Spring time signals a surge of activity in and around the bee hives. Longer and warmer day light hours encourage the worker bees to forage for nectar and pollen from the fantastic variety of flora available to them in the hills, fields and hedgerows of Somerset.
The queen in each hive increases egg laying, expanding the size of the colony. Without disturbing the bees, we regularly heft (lift) the hives, to check each has sufficient food stores to meet the increased demand. As the weather gets warmer we begin to make cautious checks looking inside the hives, to make sure they are healthy.
More nectar producing plants, such as dandelion and pussy willow, start flowering as the season progresses, and the first supers are added to the hives in readiness for the spring honey flow. Later on we will remove and replace the full supers to extract the surplus honey.
More frequent inspections are carried out as we move into “the June Gap” (the hiatus between spring and summer flowers) to ensure the burgeoning hive population has sufficient food stores. Separately we will be rearing new young queens from the strongest colonies to ensure the most desirable characteristics are carried forward.
Generally, by July the bees are left to get on with collecting as much nectar as possible, without undue interference. This is a great time to stand back and observe what they are doing.
August should see the removal and extraction of the main honey crop. Also during August, the strongest colonies will be prepared for their journey to the heather of Exmoor, to make the most of this amazing late flowering crop, for a truly distinctive honey.
As the year draws to a close, all colonies will be checked to ensure they have sufficient food supplies, and the hives are readied for the winter months.
At any time of year it is good to just stand back and watch the bees, coming and going from the hives. A lot can be learned from observing what they are carrying in and out. Bees are the most industrious and fascinating creatures.
Honey varieties for sale
Sedgemoor Honey Farm aims to produce the finest quality honey available. We supplying a wide range of honey products, including Heather and Borage Honey, to local farm shops and other commercial enterprises.