As part of Heathrow Airport’s Bio-Diversity program, twenty-four new honeybee hives and colonies have been installed at the airport

Plane coming in to land at Heathrow Airport
Plane coming in to land at

And now we have coming in, to land!

Now honeybees are also coming into land at Heathrow Airport
Now honeybees are also coming into land at Airport

 

At peak summer 2016 twenty-four beehives represent over 1.3 million bees, which is a lot of takeoffs and landings.
Year one is not about the , but it is always nice to have an idea of what is possible.

Two colonies built up early in the year, a mix of prolific queens and superb foraging and were identified as the most likely to produce a honey excess in year one.

 

Busy bees, a healthy colony.
Busy bees, a healthy colony.

Colony inspections earlier in the week indicates that honey is capped and ready to harvest.

A great example of capped honey.
A great example of capped honey.

 

Frames removed from the hive ready for de-capping.
Frames removed from the hive ready for de-capping.

 

Decapping the honey

Uncapping honey comb prior to spinning out the honey.
Uncapping honey comb prior to spinning out the honey.

 

lovely-white-cappings

 

Placing beehive frames into a , note that the honeycomb looks two coloured because the dark colour is black food grade plastic foundation (Sorry traditionalists, it does work) the lighter coloured comb is natural comb, this will give the option of honey in natural comb or simply to spin it out and jar it.

The main advantage is that we can spin out the frames at maximum speed without fear of bursting the combs, which would occur with wax foundation. The result is that you extract a little more honey, as such there is less left in the frames.

Placing de-capped honey combs into the honey spinner.
Placing de-capped honey combs into the honey spinner.

 

We only spin out the honey from single hives, as each hive produces differing honey’s, even hives next to each other produce honey of differing flavour and sometimes consistency.

Honey spinner loaded and ready to go.
Honey spinner loaded and ready to go.

 

Spinning out the first ever Heathrow Airport honey Autumn 2016, it is poly-floral honey which is, syrupy, fragrant and absolutely gorgeous,
There is little to no OSR or Ivy on this bio-diversity area, hence foraging is about as varied and natural as it gets.

 

Below is the first ever trickle of extracted honey from Heathrow Airport.

 

Time for the spun honey to rest a while, prior to bottling.

 

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