We’ve got some new friends down on the farm and they’re creating quite a buzz!
This month, our friends at Stickey’s Honey will be establishing 12 new colonies of bees in our walled garden.
Stickey’s has a number of sites locally and the honey collected from their sites just over the River Aire is currently in our farm shop. Not only does local honey taste delicious, but it’s also fantastic for the ecosystems it’s grown within.
Chris Holmes, the man behind Stickey’s, has been keeping bees since 2004.
What started as a hobby has progressed to over 100 colonies and Chris takes a real pride in the preservation of the bees, their communities and their wellbeing. He works hard to find them new homes that are surrounded by plenty of different flowers, hedgerows and trees.
Chris thinks Swillington will make a great home for some lucky bees. He explained:
‘I’m from Rothwell and I have lots of bees in the area, so I have every hope that the site will be good for my bees and produce a surplus of honey. Sites for bees are never a forgone conclusion as they are weather dependant, so I usually start by putting 12 colonies on a site to see how they do.’
We’re confident that the bees will settle in well. It’s a great site with a really mixed environment and the bees will be great for pollination in the area, including our organic fruit and veggies. You could say it’s a pretty sweet set up.
We’re hoping to have the first batch of Stickey’s honey from the Swillington bees towards the end of summer, so keep your eyes peeled. Chris says:
‘We could have honey by the end of July, however, it is totally dependent on the sunshine and warm weather, so fingers crossed.
‘I have brought 6 production colonies which should produce honey this year and 6 nucleus colonies (new queens for 2017) which will grow over the summer and should produce honey next spring onwards.’
As well as being delicious, local honey is great for hayfever sufferers as regularly eating it can help you build up a tolerance to the local pollen.
We’ll keep you updated with how the Swillington bees get on in their new home. In the meantime, visit our farm shop to pick up some Stickey’s honey, or visit their site to find out what markets they will be visiting.