Here are our most frequently asked questions, answered for you.
Why is your raw honey better than shop bought honey?
Quite simply, our raw honey is taken straight from the hive, strained though three stainless-steel mesh filters and put straight into our jars. Typically, shop bought honey will be filtered numerous times, blended with other variety of honeys and also heated to make it have that “runny” appearance and texture. Raw honey has higher levels of enzymes, vitamins and minerals and personally we think it tastes much more delicious (We may be bias. But seriously, it tastes great.)
Why has the honey started going all hard and crystallised?
Honey crystallisation or “granulation” is a natural process by which honey turns from a liquid or runny state to a semi-solid state. Beekeepers refer to this as set honey. You don’t have to throw this honey away, it’s still great to eat. All your have to do is keep it in a warm place (maybe the boiler cupboard) or simply warm the honey through in a bowl of warm water. (Be careful though as the glass jar may become hot). Please never boil or microwave the honey as this can kill the good enzymes in the honey.
Shop bought honey is cheaper, why should I buy your honey?
Honey from British beekeepers account for only 10% of the honey market in the UK. Just 10%. If you buy honey from the supermarket, have a look at the back of the packaging and you'll notice it's more than likely imported from the EU and is blended. British beekeepers highly depend on the unlikely british climate which can make honey more expensive to produce. Our honey is pure, raw and straight off the hive. Our prices may be higher than supermarket honey, but we promise you're making a big difference by supporting your local, British beekeepers and you're also getting incredible tasting, flavoursome British honey.
Why is some of your honey creamy and some runny?
We usually harvest our honey 3 times a year depending on the how well the bees are doing, if the weather has been good and if there is enough surplus honey to take off the hive. Throughout the year, different flowers appear at different times. For example, in Spring we put the bees next to the Oil Seed Rape so they forage on this. We harvest the honey shortly after and this honey is very creamy and sets quicker due to the one flora. When the Oil Seed Rape flowers have gone and Summer has set in, we move the bees to another suitable location so they can continue feeding and thriving. In Summer, they usually foraging on park flowers, fruit trees and garden flowers. The bees forage on many different flowers and because there are many floras in this honey, the honey will stay runny for longer. Then in late Summer, we move the bees again to the Heather on the North Yorkshire Moors and they feed off the one flower here making our most delicious Heather honey. This honey also sets quickly and has a grainy, strong flavour. The honey will vary in taste and texture depending entirely on what the bees forage on.
What does a honey bee look like?
Honey bees are small and are coloured from beige to a darker brown with dark brown stripes. They only sting once and then die within 20 minutes of the sting.
What’s the difference between a honey bee, a bumble bee and a wasp?
There are a lot of differences. Honey bees live in a large colony and make honey. They are much thinner than bumble bees. Bumblebees often live in smaller nests and are round and fuzzy. Bumble bees can sting multiple times. Wasps are yellow and black striped and will continue to give multiple stings, too. Bees and wasps will not sting you unless they are aggravated or feel threatened. You can read more on our blog here.
What do I do if I have a swarm in my garden?
First of all – don’t worry! Ensure if you have any animals that they are taken indoors and that any children are either indoors or kept a safe distance away. Honey bees can swarm on sides of walls, hedges, in trees and on the side of houses and even been known to fly into chimneys. Honey bees do not want to sting. When they swarm they are usually full of honey stores in their stomachs to ensure they have enough food stores for the journey to finding a new home. Will full stomachs, they are quite lethargic (imagine how you feel after a big, big meal!) Second of all -call your local beekeeper. You can contact us if you are local in Hull, East Riding and surrounding villages. We charge a small fee for travelling to and from a location. Collecting a swarm can take a couple of hours as we need to ensure that they have all the bees have gathered back together after foraging before they are collected. Collection can be done during the day, but if the bees are still out looking for alternative homes we have to wait until dusk until they all come together. We can then collect the swarm and safely take it away.
How do I remove a sting?
Never use tweezers or your fingers to pull a sting out. This causes more venom to be pumped into your body. Use a blunt instrument to scrape along your skin to the sting, this will remove the sting from your skin in a safe way.
Everybody reacts differently to stings. Some people will notice a swelling to the area followed by a burning and itchy sensation. You must try not to itch the area in which you have been stung.
Call 999 if the person has:
Feelings of faintness or dizzines
A swollen tongue
A history of severe allergy reaction to insect stings. You can read more here.
If the person does not have severe allergy symptoms here are some ways to get rid of the sting
Credit Card – Using the edge of a credit card, brush the surface of the skin. Start from an area behind the point of entry and push forward. The stinger will catch onto the edge of the card and slide out
Nail File – Use the sandy side of a nail file to make short, quick strokes against the location where the stinger is lodged
Butter Knife – Use the dull edge of a butter knife to brush the skin and drive out the stinger
Fingernail – Something you always have on you is your own fingernail! Use your nail to stroke the skin until the stinger is dislodged. It’s important to thoroughly wash the area afterwards.
ETHICS AND RESPONSIBILITY
How did you get into beekeeping?
Having always been fascinating with bees, we turned our love of bees into a hobby. By keeping bees and watching them thrive, learning about them and being continuously fascinated, we wanted to share our love of them with everyone else. We aim to protect the bees and educate the public on their importance and what we can do to help them. We give free advice for anyone who is interested in keeping bees. Please either connect with us on our Facebook page here and send us a message or send us an email (the address can be found at the bottom of this page).
Are you regulated?
Yes. We are both registered members of the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) and all our hives are inspected once a year by a registered Bee Inspector who check the brood for disease, hive management and to ensure we are looking after the bees properly. These bee inspectors will also help us with advice and support us. They feed our hive details back to the British Government so they can carefully watch bee numbers and practices.
Does taking off the honey leave the bees with no food?
No. We are responsible beekeepers and we will always put our colonies health before our business profits. Being a small business of only two beekeepers, we're able to properly manage and source only the best honey which pass our strictest standards. When we harvest honey, we only ever harvest the surplus honey that the bees can afford. We never take honey from bees who need it. Often bees create more honey than they need to. If a bee colony is struggling, we will not harvest honey from them but instead help feed them a bee food so they can survive and thrive. We always put our bees first.
I've heard disease kill bees?
Yes. Bee diseases are unfortunately a common properly but can be managed with the right treatment and care. The varoaa mite, for example is a destructive mite that only reproduces and thrives in a honey bee colony. It attaches to the body of the bee and weakens the bee by sucking fat bodies and can cause the deformed wing virus. A large mite infestation will lead to the death of a honey bee colony. By treating the bees properly, we can help keep this mite under control so the bees can thrive. Bees are also at risk from other diseases which we help manage to keep the bees healthy. In many unmanaged colonies, the bees will often die from these diseases.
Are pesticides and chemicals a problem for bees?
Yes. We have an agreement with the farmers we work with that they never spray the crops the bees feed on when the bees are out foraging on them. Of course this only tackles some of the problem but we are continuously working with farmers and the government to ban these damaging chemicals. You can help by not using any pesticides or chemicals on your garden or plants.
Do beekeepers help bees?
Yes. Without beekeepers, honey bee numbers will dwindle. By shopping local and supporting your local beekeepers you help us buy our materials, our disease treatments and support ethical, responsible beekeeping.