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Bee-friends - First and Foremost! 

 

Dad and I tend to our native Irish honeybee colonies togther, situated in Co. Down Northern Ireland within the most beautiful, lush, green countryside.


We like to think of ourselves as Bee-Friends rather than Bee-Keepers!


Why?.. well we do not inhibit their natural behaviour in order to get more honey.  We only remove the extra honey from the hives in Autumn, and we only take the honey that is above the brood nest which we need to do to make sure they do not overwork themselves keeping the colony warm through the cold months.


FUN FACT: Did you know honeybees in the winter cluster together and vibrate their bodies in order to keep the broodnest at a constant tempreture of between 32-35 celcius?  The bigger the space the harder they work which is why we remove the honey above.


Every drop is used in my creams, balms & soaps.


Swarming season (sounds scary, but its not) happens around May time for the honeybee... this is when 1 honeybee colony splits ....and half (or thereabouts) leaves with the Queen and finds a new place to live... 1 becomes 2.. like an acorn falling from an Oak tree.  This can cause issues for a Bee-Keeper who is counting on honey to sell as when the numbers of worker bees in the hive diminish so does the amount of nectar they can collect.... well as we are not fussed about getting lots of honey we do not need to worry about that!... and instead look at a hive swarming as potential for a new feral colony evolving to help the local eco-system (where its safe).  We also get a lot of telephone calls from people who have got a swarm resting in their gardens and in this case we attend and attempt to take the swarm away in order to keep people safe.


FUN FACT: The hive is made up of almost all women... LOTS of worker bees (female), 1 Queen (female) and Drones (male) but only in the spring & summer when they are required.  

The Queen can lay 2 types of eggs, a fertilsed egg (female larvae), and an unfertilised egg (male larvae).  The worker bees decide which egg she should lay by drawing out comb in different sizes, the female egg is the normal size... and the male egg is bigger (only in spring & summer remember) !  The Queen knows which to lay by measuring the width before she places the egg in the cell... so you see the Queen isn't in charge.. the workers are!!


Bee Haven Bodycare & Gifts started in 2018 when I began on journey to clear my ance (naturally).. in its inception it was a skin balm and a lip butter but it has grown into so much more!  And in true family style I have my daughter Brooke roped in to help, she now takes charge of the production administration, of which there is plenty to ensure we comply with EU & UK cosmetic laws. 


Looking forward we hope to run more Bee Awareness events where we bring our observation hive into the public setting and give people a glimpse inside the hive (safely). 


Thank you for taking the time to learn about our story.....which has really only begun... 


Emma 



 

 

Beekeeping is not about honey for us, its about trying to help them, understand them and give back to Mother Nature. We endeavour to give more than we take by:


  • Leaving honey supers on the hive well into the Autumn so that the colony get all that they need before us.
  •  Swarming is a natural process which we try to embrace (where safe and away from the public), this means that some of our Native Irish Black Bees will return to the wild and thus help to increase and diversify the wild native pollinator population in the locality.
  • We treat our colonies for varroa mites and monitor for other diseases.... and we also ensure they are fed throughout the winter and times of poor forage to ensure they do not starve.
  • Running observation hive events where a few frames of bees are taken and placed in a secure glass hive so the public can see what honey bees look like as they resemble wasps in shape and size...... so its good for people to go away knowing the difference. #stoptheswat.  Also many people get honey bees confused with bumblebees.........as did I.  So sharing our love for bees and swapping 'bee stories' often leads to learning, on both sides!
  • Using our Facebook page @beehavenhoneyni we encourage our network of fellow bee lovers to #doonethingtohelp  during the Spring and Summer months.  The engagement we have recieved from people far and wide has been overwhelming.... with lots of bee rescue  stories  and people sending photos of beautiful wild flower meadows planted especially to help local pollinators!  

Make sure you like our Facebook page by clicking the icon below..... and join our bee crew!


 

Remember - Not All Heroes Wear Capes! 

 

#notallheroeswearcapes - some have wings and are responsible for pollinating 1/3 of your food!

 

Our observation hive 

 

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