We are grateful to Ashurst for sponsoring our forage-creation programmme.
Please contact us if you'd like to find out how you can support our education, training and forage-creation projects.
Honey harvesting is underway for many of our members and some will have honey to sell. Please email us for further details. Members have honey from Clapham, Kennington/Southwark, Dulwich, Balham, Stoke Newington, Walthamstow, St James Park and other places.
Honey is bees' way of storing the nectar they collect. Bees collect nectar, bring it back to the hive and deposit it into the hexagonal wax cells they build. Over the course of a few days, they add enzymes and other substances from their bodies, and evaporate water from the nectar. When the water content becomes less than about 15%, the cell is sealed with wax, preventing it from rehydrating. It will then keep for years.
Honey stores accumulated during the rest of the year keep the bees alive during bad weather and in the winter months when it is too cold to fly and there are few flowering plants. But most of it is used as fuel to keep the young bees in the brood nest heated to about 35oC in spring and summer.
People also like honey and most beekeepers harvest it. If we do this, we have a responsibility to either leave them enough for the winter and/or feed them sugar when required.
The taste and colour of honey varies greatly. It depends on the flowers that provided the nectar. London honey is highly prized for its complex flavours as cities usually have a greater diversity of flowers and a longer flowering season.