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Supplier Spotlight: Kighill Apiaries

Kighill Apiaries is one of the honey supplier we work with and his been kind enough to share with us some great factors about bees.

Meet The Bee Keeper

Brian the Honeyman, Brian the Bee Keeper  Kighill Apiaries

I have been keeping bees since 2005 purely by chance when my brother, also a beekeeper asked if he could leave his bees with me during a house move. The hobby soon took hold and I have been increasing the amount of bees I own since. Having retired in 2014 I invested in a purpose built Honey house and all new stainless steel equipment. Like most hobbies the more you spend the easier it gets. Beekeeping is a surprisingly relaxing hobby when you consider you are putting your head into a hive containing upwards of 60,000 bees. It really does concentrate the mind leaving behind any of life's daily worries. I now produce several types of Honey including runny Honey, my award winning soft set Honey (my favourite, it spreads on your toast and not on the table, this is also a favourite with parents and sticky children, it leaves them not so sticky). In August I take my bees on a working holiday to Chatsworth in Derbyshire where on a good year they will reward me with beautiful Heather Honey, again I was also lucky enough to be an award winner with the Heather Honey.This year I hope to add comb Honey onto the list but on a limited basis. I enjoy being an Apiarist and greatly enjoy introducing new comers into the hobby. I breed my own Queens and supply Nucleus of Honeybees to new beekeepers of, where I am always available for advice. I also do beekeeping taster days. Food miles are very important to me, my Honey is collected from the gardens fields forest and hedgerows within 20 miles of here. Buy British Honey. Beekeeping encompasses so much for so many at a time when bees are struggling you can do your bit for this wonderful planet. Plant bee friendly plants, consider taking up the hobby, buy some Honey put it on your toast in your yogurt or in a nice glass warm milk.

Facts about honey bees

1. Honey bees are super-important pollinators for flowers, fruits and vegetables. This means that they help other plants grow! Bees transfer pollen between the male and female parts, allowing plants to grow seeds and fruit.

2. Honey bees live in hives (or colonies). The members of the hive are divided into three types:

     Queen: One queen runs the whole hive. Her job is to lay the eggs that will spawn the hive’s next generation of bees. The queen also produces chemicals that guide the behaviour of the other bees.

     Workers: these are all female and their roles are to forage for food (pollen and nectar from flowers), build and protect the hive, clean and circulate air by beating their wings. Workers are the only bees most people ever see flying around outside the hive.

     Drones: These are the male bees, and their purpose is to mate with the new queen. Several hundred live in each hive during the spring and summer. But come winter, when the hive goes into survival mode, the drones are kicked out! 3.  What are these buzzing bugs most famous for? Delicious honey! But did you know they produce honey as food stores for the hive during winter? Luckily for us, these efficient little workers produce 2-3 time more honey than they need, so we get to enjoy the tasty treat, too! 4. If the queen bee dies, workers will create a new queen by selecting a young larva (the newly hatched baby insects) and feeding it a special food called “royal jelly“. This enables the larva to develop into a fertile queen.

5. Honey bees are fab flyers. They fly at a speed of around 25km per hour and beat their wings 200 times per second!

6. Each bee has 170 odorant receptors, which means they have one serious sense of smell! They use this to communicate within the hive and to recognise different types of flowers when looking for food.

7. The average worker bee lives for just five to six weeks. During this time, she’ll produce around a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey.

8. The queen can live up to five years. She is busiest in the summer months, when she can lay up to 2,500 eggs a day! 

9. Honey bees are also brilliant boogiers! To share information about the best food sources, they perform their ‘waggle dance’. When the worker returns to the hive, it moves in a figure-of-eight and waggles its body to indicate the direction of the food source. Cool, huh?

10. Sadly, over the past 15 years, colonies of bees have been disappearing, and the reason remains unknown. Referred to as ‘colony collapse disorder’, billions of Honey bees across the world are leaving their hives, never to return. In some regions, up to 90% of bees have disappeared!

01284 630248


Main Office

Manor Farm, Ixworth Thorpe, Suffolk IP31 1QH

Regional Office

47 Queen Charlotte Street, Edinburgh, EH6 7EY

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