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Bee Keeping Joy - Introducing The Queen

Bee’s are good … bees are good!!

Since giving up refined sugar to help with my autoimmune issues I’ve fallen in love with honey. I don’t eat a lot as too much is still not good for me but when I do eat it I want it to be good! Most of the honey we buy from supermarkets is over processed and often not ethically farmed.

I have the most wonderful honey producers around my area, a lot of heather honey in particular, being close to the North York Moors. I much prefer wild flower honey - it has a more delicate flavour. I’ve learned over the last year that honey is very much like wine, no two are the same and some I prefer to others. It’s incredible the difference in taste from one batch to another even inside the hive - never mind between different producers. The rule of thumb is if your brand of honey always taste exactly the same it's probably been over processed and will have lost much of its goodness!   

When I started to grow my own organic vegetables and learn about the vital role the bees play in our eco system by pollinating our plants, my interest in them grew and in January 2018 after a chance conversation with a fellow allotmenteer I took up a spare place on the local Bee Keepers Association course.

I fell in love with the bees, they're so clever and I loved learning about them. I’ve made new friends along the way and spending time with the Bees is so calming, completely the opposite to how I’d imagined it would feel. 

Beekeeping on my own seemed a big task so I was lucky to team up with my Bee Buddy Kirsty and its been so much fun learning and nurturing our colony. 

In June we took delivery of a swarm, three frames of bees, a tiny colony. We introduced a new queen with the help of a local bee guru and the local bee inspector. It was so interesting and as a professional photographer I obviously became obsessed with photographing them. 

These pictures show the beginning of our adventure into bee keeping. 

2018 has been a difficult year for bee keepers in Yorkshire with the extremely cold Winter and Spring. We had a late snow in April and subzero temperatures in April made everything in nature a month behind. It was particularly tricky for the bees this year because the Spring flowering forage got hit by the frosts so there was a serious lack of pollen. I have learned there is always a ‘June Gap’ between in forage when the bees struggle but this year the gap lasted from April to July. We started our colony in late June introducing a new queen to a half colony from a swarm. Because of the lack of forage and because it was a new colony that needed to establish with a new young queen to give them a helping hand we have fed our bees all summer with sugar syrup. Our colony has gone from strength to strength, they are so, so strong going into Winter, finally getting very busy in September producing some beautiful honey. We’ve been kind this year and we have left this beautiful honey in the hive for our bees to nourish on over the Winter months so coming into Spring 2019 they will be strong and healthy ready to get busy. 

Its so far been a really incredible learning experience, I am in awe of their brilliance. They have a real calming effect on me and I love being around the hive watching them go about their business. I have to say the biggest lesson I have learned so far from the experience is that ignoring my inner fear of failure and just going for something is exciting and so rewarding. 

You can follow our journey here at the Jolly Journal by the category ‘Bee Jolly Honey’. Hopefully you may get to taste some next Summer at the ‘Jolly Trolly’.

Thank you for reading the Jolly Journal - I really appreciate your interest and hope it's of value to you. I am dyslexic and for years this stopped me writing because of the fear of getting it wrong. Now I am embracing my fear so I appreciate your understanding if you see a mistake I have missed. Thank you! - Polly x

 

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