last fall. Jan. 12, 2014

NYS Pure Honey Bill

Please support the effort to pass a Standard of Identity for Honey in New York State.

Support NY Bills S3321 & A5154 and tell your legislators you want Pure Honey sold in New York State.
Help us protect the healthful image of honey in NY and to assure consumers that when the label says "Pure Honey" it contains real honey that is not adulterated.
Please sign the petition by clicking the link below, filling in the required information and submitting the petition.
Thank you for supporting this noble cause.


Honey Shares February 2014

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

Honey Shares.
We have had many suggestions and encouraging comments regarding  a Honey CSA at Tom's Honey Bees as a way for us to produce more local honey and expand our business in the community. 

Our vision is to offer a Honey Share Program whereby one can purchase a "share" of honey for the current honey season that makes our honey available to share holders before the general public. A guarantee that honey will be available for your table.

 It seems that our regular honey customers are tired of wondering if we have already sold out for the season and want to 'lock in' their honey supply.
Just as important is their willingness to help further the sustainable local business model we have created at Tom's Honey Bees. By supporting our Honey Share Program with the purchase of a 'share', our customers are voicing their preference for local businesses, local healthy food and the strengthening of our local communities.
(Privately, I think they want free pollination for their vegetables and flowers, berry bushes and fruit trees!)

Honey shares will be priced as Full Shares and Half Shares. 

Thank you for all of your support!