Oxford Bees

Forage

The colour of honey

Submitted by will on Sun, 25/06/2017 - 08:22
two colours of honey in one jar

I recently took some honey from Hive A. Most came out as comb but there were also a couple of jars.

Yesterday I returned to Hive A. Some time ago I had put some broken comb pieces onto the crown board. In the usual way the bees had built a large slab of comb around it it and started to fill it. I cleaned up the crown board and then hung the crunched comb in mesh bag overnight.

The honey drained into a jam funnel and into a jar. After filling one jar I started top up a half empty jar which contained honey mentioned in my first paragraph. The two honeys didn't mix, leaving a contrasting layer.

I'm not sure why there is a difference in colour. The lighter honey probably was made during a nectar flow and may be largely monofloral - perhaps from the Horse Chestnut trees which flower around here in spring. The darker honey was there for quite a while and may have been hotter and from a wider variety of plants.

Not Lime Time after all

Submitted by will on Thu, 15/06/2017 - 22:13

The Limes are flowering in Headington. The Limes are flowering in Oxford. There are no bees on any of them.

I'm told that Limes only give nectar when the conditions are right. It has to have rained (which it hasn't recently) and it has to be humid (which it isn't ). These two presumably go together. The result is that Limes are only said to yield approximately every 7 years.

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Lime Time

Submitted by will on Mon, 05/06/2017 - 21:56

I've been waiting for the Small Leaved Lime Tree, Tilia Cordata, to flower. The time is near.

Not to be confused with the citrus trees which bear Lime fruits, this attractive tree is a big producer of nectar and it's common around Oxford. There are several large mature trees on Parks Road and South Parks road. There are many more around the city and in Headington

The flowers are said to give a very tasty honey and they produce lots of it. I think that I had some from a frame which I took from one of the (then) new colonies in the city. It was fantastic.

I can look out from a 2nd floor window into a Lime tree in Headington. I'm fairly sure that there are flowers showing. They attract the bees for a few days before they yield nectar. I'm told that it drives the bees a bit mad. The weather has turned wet so I rather hope that the trees are not flowering.

It may be time to check my spare supers.

Update 11/06/2017: The Lime trees in central Oxford are definitely flowering lower down. Their tops are not in flower yet. The trees in Headington flowered early, which fits my view of the different micro-climates. Central Oxford is colder because of the rivers. Headington is more windy but is warmer. I definitely notice this difference cycling down Headington Hill in the morning.

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