Follow our progress running the nursery, watching wild bees, keeping honey bees and creating our own bee-haven in south Oxfordshire

Honey harvest June 2012

Its been a terrible spring for the bees; we have now had two spells of really wet weather that have kept the bees shut inside the hives. The result is that they have been eating the honey to survive rather than producing it. We have been checking our honey levels for the last few weeks because we are in an area of oilseed rape which means we need to remove spring honey before its sets like concrete in the frames. Each time we checked, the frames were only partially capped so we kept waiting for them to make progress. This week we began to see signs that the rape honey was setting so we could wait no longer and took what we could. Sure enough, by the time we removed the bees from the frames and got it into the spinner, about a third of each frame was going cloudy.  In this picture you can see that it is creamy looking rather than clear, showing that it is already slightly crystalised. We didn't waste much time getting it into jars.

Net result: 25 jars from 6 hives - not great we also need to consider that several of our colonies are new or recovering from swarming and have not yet produced much honey.  Hopefully by September all the hives will be settled and we will have had enough warm weather to make them productive.