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Honey tasting

When it gets a bit colder and there is less to do in the hives bee keepers seem to gather inside more. We were invited to the annual honey tasting the other day. Everyone bring a jar with no labels for tasting. Its blind so nobody knows whose jar belongs to who. Honey is marked on taste, colour, appearance (might be crystallised for example) and aroma. There are two categories - set and runny.

You get a little stick - looked suspiciously like a Starbucks coffee stirrer to me - to dip into the jar and see what you think, then you mark the jars on a piece of paper and drop into a box. The winner is the jar with the overall highest score. Every year a supermarket brand is included to trick the bee keepers and see if they are true to pure non blended honey!!


 Honey set out for tasting


Blind labels












It was a great event. The honey was lovely though after a few jars you really appreciated the Wasabi nuts to refresh the palate, though it was easy to overdose on those too. 

Who won? Out of all…

They are here!! 🐝 🐝

Good news, we have a NUC! It arrived on Sunday at 9am at the apiary after the bees had been asked to come back earlier Saturday night for capture. Or at least that's how I understand it.

There are 10,000 of them, I've not counted, but seems that this is a pretty good estimate. They are beautiful, and noisy. When we got them out of Andy's car (our apiary manager) they were vibrating the box, and they sounded angry. Apparently though they were just keen to get back out. It was very hot Sunday so putting on the suits was a challenge. I was keen to get out of that so I can understand the bees mighty have been keen to exit the box.

We transferred the frames from the NUC into our hive, gently mind, as my gloves are only marigolds and I can feel the bees walking in my hands. then we checked for the queen, eggs, nectar and larvae. Everything was there, so clean and healthy looking, even the queen.

I've not seen a lot of queens but ours is beautiful, she is not that big but she's sleek and active.

We are going up to feed them tomorrow (it's the June gap, don't you know) with sugar solution, since apparently only blackberries, clover and limes are providing forage so they need a top up. Luckily Tesco delivered tonight and the sugar came for us to make it, unlike the rocket lollies which would have been useful too.

Anyway, get these pics!

The green box is the NUC before we opened it


Our bees!

There is so many of them

So this shows the bees starting to find the entrance, they started to use this after a few of them popped out the bottom. `they do this little dance, waving their tails in the air and emitting a signal to the others basically saying 'this is us, we are living here, make sure you know your way around'.

More news soon!

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Looking good!

Pouring with rain today for 10 mins or so I know not best timing but that when we delivered our hive to the apiary. Moving from our lounge to the apiary is certain to increase our chances of bees taking up residence.

Note the hubby standing in the dry patch under the trees.






We left the super on, realise thats a mistake but since its currently empty not sure it matters yet.

Deadlines, deadlines

We should have visited the bees today, just to check all is well, they have enough to eat, they are settling in, checking any problems with the neighbours etc etc, but we didn't. Work got in the way today, plus it really is too hot to be wearing the kit!


We got this - see below -  from the National Bee Unit, we've got the sugar in and we are making up the solution tomorrow, we don't want to be responsible for starvation!

Beekeepers may wish to monitor their colony food levels closely, particularly in any splits, nucleus colonies or colonies where the entire spring honey crop was removed. In some areas of the UK, our Inspectors are concerned at finding colonies that are starving.Feed can be prepared from refined white sugar and water mixed at a 2:1 ratio or one of the proprietary ready mixed syrups available from Beekeeping equipment suppliers.