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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…

Whats that wormy thing?

We went to see the bees today as we had to move the sugar solution away from them. Too much of that and the honey will taste a bit funny. Though of course this year we are unlikely to taste it ourselves so not sure what we were worrying about. The bees have to have it to see them through the winter since they have only just started this lark and need to build reserves.

They have been busy but I realised today I am not sure what I was looking at. The brood box should have eggs - Yes, saw those, Larvae - Yes, think so and capped cells with larvae growing in them, soon to become bees. Mmmm, I am not sure about those. There was lots of things going on, which I am going to have to investigate.

I am pretty sure there was honey, and capped cells but there were also black cells, bit of a worry and one cell with a funny looking worm thing in it!!!

Hubby tried to photo it but turns out you cannot get an Iphone to take pictures if you are wearing marigolds so think we missed it. We are going to have to engage our bee buddy for advice.





The white bits are capped (covered over) honey cells, I think, these have a wax topping.






The pale yellow cells are worker brood cells. the gaps are left there by the queen so some of the bees can go in and keep the adjacent cells warm.

Drone are male bees who fertilise the queen and look after her, they do not sting. The workers are of course female and go out foraging. There is only ever one queen at a time, when more than one appears there is a showdown.

We also managed, since we are newbies to anger the bees a bit. We pushed them off the top of the frame with the hive tool (pointy thing used to lever the hive open as it gets stuck down with propolis). We were very gentle but they didn't like that much and started buzzing quite a bit. I wished we had set the smoker alight then but we hadn't bothered. Learning point number 2 light the smoker before you open the hive.




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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.