Findhorn Apiary News and Bottling Liquid Gold

A busy season concluded with the annual honey harvest in early September. This is later than for many apiaries, but we are fortunate to have heather blooming on the dunes in August and the bees are able to gather a lovely harvest of nectar. This mixes with the summer nectar to produce a delicious honey. The harvest was around 75 pounds of honey. To produce one pound of honey, bees have to fly the equivalent of twice round the world. They are truly busy bees.

Honey Extraction Day.  This day began with collecting the frames full of honey from the hives, about 50 frames, and taking them to The Hub. We had to carefully ensure that no bees were left on the frames. Otherwise, they would fly back from The Hub and tell the other bees where all their honey had goEe and they would come and try to gather it.

To extract the honey, we first have to cut off the cappings over the cells of honeycomb. The frames are then put in the extractor and vigorously spun. Our new extractor, generously fundraised and donated by Robert Holden, worked well and it is a joy to see the beautiful honey flow from the tap. The honey is then sieved to remove loose bits of wax and other miscellaneous bits, ready for bottling. There is no other processing; pure natural honey.  It was great to be able to use the space and facilities provided by the new Conservation Hub this year and thus avoid getting John Willoner’s kitchen thoroughly sticky as in previous years!

Bee Work Party.  One Saturday morning in July we had a work  party at The Hub. About 15 folk came to help, cleaning old frames, assembling new frames and fitting wax foundation. It was a lovely time of sharing, relaxation, and learning about bees. Everyone had the opportunity of suiting up and going to see a hive in action, in David Harrison’s garden, just across the road from The Hub. The hive was there because a swarm had settled in David’s compost bin, the previous month. We had removed the bees from the bin and put them in a hive next to it. We had placed drawn comb in the hive, so the queen was immediately able to start laying and the colony is steadily growing. We are feeding the bees with sugar syrup so hopefully the colony will be strong enough to survive the winter.

We are always happy to have volunteers to share beekeeping with us, so if you are interested in learning more, please contact Jonathan Caddy,  [email protected]  If you would like to purchase honey or beeswax, please contact John Willoner on 01309690064.

A selection of photographs from both the work party event and the honey extraction one follow to help inspire your interest and participation.  There is also a short article from Mohini, one of the volunteers who helped with the honey harvest.

Martin Harker

Part of the core FHT Bee Management Team 

(Martin Harker, John Willoner and Jonathan Caddy).

Bottling Liquid Gold

An impromptu happening on my part last Monday morning…Sylvia Black called me to see if I had any wholesome delights leftover from the farmer’s market, to offer to those extracting/bottling honey for their tea break…To her delight I did indeed have a wonderful selection of goodies.

I arrived at the Hub in Pineridge to the heady scent of honey in varying stages of extraction (the new hand centrifugal processor), scraping the ‘cappings’ to give back to the bees as a thank you, and the bottling.  I got a great fast lesson in Martin’s precise measuring of honey from the big white bucket through the tap; into the archetypal hexagonal glass jars, waiting for not 1 but 2 drips before bringing the next jar under the tap to collect this liquid gold! He reminded me that a bee will make a 12th of a teaspoon of honey in its entire life!  I’m stunned and bow in reverence to these buzzing beings that work tirelessly both in their hive and out amongst the multitude of flowers for the collective good of the whole community.

It’s ignited a spark of intrigue and gratitude to those that are beekeepers throughout our globe across eons of time…and yet to be a beekeeper, I noticed there’s a distinct timelessness about the work involved, perhaps mirroring that of the bees – each helper had his/her work station and diligently went about their task at hand.

I shall return to learn and much much more.  Thank you!



Inspired FHT Volunteer and Member



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Findhorn Hinterland Trust, Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) SC045806
228 Pineridge, Findhorn, Forres, Moray IV36 3TB