Honey harvest number one and the decline of bees

team removing the frames during honey harvest

Honey

Whether we realise it or not, we all have a taste for the sweet stuff.   2 years after fulfilling an ambition to manage beehives, we have had our first Honey Harvest. And boy was it a successful one!

 

Some background

A great global mystery has perplexed many recently.  More honey is sold than produced.  Yes, you read that right.  More honey is sold than produced! Read into that what you will. read more

Less of a mystery is the worrying rapid decline in bees over the past 20 or so years.  Not just honey bees, which make up a small part of the species, but all types.  Solitary bees, bumble bees and the like.  You may ask why this is such a worry, we can live without the sweet stuff hey?  I may beg to differ, but what we can’t live without is food.  Pollinating is almost entirely done by bees. (There are some other insects, and there are some plants that rely on the wind, but they are a small minority).  So no bees literally means no food. read more

Simply put: Loss of habitat (big fields with no hedgerows or flower borders, roads, buildings etc), use of pesticides (some are lethal to bees) and climate change are the major factors at play.

 

You can take action.

Small action might include letting your lawn or herbs flower. It maybe be choosing plants that are “bee friendly” for a window box or garden (do your research though as some stores claim their plants are bee friendly, but they are covered in lethal pesticides!). Bigger action could include joining petitions to rule out certain pesticide use, or choosing to buy organic or locally produced veggies.  read more

 

Our Honey Harvest

While producing plants without using chemicals, and planting “nectar gardens” has been one way we choose to help the plight of the bee, keeping bees is another. And keeping bees has reaped its rewards! If you want guaranteed real honey, then look no further than Sydenham Garden.

Bee Man
Keeping bees has been desired by many at Sydenham Garden for a long time now. When our project “Growing Lives” secured funding 3 years ago, the project lead went on the lookout for someone to lead our beekeeping. It quickly became apparent that long-term volunteer and employee Kev was our man. He willingly responded to the request that was made, even taking it upon himself to go regularly learn from other beekeepers. Under his watch, we’ve managed to build up from nothing to two fully functioning hives. What a wonderful achievement. It’s not been without its challenges and disappointments, but on Saturday it all became worth it when he successfully led the first honey harvest.

The Harvest
A willing team of five spent the day going through the various stages of harvesting honey. This included opening up the hives and removing the appropriate frames. Removing the wax caps from the frames. Spinning the frames to extract the honey. Filtering the honey. Then finally putting it in the jar.

We finished with 75 jars to sell. A wonderful return for our first honey harvest. The first batch will be available to buy at our Festival this Saturday. DeFreneFest18 – find out more

One of the volunteers said: “what a fun and interesting day the honey harvest has been. Kev is full of knowledge and this gave me the confidence to work with the bees, and greater understanding of what goes on in the hives. I now know how to get the honey from the bees, even if they do want it back!”

If you would like to experience our bees and find out about keeping them, you can book into our next bee experience day soon. Keep an eye on social media for details.

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