by Kendra Murray.

If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive.” – Dale Carnegie

Learn about sustaining locals bees and honey at the MassBee Fall Meeting!

Bristol Community College will be abuzz with excitement during the MassBee Fall Meeting on November 17, 2018. Beginner and advanced beekeepers, as well as curious folks who want to learn more about bees, honey, and protecting pollinators, are encouraged to attend. It is a great spot for gathering and sharing information and networking with other bee lovers!

So what is MassBee? The Massachusetts Beekeepers Association (MassBee) promotes education in matters relating to honeybees and beekeeping, assists affiliate associations in promoting successful beekeeping in the state, fosters congeniality among beekeepers, and protects and fosters the honeybee’s beneficial use in Massachusetts. Quite the mission statement!

The November gathering will feature two great guest speakers: Dr. James Ellis, an associate professor at the University of Florida, works in the Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab,and is part of the school’s entomology and nematology department. He is presenting “The Birds and the Bees: Well Just the Bees” and “What is Killing the Bees and What Can We Do About It.”

Dr. Samuel Ramsey, a recent graduate of the University of Maryland, focuses his work on how insect research can benefit the public through the development of IPM strategies and STEM outreach initiatives. His lectures include “Varroa Destructor Feed on Hemolymph and Other Alternative Facts,” as well as “Tropilaelaps Mites: A Fate Worse than Varroa.” Varroa and Tropilaelaps mites are both parasitic mites that can contribute to colony collapse.

Competitions abound at the MassBee event. Not only is honey judged but also still and sparkling mead, honey beer, beeswax, a cooking contest where entries need to contain honey as 25% of the sweetening ingredient, and also a bee-themed photo contest. The honey competition will be judged by Ann Harman, a master beekeeper, and Brandon Roderick, the owner of The Baker in New Bedford.

How does one judge honey?

A honey competition is not only based on taste but several other factors including cleanliness of the jar and cap as well as the fill level of the jar. Awards are given out for not just plain jars of honey, but also comb honey, creamed honey, and chunk honey. And there are separate categories for different colors of honey, with awards going to those with the best two 1lb. jars of light, light amber, amber, dark amber, and dark honey. The harvest season and the plants that the bees visit determine the color and flavor of the honey.

Overall, there is a lot of great information shared, and deliciously sweet goods at the Mass Bee Fall Meeting! It’s worth attending if you have any interest in bees, beekeeping, or honey! If you can’t make this year’s event, check out for more information about the Association and upcoming meetings, or check in with your local county Beekeepers Association for additional resources and details!

Buy Local Honey! Did you know that most honey sold in a grocery store isn’t even technically honey? Store bought honey often goes through an ultra-filtration process. This helps to keep honey from crystallizing, but it also removes most pollen, which is what makes honey, well, honey! Samples of imported honey also have tested positive for antibiotics, and many are watered down with corn syrup. Unfortunately, there aren’t any federal standards for honey, so practices like this are common. Another benefit to local honey is its ability to help folks who suffer from seasonal allergies, as ingesting the pollen builds up immunity to it, similar to vaccines. Support your local beekeepers!