What a summer!

Our Trill hives didn’t swarm and so were very strong for the early honey flow. We have taken off about 120 lbs (50+kgs) from two hives, and still left them with more than enough stores for the winter.

Why did we do so well? The warm weather helped a lot of course, though because of the drought we didn’t see so much nectar flow in July.

In a strong hive there are upwards of 60,000 bees hard at work. When they gather nectar the sugar content is low and they must evaporate the water.

They do this by fanning their wings. Due to the evaporation, 5lbs of nectar is needed to make 1lb of honey. That is millions of journeys by the bees to the individual flowers.

The honey is stored in small hexagonal cells in the comb. To extract the honey, we spin the comb (without the bees!) in a machine and centrifugal force sends the honey out and down the sides into our waiting jars. It is quite hard work but nothing compared to the work of the bees.

Julian Barnard is a founder and teacher at Healing Herbs Bach flower essences. He regularly stays in this part of Devon and is establishing a bee colony at Trill Farm and teaches beekeeping courses here.