Honey extraction and honeydew

From Simon's beekeeping blog. Comments are welcome via email.


The local beekeepers' association runs a practical course, and today's session was on honey extraction. There was an extractor and strainer set up and we practiced uncapping frames of honey with the tool, and knives (heated and unheated). The smell and the general gooiness of the honey was great. It was surprising how much honey came out of a dozen frames.

We also got to try some unusual honey that Thomas had with him. It was about twenty-five years old, very dark, resembled treacle or molasses and had an intense and delicious flavour. The bees that produced it fed mostly on lime trees. They are extremely fond of the nectar and pollen from lime flowers, but also collect the honeydew secreted onto the leaves by aphids. The resulting honeydew honey is something pretty special. This isn't unique to the lime tree — many trees host honeydew-producing insects. Even the cosmic ash tree Yggdrasil is mentioned in Norse mythology, described as having honeydew falling from its leaves for bees to nourish themselves on.

Thanks to Richard, we also got to see the photos of the sofa in the barn that Dave and D's bees occupied when he collected them with Thomas in July — one of them is attached to this entry.