Sunday, August 30, 2009

It's time for the beekeepers to harvest the honey

It's none stop this bank holiday weekend. As well as fruit from the garden, it's time to harvest some honey from the beehives.

It's been a pretty wet summer - July and August in particular - but in their first season here at Stonecroft, one of the two stocks of bees have established themselves well enough to provide us with a few pounds of honey.

My wife Annie is the beekeeper but our daughter Molly, at 4 years and eight months, is a willing apprentice and was on hand to help her mum check the hives yesterday, finding the queens and then, today, remove the frames and extract the honey.

The bees have been given a sugar solution to keep them going over the winter and, of course, will carry on making honey for the rest of the summer and into the autumn.

If we have an Indian summer (and it's looking quite possible, according to the weather girls at the Chicken Weather Forecast website - due to launch shortly) the bees will keep on foraging and making honey for upto another six weeks.

The other colony arrived a few weeks later than the first one and hasn't yet produced much honey so we'll need to keep an eye on them and nurture them to full strength to survive the winter.

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