Our honey is produced by our own bees that
are in three rural apiaries in North Bedfordshire
The 'home' apiary that is called 'Bumble' [don't ask!] which is in a small copse on an organic farm that is about 150 yards from my house.
The second small apiary is 'The Spinney'' that is also on an organic farm about three miles away.
I normally keep abour 5 hives there.
The third apiary is 'The Wood' which is, as the name implies, in a large wood quite close to The Spinney.
I was given access to the Woood where there were several deserted hives and I'm in the process of building it back up.
There are a huge number of different types of bee hive a bee keeper can use.
The most common is called The National.
As with other 'box hives' it primarily consists of a large brood box with a smaller super on top.
There is an entrance underneath the brood box.
The worker bees can access the brood box and super[s] but there is a slotted partition between the brood box and the first super.
Being larger than the workers the queen cannot pass through the partition and is confined to the brood box where she lays the eggs.
The worker bees can produce honey in both the brood box and the supers, and the supers have the honey we extract.
As well as Nationals I have a few other types of hive that are mostly for my own interest and I rarely extract honey from them
EXTRACTING THE HONEY
The usual convention is for bee keepers to extract honey twice a year, normally in May and August.
However it is important to realise that the bees don't make honey for us but it is their winter food that they survive on during the winter.
Therefore the bee keeper has a responsibility to ensure that, particularly in the Autumn extraction, that there is enough honey left in the hive for the bees to last the winter.
I normally only extract in May and in bad years I might not extract at all.