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July…already, where’s this year gone?!

I always enjoy sitting down and writing our blog, even if it does always seem to be the last minute. I enjoy looking back over the month to really think about what we’ve been up to because in the middle of the season the weeks seem to go by like theirs no tomorrow and its easy to forget what you did yesterday let alone the start of the week!

This photo is one of my favourites of this month. Taken on our stall at Market Bosworth Farmers Market (4th Sunday of each month) Although this is actually a honey bee so wouldn’t use an insect hotel which are designed for solitary bees I loved how it was just having a little rest there looking over our stall. 

One thing I do want to mention is that we get a lot of calls to collect swarms and unfortunately due to how busy we are and the risk of bringing disease into our sites we are no longer collect swarms. If you go to the British Beekeepers Association website – https://www.bbka.org.uk/find-a-local-swarm-collector you can get the details of lots of local beekeepers who are volunteering to collect swarms! 

 

Last month I promised I would talk you all through our honey harvesting process which we did back in May and will be doing again towards the end of July. We generally do 3 harvests each year our spring one for Soft set honey, Our July/August one for Runny Honey and our September one for Heather honey! 

Our first stage is on the hives adding something called clearing boards which are like one way valves for bees. The bees can work their way down but then can’t get back up to the supers (boxes holding the honey) and the next day we can take it off and bring it back in to our processing room! 

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Next up we have to warm the boxes a little back to around 35 degrees just so the honey runs a bit quicker but not to warm to damage the honey or soften the wax too much.

The warmed frames go through an uncapping machine, I used to do them all by hand but now this machine does the job using two heated knives to remove the wax on the outside of the frame exposing the honey below!

The wax isn’t wasted though its squeezed using a press below which release all of the extra honey and leaves dry curls of beeswax which is then melted at the end of the season into lovely blocks of beeswax!

The uncapped frames are moved into our extractor and although now it’s run by electric not by hand the idea behind the extractor hasn’t changed for around 100 years! The frames are spun around for about 10 minutes and by the end almost all the honey has been removed.

The honey goes into a big tank to be warmed overnight and the wax floats to the top so we can just let it run through a strainer and into a bucket and hey presto the end product is made!!

When we are ready we pump the honey into the jars pop a label on it and our favourite runny honey is ready for the market stall or farm shop!

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Even with big equipment the extracting process can take a long time sometimes but over the past few years we have really got to grips with it and can process faster than ever. We even help other beekeepers by extracting their honey for them because believe me it can make a right mess if you aren’t careful!

Before I finish I just want to quickly mention all of our markets this month because its a busy time for us!

2-3rd July – Open Air Country Fair at Planters Garden Centre Tamworth

9th July – Middleton Hall Summer Fair, this is our first time but we’ve been told its a great fair!

16th July – Shustoke Show, really excited for this one as the last time we were able to do it was 2019 and we’ve grown so much since then. A great family event with loads to come and see!

24th July – Market Bosworth Farmers market

 

As ever I must say a big thank you to you all supporting us buying directly from us through the website, at our shows and fairs and also through our stockists!

Thank you
Matthew Ingram
Holt Hall Apiary

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