Visiting the honey-making workshop offers a unique opportunity to learn about the fascinating life of bees and the traditional methods of honey production.
It is possible with reservation to visit a honey-making workshop and to see the various phases of honey packaging. For more information ask me! I’ll organize the visit for you during your stay.
My father and my brother: the beekeepers
- The Giaminardi family has been producing honey since 1938;
- its founder, Leandro Giaminardi (my father), transmitted this love to his son Gianluigi, who continues the family tradition.
- Gianluigi now leads the company and farm Az. Agr. GIAMINARDI GIANLUIGI with his wife Vilma in Cartosio, Piedmont.
- Cartosio is a little town pretty near our house (2 km by car – We will give you the directions to get there easily).
Discover the life of bees and have a taste of different types of honey
The workshop provides insight into the intricate dynamics of a bee colony, the nomadic beekeeping practices, and the production of hive products such as honey, pollen, beeswax, and propolis, each offering unique health benefits and uses.
- It’s possible to follow an educational path that tells the story of this splendid activity that has been perpetuated for millennia in the same way.
- At the end of the path, a tasting is obligatory to evaluate the differences between the various products.
- Gianluigi or his wife Vilma will tell you about the life of the hive, its complexity, and efficiency.
The life of bees
Understanding the life of bees better can help appreciating their infinite usefulness for the well-being of the planet and the wonderful goodness that these small insects offer us every day. Think: a worker bee in the course of its short life produces just a teaspoon of honey, working hard day and night to collect the nectar needed to produce it. A truly precious gift!
This is the story of a matriarchy composed by the queen bee and her workers. Research on bees and their behavior is extensive, yet many dynamics remain mysterious. A swarm of bees living in a hive consists of a colony of 30 to 60 thousand insects with a single queen bee whose main task is to fertilize the eggs.
The queen is the longest-lived with largest dimension of all the bees and can live up to 7 years. She lives quite comfortably, residing in larger cells compared to other bees and she is fed with royal jelly, a highly nutritious and vitamin-rich food produced by the glands of young workers.
She is truly the queen of the hive, governing by releasing specific chemical substances capable of sterilizing other bees and inducing drones to participate to the nuptial flight over 600 meters above the ground.
After fertilization, the queen lays eggs in the appropriate cells where worker bee larvae will form. In spring, she also lays some unfertilized eggs from which drones will emerge, who, after mating and in case of nectar scarcity, will be driven out by the worker bees, dying of hunger or cold.
After about three years, she is replaced and forced to leave the hive. Worker bees are born from fertilized eggs, and theirs is a short and laborious existence. Initially, they are small larvae similar to worms, nourished and cared for by older worker bees.
Unlike the queen, worker bees live only 40 days, and their existence is very precisely and regularly marked by work. In just six days from the laying of the fertilized egg, their task will be to produce wax to enlarge the comb and keep the hive clean; finally, in the last part of their brief life, they can go out to collect nectar, which will be turned into honey and pollen for the royal jelly.
Functional Behaviors of bees
It’s a truly functioning society where every component has a precise role in an impressively balanced ecosystem. Cannibalism, as cruel as it may seem, is a very important hygienic practice for the health of the entire hive because it helps keep the cells clean by eliminating molds and fungi that could form on the bodies of sick or dead larvae.
In other cases, cannibalism is due to survival reasons when nectar is scarce, and it is necessary to reduce and continue to feed the population present in the hive.
Do you know that Bees regulate the temperature of the hive?
The optimal temperature for healthy growth must be maintained between 33 and 36°C. To keep the hive warm just right, the small worker bees use their chest muscles and cluster together to keep the temperature constant, while if it is necessary to cool the environment, they fan their wings near the entrance of the hive and accumulate water to evaporate. A truly ingenious and perfectly functioning way.
We explain how nomadic beekeeping works
Gianluigi will explain you his activity.. He move the hives to various areas of the Apennines according the seasons and various flowerings, acacia, linden, chestnut, rhododendron. From spring until September, there is a succession of flowerings that give characterization to the honey or that are a concentrate like “The millefiori”. The color and smell are different according the flowers.
Once the flowering is over, the hives are moved from their geographical position and the frames are extractedby by the hives that contain the honey inside.
But how is honey made?
Everything is like 1000 years ago. The shapes of the hives change, but not the method to extract it from the vax frames through centrifugal force. There are no contaminations with other ingredients nor transformations; everything is always repeated in the same way.
You will taste a piece of wax with honey exactly as extracted from the hive!
The hive products that you will see and taste are:
Honey from different flowerings: linden / chestnut / acacia / rhododendron/ millefiori
For each type of honey, an accurate description of the flowering and its organoleptic characteristics will be given, as well as a tasty tasting.
Pollen holds a prominent place as it possesses various stimulating properties both for the metabolism and for the anabolic activity ,its nutrients have antibiotic function and reduce free radicals.
Where does the pollen come from?
The beekeeper applies a “pollen trap” at the entrance of the hive, in order to recover the pollen balls collected and transported by bees before they turn into honey,. To enter the hive, the bee must pass through physical restrictions that allow entry of litte pollen balls.
Beeswax has pain-relieving and expectorant properties that can be especially helpful in cases of colds, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, and inflamed gums. A hand cream based on beeswax nourishes and protects. The candles made from it produce a wondeful scent.
Propolis is a resinous substance produced by bees, very useful in various circumstances and rich in beneficial properties. This yellowish resin with a gummy consistency and a recognizable aromatic odor has numerous therapeutic properties.
Bees collect resin and other gelatinous substances from tree trunks or buds and then mix them with enzymes they produce. Bees use propolis for multiple purposes, such as disinfecting the hive. Pure and raw propolis can also be chewed if you wish to resolve cases of gingivitis, stomach inflammations, or flu states. You will see and taste the original one!
Propolis has many beneficial virtues for the human body, acting as a natural antibiotic that stimulates immune defenses and strengthens the entire organism. Rich in antioxidant substances, propolis also has a beneficial action on the cardiovascular system. Its healing virtues make it a real natural antibiotic, known for its antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory action.
This is only a part of what you will see and taste.