In a quiet corner at Lingfield Point, there is a hive of activity! As you may already know we are very fortunate here at Lingfield Point to have our very own bees. We have two strains of bee – and Italian and a strain all the way from New Zealand – we’re very continental!
Both hives have produced a decent amount of honey despite early set backs. In September we extracted our fourth batch of honey and Jenny from Marchday was lucky enough to bee there!
“I was a little wary as Colin, our resident Lingfield Point Bee keeper had been stung on a number of occasions, so I donned the bee keeper suit and triple checked it for holes!”
“We start by smoking the bees, this calms them and makes them less aggressive. Then, once the lid is off the hive, it’s time to remove the ‘supers’, these are the frames where the bees build up the hexagonal wax cells (comb) and where the honey gets stored.
“With a little shake and a brush for those stubborn bees, the supers are removed and put neatly into a storage box. The bees are, of course, pretty grumpy about us taking their honey, so they are all around us and it feels like they are trying to get into our suits! One manages to and poor Colin is stung on his hand – poor bee too, honeybees are the only bees that die after they sting.
“We then take the Supers into a clean and sterile room, which is kept nice and warm. The supers are then carefully placed into a honey extractor – this is a manual spinning machine, which requires a fair amount of time and patience to spin the honey out of the combs.
“The honey then has a little time to settle, so all the waxy bits from the comb can float to the top and can be skimmed off (this is re-used to feed the bees). The honey is then put into jars.
“In the end, our Lingfield honey bees produced about 25lbs (50 jars) of honey and with the hives now established, fingers crossed next year will be even better.
Interesting facts about honey bees
- There are three types of bees in the hive – Queen, Worker and Drones.
- Queens can live for up to 5 years.
- Honeybees are the only insects that produce food for humans.
- Just a single hive contains approximately 40-45,000 bees.
- Bees can recognize individual human faces.
- The average worker bee produces about 1/12th teaspoon of honey in her lifetime. A worker bee lives for about 6 weeks.
- A hive of bees will fly 90,000 miles, the equivalent of three orbits around the earth to collect 1 kg of honey.
- It takes one ounce of honey to fuel a bee’s flight around the world.
- A honey bee visits 50 to 100 flowers during a collection trip
- According to Albert Einstein, If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live