Welcome to Yorkshire Honey
Why apiculture is a happy culture. To get the most out of bees requires a lot of patience, dogged ambition and not a little talent (which is just good luck in disguise!)
Where I hit it off with the bees reflects the old adage that “bees do nothing invariably”, they are totally unpredictable just like me so throw the text books away and get down to some serious empirical research with the bees themselves.
It’s best not to be too anthropomorphological but that doesn’t mean that bees aren’t like us, just because they’ve got antennae and wax secretion glands doesn’t mean they haven’t got feelings.
As I said they’re unpredictable but also like us they have nationalities which we call strains which are the product of regionality.
For example here in North East Yorkshire in the middle of the North Sea we like to think that our bees have real Yorkshire grit! Now, about the weather, frustrating though it is, some rain but not too much is good.
Since this year we’ve received our weather from the West, the clouds are unusually bored of bearing water by the time they get over the Pennines.
Marcus Cordingley Beekeeper
What makes Yorkshire Honey special?
Beekeeping is a kind of livestock management and requires a lot of hard work both mentally and physically, whether that’s trying to predict the weather or moving colonies in the middle of the night. I have a particular interest in improving the quality of my bees by queen rearing. I suppose farmers rear prize bulls so I do the same thing with bees.
The working calendar with the bees begins towards the end of March when the weather starts to get warmer and the bees become active. That’s when I begin to check the hives on a regular basis. Managing the brood ensures we get the maximum yield of honey.
I always make sure the bees have enough space as I don’t want the Queen to suddenly decide to leave, taking the colony with her. After all our labours we are rewarded with an intoxicating blend of honey unique to North Yorkshire.
We produce two types of honey, Heather Honey and Blossom Honey.
The beehives are sited in the most favourable locations from where they can fly to field crops, hedgerows and woodlands as well as marginal land. Covering a radius of up to 3 miles the bees may find different blossoms to forage like oil seed rape, clover, blackberry, hawthorn, dandelion, giant rosebay, sycamore, lime and chestnut trees.
The North Yorkshire Moors produce a distinctive tasting honey which as well as Heather Honey’s main constituent – Ling (Calluna Vulgaris) contains a host of nectars from flowers such as bell heather (Erica cinera) thistles, white clover, blackberry, knapweed and Rosebay Willow Herb.
Moorland honey with a very high Ling content, may be thixotropic, giving it a somewhat denser consistency.
If it’s warm and the temperature is above 14° C with an air flow from a southerly aspect, the heather yields nectar quite abundantly producing 3 lbs of honey per day, per hive.
Heather Honey is a well rounded honey with a hint of vanilla and lime and is a great source of natural energy.
Heather Honey is a well rounded honey with a hint of vanilla and lime and is a great source of natural energy. Beehives are transported to the Moors in time for the appearance of the first Ling Heather blossoms in early August. If it’s warm enough with a favourable wind from a southerly aspect the bees will draw nectar from these flowers as well as from Bell heather and the Cross leaved Heath, also common on the North Yorkshire Moors.
Blossom Honey has a mild, slightly floral flavour and has many beneficial health properties which are good for all the family for a variety of ailments. The harvest of honey comes from hives placed near field crops and woods in the Vale of Pickering, the Howardian Hills and the Yorkshire Wolds.
Some facts about Honey Bees!
Honey bees fly up to three miles from their hives to collect nectar and pollen.
It would take about eight honey bee stings for each pound you weigh to kill you.
A hive of bees will fly 40,000 miles, more than once around the earth, to collect 1 pound of honey.
The queen bee can lay up to 3,000 eggs a day during the summer months.