The Journey of the Bees to the New Forest
The Big Migration
Every year, in July, hundreds of hives are moved from their usual apiary sites to the outer reaches of heathland. A large operation which involves carefully selecting only the biggest and best colonies from all the livestock, lugging them onto trailers and trucks and moving them early morning to their new locations. All this in search of Heather Honey
We load the hives onto the truck, strapping each one down to ensure they will be safe and sound, and we set off on the journey. It takes around 2 hrs to reach our destination and even by the time we get there, the sun is barely up.
We park up, and start the unloading of the hives. We position them nice and close to the heather making it as easy as possible for the bees to forage the flowers once they open. We want to make it as easy for them as possible, as autumn approaches it gets colder and wetter - not ideal weather for honey bees who will soon be preparing themselves for winter. Once sited, we strap them down again to prevent them blowing over or being knocked over by the ponies, donkeys and other livestock that roam the heathland. Then we wait, we wait for good weather and for the bees to work their magic...............
We remove the honey boxes from the hives, hoping each one is a good weight (although it's not so good for our backs at the end of a long day) and sort out the honeycomb. Some will be cut out and sold as honeycomb, others will be 'crushed' and have the honey squeezed out of the honeycomb to be sold as jars of honey.
Later we'll repeat the travel arrangements for the bees, we close the entrances and load them up onto the truck to return back to Sussex where they will overwinter peacefully until the warm Spring temperatures starts them all off again.......
Why Heather Honey
How best to have it?
Spread it on your toast and let it all melt, or serve with cheese and fresh figs.