We have kept a small apiary here at Stubbs Barn for over five years, but when I retired from my business last year, I turned my hand to building up the size and number of hives. Working with another ardent beekeeper, “Bob the Bee”, our hives have produced a plentiful supply of honey earlier in the year. The work will continue until late summer, building new colonies and preparing the apiary for the coming winter.
Our bees collect nectar and turn it into honey, storing it in honey-comb frames with each cell topped with wax. We then extract the honey from the comb by spinning the frames of honey and filtered through a fine sieve to remove any wax or bee debris. The consistency of the honey will vary depending on the time of year and the nectar available. Early in the year, the yellow fields of oilseed rape produce solid white honey, and later in the year, we obtain thick dark honey from Ivy flowers.
This year we have also started to re-wild our paddocks. The grass is left to grow, and we’ve planted areas with scrub plants which provide food and cover for birds and nectar and pollen for bees. This effort was supported by our local bumblebee preservation project - the Chet Bee Line - creating a corridor to connect wild areas for bumblebees.