This time of the year if the weather has been kind, is the time to collect honey from your hive. Hopefully the bees have been busy doing what they do best and bringing back plenty of pollen and nectar to feed all the other inhabitants of their hive, including adults and larvae. As the queen lays up to 2000 eggs a day during spring and summer, as you can imagine, there are many mouths to feed once those eggs hatch.
A typical bee hive at this time of the year will have one queen, one hundred or so drones (male bees) and anything up to 60,000 worker bees – imagine all those bodies living together in a small space, co-existing in harmony – we humans could take a lesson or three from that. .
The honey I collect from my hive at home is a very sweet floral tasting, explode at the back of your throat, golden liquid – from just 5 frames I filled a 10 litre bucket plus after straining the wax cappings off the cells, I should get a couple of litres more. I never heat honey, that will destroy much of the goodness, I strain what has come out of the frames after spinning fast for a minute or so, (think centrifugal force), pour through muslin cloth into the bucket and bottle – pure, natural food. I don’t mind if it still has pollen grains in it, as long as the wax, bee bits and legs have been caught in the cloth, I’m happy with that. There is nothing nicer then a jar of honey to give as a gift and just think, all those plants have been pollinated in the process!
During the next few weeks, I will talk about starting a hive – everything you need and also explore my latest love – TopBar hive beekeeping – the way to go I believe.