First honey harvest at SOLAS
Exactly one year after we set up our first hive at SOLAS eco garden centre we have our first batch of honey produced, bottled and available for sale in our eco shop. Local honey at SOLAS from hive to shelf is a distance of no more than 100m (that’s metres, not miles!)
Co Owner John Carey explains ‘The story of our honey is one of sustainable practices and using natural gardening techniques. At SOLAS we don’t use any harmful pesticides or weed killers to maintain our centre or our stock. Instead, we have incorporated organic processes including biological pest control with supernemos. Supernemos is a parasitic nematode which controls many common garden pests without the need to use bee killing chemicals. We have also adopted a safe weed control practice using hot foam spray to prevent weed growth’
Bee colonies have thrived here at SOLAS in the past year. We have gone from just one to 4 hives in just 12 months. Each hive is made up of 15 frames and as the colony grows more frames are added until all 15 are occupied. Once the hive is full swarming can occur and the hive splits to create a second queen cell and second colony
A Happy hive is thanks to both our chemical free gardening and the array of native trees and flowers planting at SOLAS. Our lucky bees have access to our native wildflower meadow, as well as native trees including hawthorn, birch, pine, lime trees and ivy which offer much needed pollen for bees in winter
Our first honey harvest took place in SOLAS on September 1st. We harvested one hive and from the 15 frames we got a 12 Kgs of Honey.
The process involves filtering and spinning the frames until we achieve the final product, delicious golden runny honey. We can do all this at SOLAS where we carefully extract 15 frames form the super, gently brush off any remaining bees and then the process can begin. Frames need to be scraped clean of any beeswax using an uncap blade. The frames are then added to the spinning extractor. We manually spin the frames in a gentle motion for a about 5 minutes until honey runs clear