Northumberland Honey Video Transcript

Welcome to one of the apiary sites for Northumberland Honey Company, and this is a row of our British standard national hives that we keep. We are commercial beekeepers looking after these bees primarily for honey production and meat, which is of any alcohol. But a big part of what we do is crop pollination as well. So we’re going to have a little look through one of the hives as part of what we do for an inspection routine. Like the first thing we want to actually see is that the bees are flying healthy and normally bringing in pollen.

So if we have a look down at the entrance of the hive there you can see little yellow bits coming in on the likes of the bees, which is pollen, which has been harvested by the bees from the trees mainly around this particular area. When we actually pulled up here this morning, you could hear a quite big distinct from around the trees that we parked and which is a sycamore tree. So the bees are really busy today. So the trees that they’ve got around is like this very big sycamore tree is where they’re gathering lots of pollen and nectar, but they will fly three miles to actually get some forage.

So we’ve got a bee farming apprentices busy working through the hives down there. We’ll just go and have a little quick look at what she’s doing and then we’ll come back and join Susie, one of these first hives. But you’ll just get going first if you have a little walk down here. We’ve got the hives separated into pairs. It’s basically easier for us to work that way. And it also allows the bees to recognize patterns for where their hives are in a row.

We don’t leave them in a very, very tightly packed row or anything. Then it sort of shapes and patterns, if you like, to recognise where the hives are, as well as what we call the pheromones of the hive and the smell of the hive, which helps the bees identify which hive is theirs. So what one is doing here is she’s actually split the hive down. So we’ve removed the top boxes, which is where the honey would be.

So in these sort of boxes, one, two, three, four would all be honey. And then we separate off the honey with the queen excluder so that the queen is basically just in the bottom box where she’s actually laying all of this and is just inspecting. She’s got basically Tom. So she got bail, which is enough for many years getting onto a face and really stinging. And she’s wearing just these nitrile gloves. They’re very thin. So they would actually be able to sting through.

You can see, even though for all of the bees flying around, there’s no bees bothering the gloves at all. And they’re quite calm. They have a little bit of a smoker and it’s holding on to that. But you can see there’s not very much smoke. It’s all coming out of there. You don’t really need to use much smoke with our babies to actually work with them. Really quite nice, calm bees and so on is doing here is just checking the health status of the colony really that there’s enough honey in the in the brood nest area where the queen is that they’re not trying to swarm or anything, which is why they split.

We’ve actually got the queen on this frame as well. So you can have a look in there, may well be able to see if she’s got a little little green dot on a she’s right in the bottom corner of this frame, as they often are. So that’s why we also have to be very careful when handling frames. Most importantly, the queen was walking around the frame. The queen really is the engine room of the hive. Each one of these hives has the Green Zone is just one queen per hive, surely 2000 next day and the height the season.

So we can end up with sort of eighty thousand bees in any one time. So you can see actually the hives get quite big. All of these hives, you know, really packed full of bees at the moment. You can see here you examined in this colony, which is slightly smaller than the one that I know is just going through. But again, you can see the really nice, quite calm bees and not having to use much smoke, just the gloves that we use these nitrile once again, which is good in that you can actually feel what’s going on on the frames.

It also means that we don’t spread any disease around. So any sort of viruses and brood disorders and diseases that the bees can get, we’re minimising any risk of transmission of any disease between different apiary sites. We use the same gloves throughout an apiary site. So we’re not wasteful of gloves. But we can actually, by changing gloves between sites, we can actually avoid any disease transmission. So it’s called barria techniques relink very method. So we maintain good levels of hygiene all the way through.

We also we’ve got another queen here, we’re doing really well today, seeing all the queen so you can see her, she’s another Greenmarket queen, so St. Martin them different colors for different years. So this queen was born last year. And so the color for this year is actually blue. So any queens that get born this year will be marked blue. And what she’s actually checking for here is really the health of the brood as well, that it looks nice and and flat.

You’ve got the nice digestive biscuits sort of color brewed here. We’ve got the nice looking larvae and these sort of cells here which look absolutely fit and healthy. And we’ve actually got as well next to it. Just at the end of the finger here, we’ve got a bee that’s actually starting to hatch out. So this guy there and the girl, shall we say, because they are all female workers, is is hatching out. And all of that digestive biscuit colored stuff is going to be bees that hatching out.

Another thing that’s really interesting, we talked about the pollen coming in earlier to have a look at this frame that’s on the top. We’ve actually got an array of different colored pollens here. So you can actually see just in this comb just how many different color pollen that the bees are actually foraging on, that the different colors represent different flowers that the bees visit. And it’s a huge, huge array. When we actually extract honey, we can test where the bees are forage to get that honey by testing the pollen.

And often we can see that that is made up of 30, 40 or more different types of flowers that you can see here. The queen excluder going on, which basically just stops the queen from migrating up in the hive and laying all those eggs and brood in the top soopers. The sapers is effectively where the honey is made super effectively, just means above, if you like. So bees generally tend to store honey above themselves. And so that’s why we call them the Honey Soopers.

So what we’ve got here is Suzy just checking those. We have little spaces here, which just helps keep nice space between the frames, gives the bees effectively space to build the comb out. And then they’ve also got a little bit space on either side of those frames at the moment. Stop putting more in the way of honey. So we’ll have a little look in this next box. So you do have what we call a feeder on the top there as well.

That’s sort of a relic from spring when there wasn’t a honey flow on. We had faith and a little bit of an invert just to help the brightness get going. But as soon as the honey flow starts, there’s no feed going on there at all. But the space we just leave, the feed is used. So we’ve got a look. But the honey you can see just glistening in the combs there will find it until the expert beekeeper says so.

You can see that as well. If we look at the reflection in the sun, can see that glistening honey coming in there. So the bees are making good progress. This is probably one of the smaller colonies that we’ve got. Interestingly, with me just stood in front of the hive. What happens to the bees as well is that we get a little bit of banking of the baby. So it’s like the airport, really. So we’ll get a bit of a queue forming with the bees.

And you can see them at the entrance now where the bees are actually starting to queue up more to get in and see all of that lovely pollen on the bees likes and yellows and oranges and cream. Another thing that’s just starting to flower here is the Hawthorn, and that’s another good pollen source and good nectar source that the bees have. Again, you can see UNOPS just working the way down the line. We always work in pairs. Just, you know, if any boxes start to get a bit heavy or anything with honey, then we help each other out, try and create a nice working environment as possible as we’re going through the bees and make sure we’re working together.

And if you have any questions, we’re hoping to be able to do a bit of a live question and answer session towards the end. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing around one of the precincts with us and we’ll crack on and get the rest of these bees checked.