Saturday, October 29, 2011

Homemade Fall Remedies - Vick Vaporub for Bees and Children

I love homemade remedies. This goes for my family and our animals, who - let's be honest - are part of the family anyways. Today I learnt something interesting: What's good enough to treat a human cold, may actually also help bees to overwinter more easily.

Over the last few days, I have been reading up on how to prepare my hive for the winter. I know, many of you will laugh and claim that it does not get too cold here in Southern California. However, this week alone we have had many mornings when it was 43F degrees at around 7am and  personally, I considered it cold.

This made me wonder about all our animals. While Schoko sleeps in my bed (ahh, thank god for her higher body temperature!) and the birds have down feathers and loads of saw dust to keep them cozy, my bees are pretty much exposed, I felt. So I started researching.

Apparently, the most important thing for a hive in winter is ventilation. Well, we have a bottom and a top opening, which the girlies use, so they should bee happy. Another issue that kept coming up is that pests may get to them, in particular mites.   In a backyard beekeeping book, I found a recommendation to strenghten the colony and prevent the worst when it comes to pests through use of essential oils. The recipe is a variation of Api Life, a pest management medication that is considered organic.

Here is the recipe that I used for my bees:

Cut an all natural sponge in tiny pieces and soak them in a mix of essential oils:

35 drops thyme
20 drops eucalyptus
10 drops peppermint
10 drops camphor

Then place these sponge pieces on top of the frames. Leave them in for about one week and replace them with the same. It was recommended to do this three times.

So, and here is the funny part... My little pumpkin has been complaining about a stuffy nose and having a heard time breathing. Roberto and my first thought was 'vick vaporub' to make breathing more easy and help with the common cold's aches and pains. Since I was already cooking up medication for my bees, I figured, I read up on the ingredients in that magic potion to see whether I can brew this as well. Turns out: Yep, I can! Interestingly, vick vaporub's ingredients reads pretty much like the mixture above.

So I whipped up this concoction for my little princess:

1/4 cup of beeswax melted in
1 cup of olive oil

Add these essential oils:

30 drops eucalyptus
20 drops peppermint
10 drops of camphor

Let it cool off and rub away those cold aches and pains.

"Nature never says one thing and wisdom another." Decimus Junius Juvenalis

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