We extracted 16lbs of gorgeous honey from our bees on 24th June. This was much less than I had anticipated. When I checked three weeks earlier the bees appeared to have plenty of honey to spare. However, because of the cold, wet weather they have been drawing heavily on their stores to feed their young. Honey bees can’t go out foraging in poor weather.
In fact the National Bee Unit has since issued warnings to beekeepers to check their bees in case of starvation, and to feed them if necessary. I have been checking, and although the hives where I took honey still have sufficient, I have had to feed the other two colonies with syrup (that is sugar dissolved in water) to tide them over.
The bees collect honey for food and convert it to honey to store it. They also collect pollen to feed their young, and in the process pollinate our crops and flowers. So, of course, honey is first and foremost for the bees. Having said that, if we have a good summer I hope that they will have more surplus honey that we can harvest later in the year.Tish (Beekeeper)