Webster Honey is celebrating one of its biggest honey harvests to date, with nearly two tonnes of local, sustainable honey currently being extracted into jars – a new record for the business.
With some of the honey making its way to farm shops all over Scotland, the remainder will be offered to the businesses, schools and nurseries that have been hosting the Webster Honey hives, such as Eden Locke Aparthotelon George Street, who have hosted four hives since June of this year.
Host businesses get the option to buy the honey which they can use in their venues if they wish. Eden Locke is currently discussing the option of a bespoke label for its honey jars, featuring its own logo as well as that of Webster Honey.
Eden Locke is one of several new urban locations, which also include Cameron Toll and East Kilbride Shopping Centres, that started hosting Webster Honey hives earlier in the season, as part of a push to grow the business into new locations. It also demonstrates that bees don’t just thrive in rural environments, but can do well pretty much anywhere.
Many more schools and nurseries across Scotland also enjoyed having a hive in their grounds. As the last lockdown eased, Webster Honey was able to briefly resume its educational programme which sees beekeeper Meik carry out age appropriate lesson plans teaching children about the life cycle of bees, and their importance to the eco system.
As the current season comes to a close, Meik outlined the fascinating process involved in extracting the honey from the hives, feeding the bees, and preparing for the next season.
Meik said: “We start by cleaning the hives and extracting the honeycombs.
“Then we start varroa treatment and feeding the bees, as at this time of the year, once the heather is finished flowering in the next two to three weeks, there isn’t much food around for them anymore. The bee colonies are very strong this year, and we have to wait for the bees to “cap off” which is when they stop producing the honey, it can vary across each hive. After that we start doing any hive repairs and generally preparing for next season.
“This year’s season got off to a late, and very wet start, but has ended very well indeed with us almost trebling the amount of honey we harvested last year. Eden Locke have already had around 20kg of honey, with more to come – around 121kg – which we will jar for them. They want to sell it in their shop and use it at breakfast for guests to enjoy, so we are very excited about that for them.”
Stephanie Locke, Assistant General Manager at Eden Locke said: “We’re thrilled to see that the bees of Eden Locke are thriving in their new home and have produced a bumper harvest this year. Our team and guests alike are excited to taste some homegrown honey, which will be available to buy at the Locke Shop, or drizzled over a delicious breakfast at Mayvn.”
Meik mentioned another honey harvest that had also stood out. He said: “We had a record harvest in a hive hosted in an individual’s back garden this year. This particular customer had five hives. An average hive produces around 20-25kg of surplus honey per season that can be taken, but out of three of the hives there was a total of 164kg. I personally have never seen that much, and I have been a beekeeper for many years.
“It’s good news for Webster Honey, and for bees generally.”
Explaining that the bumper harvest was causing a few logistical problems for Webster Honey Meik added: “We are certainly going to need to get some new, larger storage areas for all the honey we are extracting, as we are full to capacity at the moment. A nice problem to have though.
“2021 has been notable for us breaking into the hotel market, with not just Eden Locke getting on board, but also renowned foodie hotel, Mhor Hotel at Balquidder.
“Mhor are very much enjoying their hives, and plan to offer day long beekeeping courses to their guests, in conjunction with us. It’s another significant development for us which demonstrates the huge scope there is in this business to engage with multiple platforms. There is much more awareness now of the plight of bees, along with a desire for people to keep their own bees, and learn how to look after them, but we must all keep it up.
“We plough all our profits back into buying more hives, so the better we do, the more bees we can save.”
Further details at www.websterhoney.co.uk.