Lancashire Honey

Harvest honey

We love honey but have never harvested our own before. For this adventure we met a bee-keeper who showed us the craft of his trade.

Penwortham Lancashire, PR1 9JU

Seb and I met up with Andy who runs Lancashire Honey. As well as keeping bees and harvesting honey from beehives across the county, Andy runs courses in bee-keeping. This adventure was all about exploring the world in which his highly productive bee colonies live.  Shortly after arrival we were given protective suits to put on, which included a head net and a pair of gloves. Seb thoroughly enjoyed putting on his suit, not just to be protected from stings but because they looked really cool. We then got to work exploring hives to check-in on the health of each bee colony’s queen bee. Seb learnt that every colony has a queen that lives for three to five years. When we visited the hives each queen was surrounded by 50,000 female worker bees. They forage for flower nectar in order to make honey that they (and we) can eat. The most humbling thing we learnt was that it takes a worker bee her entire life to produce one tenth of a teaspoon of honey. This is truly precious stuff and we will not be wasting any again! We ended the day with a tasting of different kinds of local honey. How clear the honey was, its thickness and colour depends on the variety of trees that the bees visit. They looked and tasted much better than the “mixes” that are usually on sale in supermarkets. (Just take a look to see how many different places are on a typical label.) Being surrounded by buzzing bees and exploring their hives was very exciting, but for both Seb and me it was learning from Andy’s expertise that made this adventure so worthwhile.

We need bees, not just for honey but to pollinate our plants. Two thirds of all our food is pollinated by bees, so we have a good incentive to look after them. Worryingly, in recent years bee populations have dropped by thirty per cent and there has never been a better time to become interested in bees, so fight back any fears and help these incredible creatures. After all, they will help us in return.
– You can book yourself on Andy’s bee-keeping course by visiting his website.
– If you are interested in harvesting honey it is important that you go on a course so that you learn how to look after yourself and the bees. This can be a highly dangerous activity if you get it wrong or have an allergy.
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