Summertime (August 2017)

“The hum of bees is the voice of the garden.” Elizabeth Lawrence

Experiencing beekeeping (June & July 2017)

Thanks to everyone that came to take a first-hand look at beekeeping this summer. We were happy to welcome many families coming to tour the apiary. As ever, we started the tour with a short presentation but soon we moved on to the practical tasks of beekeeping - get some honey from the honeycombs! The result of our visitor’s challenging work was sweet. They brought home a couple of jars of their own honey.

Kids and bees in action (June 2017)

PBS primary kids came to visit the apiary again this year. This season, we were also happy to welcome the kids from the Children’s club in the nearby village Čestín. During the excursions, we learned about how the bee society works, who rules the colony, how is honey created, why bees build hexagons, how to help save bees and much more. Protective beekeeping suits allowed the kids to come closer and observe the bees in the glass hive, use the smoker to calm the bees when opening the beehive and watch the traffic on the hive entrances. We hope that many of our young guests will set up their own hive or two when they grow up.

To bee, or not to bee? (June 2017)

Y12 students from PBS visited the apiary to discover how bees and insects inspired English literature. An interesting point of view on the study of honeybees! After a short presentation, we opened up the hives and tasted some delicious summer honey. Last but not least, we went on an inspiring tour of the beautiful landscape surrounding the apiary.

Ready, steady, go! (March & April 2017)

Spring is here and we are on the start of new beekeeping season. Looking forward to seeing how well the colonies survived the winter, we inspected all our beehives during the end of March and it seems to be more than a good start for the 2017 season. All colonies over-wintered well, the queens are present inside the hives and will start to lay more and more eggs soon. April weather brought frosty nights, occasional rain, snow and just a little sun. But the bees have decided not to wait. They use every sunny moment to forage for pollen to feed the growing brood nest. The bee can only fly anytime when the temperature is 12°C and higher. At lower temperatures, bees are unable to use their wing muscles and cannot fly. Hope the weather will change soon.

It´s chilly outside! (January 2017)

Snow covered the countryside. With the temperatures deep below the freezing-point, the apiary is now silent and peaceful. Freshly fallen snow covered the hive entrances and the bees are confined to the inside of their homes. It is too cold to open the hives and inspect the colonies so we just listen to the bee´s hum from outside. With a cup of tea with honey in one hand, we are looking forward to the next season which will start with the first warm sunny days.

New Honey Crop Available (September 2016)

Different varieties of RAW honey harvested during the 2016 season are available:

 Creamed flower honey – a multi floral honey, mild in taste, sourcing from spring flowers, fruit trees and rapeseed fields blooming around the apiary during the early spring. The crystallization process is controlled by stirring the honey gently. This results in a soft and smooth honey that spreads easily on bread. All the health benefits, taste and aroma stay unchanged. Plus one more benefit: no mess in the kitchen.

 Acacia honey - fruity, delicate, light yellow honey, remains liquid and does not crystallize easily due to its high fructose content, perfect with cheese or yogurt.

 Lime (linden) tree honey – amber in colour, a little spicy, mono floral honey obtained from the blossoms of lime (linden) trees during the late spring and early summer. The ambrosial aroma of these tiny yellow flowers draws the bees' attention from miles around. This honey is used for treating cold and fever, sore throat, rhinitis or laryngitis.

 Forest honey – darker in colour and stronger in flavour, contains a higher portion of minerals. Forest honey is harvested during late August as the last honey of the 2016 season.

The Honey Harvest is Over (August 2016)

The end of August is the perfect time to extract forest honey and make a sweet stop to the 2016 beekeeping season. The bees start rearing a new generation of long-life bees, drones are being thrown out of the beehives left to their fate. During this year we took care of about 30 beehives and our garden became a home to 1,5 million hard-working honey bees. The colonies are now ready for the upcoming winter and we can have a little rest enjoying all the miraculous gifts from the beehives. The quality of the honey and the health of the colonies are more important than the quantity of honey we extract. Using the traditional manual extraction method, we obtain RAW HONEY where nothing is added or removed; honey is not heated or ultra-filtered. You can find more information about RAW HONEY and its health benefits in the “Apitherapy” section of our website.

Experiencing beekeeping (May & June 2016)

We would like to thank all visitors for visiting our apiary this year. It was our pleasure to introduce them to the world of honey bees and beekeeping. Little theory plus hands-on experience in the apiary let the visitors to discover the amazing story of honey. What is hidden in a jar of honey? Much more than it seems to be(e)! 

Explore the amazing world of honey bees! (June 2016)

PBS Y4 Vlastina classes visited our apiary to delve deeper into the world of honey bees. Young explorers have learned about how honey bees live in the hive, how they communicate in the colony, how diligently they collect nectar and pollen from flowers and finally how important they are for nature and humans. Touching the honeycomb, smelling the beeswax, tasting the honey, having the close-up look into the bee hive let the kids experience the miniature world of honey bees using all of their senses.

Close encounters … with bees! (June 2016)

PBS Y2 Vlastina classes left the school and came to visit the apiary. Despite the rainy weather, we have run through the programme successfully. As usual, Erik gave a short presentation on bee biology and bee behaviour with focus on pollination. Then we moved on to the apiary to open the hive together. The bee smoker was the most popular piece of equipment, everybody wanted to have a puff and smoke the bees. Our tour came to a closing in the honey extraction room where everyone tasted honey directly from the wax comb. Thank you Y2 classes for your visit!

Busy as a Bee (May and June 2016)

During late spring and early summer the nature offers a huge amount of flowering plants. It is the busiest time for honey bee colonies as well as for beekeepers. Colonies are growing rapidly, the queen is laying as many as 2000 eggs per day during peak season. The bees focus all their attention to foraging and are busy buzzing around all day collecting nectar and pollen. As we add more and more honey suppers, our hives are growing larger each week. We are looking forward to the upcoming honey extraction! 

Y12 PBS Students´ Field Trip (May 2016)

Y12 IB Biology and Y12 IB ESS students accompanied by Ms. Choc and Ms. Webb came to visit the apiary to explore the hidden world of honey bees in an authentic setting. And it really was authentic! During the time of excursion the bees started to swarm and created several exemplary clusters in the garden. Like that, the students had a unique opportunity to observe swarming, a natural method bees use to create a new colony. We also used this moment to demonstrate the dancing and scouting behaviours of honey bee to demonstrate how the bees communicate and search for a new home. Finally students experienced catching a swarm and carried out a series of experiments for their coursework.

Easter (March 2016)

Crocuses and snowdrops blooming in the garden signalise that the spring is approaching. Bees can be seen returning to the hives, their baskets are packed with bright yellow pollen. Although the weather is mainly cold and rainy, the bees use short sunny moments for theirs foraging flights. They are looking for pollen and nectar sources, as their winter stores are running low. It is not an easy job at this time of the year, since not much food is available for the bees. Despite the chilly weather, bee colonies come back to life. They need to mix the freshly collected pollen with honey, turning it into bee bread. They then use bee bread to feed the young as the colony population grows.

It´s honey time! (August 2015)

This summer’s dry and sunny weather brought an abundant honey harvest. At first, we have harvested lime/linden honey, later on we have extracted unique multi-floral honey obtained from flowering meadows with a significant contribution of chestnut and maple trees. The last honey harvest of the 2015 season has pleased us with a good amount of forest honey, dark in colour with a high proportion of minerals. The last honey harvest puts a full stop to the 2015 beekeeping season but the beekeeping adventures continue. Now it is time to prepare bees for upcoming winter.

Busy-buzzy summer (June-July 2015)

Summer is always a busy time for beekeepers. Nature offers a wealth of flowering plants, the wildflower meadows we sowed last year have burst into colour, with red poppies and cornflowers everywhere. The beekeeping season reaches its peak. All hives must be inspected regularly to ensure enough space for the rapidly developing colonies. We would like to thank all visitors for coming to tour the apiary. It was a pleasant experience to meet people of different carriers and hobbies interested in the concealed world of honeybees.

What a hands-on experience for PBS kids! (June 2015)

At the end of the school year we were happy to welcome PBS Vlastina Y2 classes in the apiary. We introduced the kids to the fantastic life of the little insects. Using the observation hives, the kids got to see how one of the most complicated superorganisms on Earth works for real life. But above all, the best part of the day was the uncapping the combs and tasting honey in the extraction room. Thank you for your visit PBS and see you next year!

First honey harvest of 2015 season (May 2015)

We have extracted our first honey for the 2015 season. The bees have done a great job once again! It is delicious product, obtained from fruit blossom, flowering shrubs, dandelions and early spring herbs. The honey has been harvested from the hives with minimal processing, using an extractor, run through a filter straight into the jars. Nothing was added or removed. This raw flower honey, highly favoured for its health benefits, has a unique flavour, with influences from all the different spring flowers growing around the apiary.

The whole landscape is blooming with the bees gathering pollen and nectar from nearby flowering fruit trees and meadows full of dandelions. Colonies started to expand rapidly and soon we needed to catch the first swarm. Thousands of bees left the beehive at once and formed a cluster in orchard near our apiary. We were ready to catch the swarm with an empty hive, but unfortunately the bees decided to leave the garden searching for a new home.

Spring beekeeping (April 2015)

Although the whole apiary was covered by snow till Easter, finally the end of April brought some warmer days. Temperatures around 12-14°C allowed us to inspect the hives for the first time this season. We have been more than satisfied by what we have found. All colonies overwintered very well with strong population, we can boast no winter losses and start this beekeeping season with 18 bee colonies. With more and more sunny days with rising temperatures the flowers in the area started blooming, the bees busy bringing pollen and nectar to the hives. Only around our willow trees, countless bees were buzzing all day long.
 

The Bridge Magazine published a lovely article about bees and our bee farm (March 2015)

The Bridge, the magazine published by The International Women’s Association of Prague (IWAP), introduced our activities in the apiary and some of our experiences with beekeeping in its spring 2015 issue.  You can read the article „The World of the Honey Bees“ in the electronic version of the magazine. It is on page 22!

Winter beekeeping (Dec 2014)

New varieties of honey are available (October 2014)

We expanded the offer of honey filled in jars from Erik and Adam´s Bee Farm. We now offer 6 different varieties of honey harvested during the season 2014:

Rapeseed honey – single flower honey, lightest in color and mild in taste, harvested from the blossoming rapeseed fields in early spring

Rapeseed honey creamed – rapeseed honey made by controlling the crystallization process to produce very fine crystals resulting in a soft honey that spreads easily and doesn’t harden even at cool temperatures. Processed at low temperatures, so all the health benefits, taste and aroma stay unchanged.

Flower honey (spring flowers) – delicious honey, light gold in colour, sourcing from a mix of spring flowers and blossoms around the beehives (fruit trees, dandelions, wild flowers)

Flower honey (summer flowers) – amber in colour, distinctively flavoured multi floral honey, sourcing from a mix of wild summer flowers, blossoming poppy fields, herbs and very late blooming linden trees

Lime (linden) tree honey – gold and spicy, mono floral honey obtained from the blossoms of lime (linden) trees in late spring and early summer

Forest honey – dark in colour and strong in flavour, forest honey represents the last harvest of the season

Sowing flowering meadows (September 2014)

This year we started planting flowering meadows. These are ecosystems, not only beneficial to bees but to all other wildlife. Most of it (in UK up to 97%) was lost due to rationalization in agriculture. To prevent this trend, we sow following seed mixtures: Meadow of the Olden Days, Yellow, Red and Blue meadow, supplied by Planta Nuturalis. The introduction of meadow plants should enhance the nutrition of bees, prevent monoculture and support rare species of bumble bees. We are sure this will be also reflected in the quality of our honey produce. We are now members of the project “Včelí louka” (Bee Meadow), which aims to promote planting flowering meadows for the benefits of bees and of the environment.

Your Bee House participates in the project “Medical Herbs for Bees” (September 2014)

The project Medical Herbs for Bees was launched in 2011 in Australia by John Tadman. His theory is based on the fact that some plant pollens or its components may contain compounds that show inhibitory actions against some bee pathogen. If these compounds were still active after being brought into the hive, this would be a new, eco-friendly way of fighting these problems.

We contacted Mr. Tadman and planted so far 150x Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), 100x Thyme (Thymus vulgaris), 100x Origanum (Origanum vulgare), 100x Bee balm (Monarda fistulosa), 100x Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) and some Sage (Salvia), supplied by Zahradnictví Krulichovi. We are planning to expand our bee garden further next year especially Borage (Borago officinalis). The unique aroma and flavour of these Mediterranean herbs will surely be reflected in the taste of our honey.

New honey extractor with Plexiglas Observation hive (August 2014)

New honey extractor with Plexiglas has just arrived from Denmark! We bought 4 frame manual extractor with transparent container (drum) to show little more of the honey extraction process. The transparent Plexiglas enables to take a look inside the honey extractor and observe the separation of honey from the frames by the centrifugal force.

During the beekeeping season 2014, from early spring to the late summer, an observation hive was in use at Erik and Adam´s bee farm. The walls of the observation hive are made of glass, so the bees working inside the hive can be easily observed without being disturbed.

Summer beekeeping (June-August 2014)

The activities around the apiary reach their peak in late spring and early summer. It is when many plants flower and the meadow near our apiary is full of wild flowers like clover, hawks beard, cornflower, poppies or St. John's wort.
We planted many flowering plants in our garden to offer wider range of nectar and pollen sources. Frequently visited by bees were especially coneflowers (Echinacea), phacelia, lavender, sage, watercress, gladiolus etc. Poppy fields and old lime trees blooming nearby added to the variety. All these wonderful flowering plants, grown in purely natural environment, give the different types of honey, we harvest, their original characteristics. During the summer holidays 2014 we planted another 12 lime (linden) trees and 8 sweet chestnut trees to supply the bees with future forage sources.To provide the bees with forage for the autumn, we planted a small field of Jerusalem artichoke (topinambour).

Even though the colonies are well established in summer, they still need care at least once a week. We split the strongest colonies to create new ones. We also purchased several queen bees and new bee packages, so now, at the end of season 2014, we have total of 20 beehives.

The last harvest of this season produced delicious forest honey. After the last extraction we started to prepare our hives for the winter.

Honey extraction by visitors (June 2014)

Honey is, of course, the first thing that comes to mind when people think of bees. We opened the doors of our apiary for the visitors to reveal all the secrets of a beehive. Many thanks to the visitors who came and took a tour of the apiary on Saturdays 21st and 28th of June. For many of them, this was their very first chance to have a look inside a beehive, extract their own honey; to have a hands-on experience with bees.

Experiencing the honey harvest (June 2014)

On Saturday 14th of June, we welcomed visitors coming to extract honey themselves. We enjoyed a lovely afternoon making a tour through the apiary together. The bees were friendly and our visitors extremely skilled. The fresh flower honey was extracted quickly, so there was enough time for a quiet coffee break enjoyed by adults, as well as for a fierce NERF gun battle fought by boys.

Y3 PBS pupils´ excursion (June 2014)

Another special event in our Apiary! Y3C from PBS Kamýk came to visit! Erik gave the interactive presentation on bees and beekeeping and tried his best to demonstrate some of many amazing facts about the honey bee life. We spent some time directly in the apiary observing the bees and the glass hive. During June, the high season for beekeepers, bee colonies are strong and there is a lot to see. We moved later to the honey extraction room to present the extraction process. Learning how to uncap honeycombs properly was easy for everyone, so we had enough time to taste honey and speak about some of its benefits for our health. We would like to thank the children and the teachers for their visit. Thanks a lot for the positive feedback from the parents!

Y2 PBS pupils´ excursion (June 2014)

Y2 Vlastina classes visited Erik and Adam´s Bee Farm in June. With all the children, our Apiary and the garden became a busy place, buzzing like a beehive. We were pleased to show the children the life of the bee colony and present the basic facts about the honey bee life cycle; to overall introduce the honey bee to the children as a beneficial insect that plays in our environment a crucial role. The children were interested in all the activities - tasting honey and dressing up in beekeeping suits were, of course, the most popular.  Surprisingly, some children were so keen on beekeeping that they would purchase a bee swarm straight away. Eventually, none of them brought back home a new pet but, as we hope, a pleasant experience. Thank you for your visit, Y2 Vlastina classes! Many thanks to all the Y2 teachers! Special thanks to Miss Aisha, who organised the trip!

The honey harvest time (May 2014)

Our bees have worked very hard visiting millions of flowers to collect all the nectar and pollen. Now the honeycombs are full of honey and it is time to extract it. Our first honey harvest this year took place on Saturday, 31st of May. We would like to thank all the visitors who joined us in the apiary on that sunny Saturday. We hope that both, adults and children, had fun dressing up in the bee suits and becoming beekeepers for a while. It was our pleasure to be their guides through the amazing world of bees. Together, we opened the hives and went through the process of honey extraction successfully. All efforts were rewarded - fresh honey tastes great! This spring’s honey is light gold in colour, mild in taste, slightly spicy and SWEET.

Spring Beekeeping (May 2014)

Spring is a time of expansion. A new generation of bees is born, bees build new combs and start collecting nectar. Beekeepers must do their best to help their colonies to grow. We inspect our hives every weekend to give the bees sufficient space. We had a busy swarming season this spring. Although we do our best to prevent our colonies from swarming, we had to catch swarms many times last May.Thanks to mild winter and warm early spring, our bee colonies are strong and active. It seems like we will harvest a lot of honey this year!

Y12 PBS students’ excursion (May 2014)

The Y12 PBS students, accompanied by Mr. Kilcullen-Nichols and Mrs. Choc, visited Erik and Adam’s Bee Farm. Erik gave a presentation on bees and beekeeping. Then the students and teachers put the protective bee suits on and we opened the hives. The students had a chance to become familiar with the real life of a bee colony as well as to extract and taste the fresh honey directly from the honey combs.

Each student carried out series of experiments for their Internal Assessment portfolio straight in the apiary. We are looking forward to see the results and hope the students will share with us. We would like to thank all the students for the visit and their interest in honey bees and beekeeping.

 

The Honey Extraction Room (April 2014)

A brand new honey room is now in use at Erik & Adam’s Bee Farm. Stainless steel equipment and safe, hygienic room ensure high standards of hygiene during the honey extraction and storage of honey.