We love honey but have never harvested our own before. For this adventure we met a bee-keeper who showed us the craft of his trade.
Seb and I met up with Andy who runs Lancashire Honey. As well as keeping bees and harvesting honey from beehives across the county, Andy runs courses in bee-keeping. This adventure was all about exploring the world in which his highly productive bee colonies live. Shortly after arrival we were given protective suits to put on, which included a head net and a pair of gloves. Seb thoroughly enjoyed putting on his suit, not just to be protected from stings but because they looked really cool. We then got to work exploring hives to check-in on the health of each bee colony’s queen bee. Seb learnt that every colony has a queen that lives for three to five years. When we visited the hives each queen was surrounded by 50,000 female worker bees. They forage for flower nectar in order to make honey that they (and we) can eat. The most humbling thing we learnt was that it takes a worker bee her entire life to produce one tenth of a teaspoon of honey. This is truly precious stuff and we will not be wasting any again! We ended the day with a tasting of different kinds of local honey. How clear the honey was, its thickness and colour depends on the variety of trees that the bees visit. They looked and tasted much better than the “mixes” that are usually on sale in supermarkets. (Just take a look to see how many different places are on a typical label.) Being surrounded by buzzing bees and exploring their hives was very exciting, but for both Seb and me it was learning from Andy’s expertise that made this adventure so worthwhile.