Relocating our bees when necessary
Bees store honey as their food reserve and only when they have stored excessive amounts some honey can be taken off. There are circumstances though when the supply of nectar and pollen is barely sufficient to keep the bees alive. Beekeepers then have to intervene and relocate the hives to places with sufficient nectar and pollen.Around the Dandenong ranges, our home location, the native flora, mostly Eucalypt trees, is not producing flowers with nectar and pollen every year and we have to move our bees to other locations where they can collect sufficient nectar and pollen and can hopefully also produce some surplus honey.Over the years our bees have been producing very high quality honey from a variety of Eucalypt trees like River Red Gum, Yellow Box, Red Box, Grey Box, Stringybark and Messmate, as well as Tea Tree and a mix of other native flora.Our bees have been at work in areas near Cardinia water reservoir, Belgrave, Wonga Park, Kangaroo Ground, Christmas Hills, Heathcote, Yandoit, Yea, Tonimbuk, Neerim South, etc.Bees are very susceptible to a variety of toxic chemicals like insecticides. In order to produce pristine honey, we are aiming to keep our honey-producing beehives away from areas that might be affected by the use of chemicals, away from orchards, nurseries, crop farming, industrial sites and rubbish tips.
As long as nectar is available, bees collect it and transform it to honey. Providing enough storage space, the storage of honey can become quite extensive within a hive of honeybees.Normally beekeepers only take out surplus honey, always leave enough honey in the hive for the bees to feed and survive.To get the honey from the comb into the jar for your breakfast toast, we perform these steps:
- Removing the thin layer of wax cappings by lifting it off with a decapping fork - we don't use heated knifes.
- Extracting the honey by spinning the frames with comb in a honey extractor.
- Straining the honey through a set of fine strainers to keep wax particles out.
- Filling the strained honey into jars.
Raw Honey - cold extracted and cold strained
To preserve the beneficial substances contained in raw honey we practise cold extraction and cold filtering through a strainer .At no time in the process our honey is heated or brought in contact with hot objects like decapping knifes.The internal hive temperature of 35°C, controlled by the bees, is the highest temperature our honey ever gets exposed to.To preserve the nutritional values of honey it should never be heated above 35°C. Excessive heat does have a detrimental effect on the nutritional value of honey. [more]
Most commonly, honey is bottled in its familiar liquid form in jars or honey buckets. However, honey is sold in other forms, and can be subjected to a variety of processing methods as outlined in Wikipedia
When honey is processed in commercial quantities, in order to process it time efficiently and prevent/delay crystallisation after bottling, it is necessary to heat the honey up to 66-77°C. The heated honey liquefies and can be filtered and processed much faster; the end product is called "Filtered Honey" as you mostly find it on supermarket shelfs..