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Frequently Asked Questions

What size jar do you sell honey in?
We sell our honey in 340g (12oz) Hexagonal Jars with gold coloured lids.

What type of honey do you sell?
We sell “runny” honey and “set” honey, all collected from our own hives. The honey has been made by honeybees from nectar collected from a wide variety of flowers growing in and around NE Hampshire. It’s not possible to identify any one particular plant or crop type as there’s such a variety. The plants producing the most nectar varies each year, largely depending on the weather conditions and timing of the seasons. The colour of the honey changes with each extraction, depending on the plants the nectar has come from.

Is your honey “raw honey”?
Yes. Raw honey is best described as honey “as it exists in the beehive.” Our honey has been extracted from the beehive (typically by spinning), strained using mesh or nylon cloth to remove particles like beeswax and dead bees and poured straight into the jar, with no other processing methods used.

Other methods that are sometimes used by commercial processes include:

  • pasteurisation – a process that destroys the yeast found in honey by applying high heat. Pasteurisation helps extend shelf life.
  • ultra filtration to make the honey more transparent and smooth, but it can also remove potentially beneficial nutrients like pollen.

Where do you sell your honey?
As a small scale beekeeper we sell our honey in jars “from the front door”, to customers in the NE Hampshire area (Fleet, Church Crookham, Dogmersfield, Crondall, Aldershot, Farnborough and surrounding areas).  Sorry, we don’t do online orders or sell in bulk buckets.

You can email me at beekeeper@honey-bee.co.uk or message via our facebook page (also see us on facebook marketplace).

When do you sell your honey?
Typically September – November each year (or until it’s all sold), once the the bees have had time to collect nectar from the summer flowers and process it into honey. If spring is kind to the bees occasionally we have a supply in May from spring flowers. Always worth emailing to see if we have any honey available.

Where are the hives that the honey comes from?
The hives are based in Dogmersfield and Church Crookham (NE Hampshire, UK)

How long does the honey keep?
There is no official sell by date for honey – it can keep for quite a long time in a well sealed glass container in a cool cupboard (keeping it in the fridge is not recommended). For practical purposes a 2 year sell by date is recommended, and that is what we state on our jars (from the date of bottling). It’s important to keep honey in a sealed jar – keep the lid on! Honey is extremely hygroscopic – that is, it absorbs water from the surrounding air, and if it absorbs too much it could start to ferment.

Why has my honey gone hard?
All honey goes hard eventually – via a process of Crystallization (sometimes also called Granulation). Different honeys will crystallize at different rates. It is believed that this is dependent upon the ratio of the different sugars found in honey, as well as the temperature at which the honey is stored at. The important point to note is that it hasn’t “gone bad”, honey is essentially a highly concentrated sugar solution and over time some of the sugar comes out of solution and becomes crystals. It’s easy to reverse the process and return a jar back to runny honey.

Place the jar in a warm (not hot) water bath at about 40ºC for about 15 minutes or as soon as the granules have dissolved and all of the honey has turned clear and runny. Don’t boil the water or over-heat the glass as it may crack.

What does the L date mean on the jar label?
The L stands for Lot Number. It indicates the batch of honey – we use the date the honey was extracted from the super frames.

Why does it say on the label “UNSUITABLE FOR INFANTS UNDER 12MTHS” ?
Very occasionally honey contains bacteria that can produce toxins in a baby’s intestines, leading to infant botulism*, which is a very serious illness. It’s best not to give a child honey until they’re 1 year old.
NHS Pregnancy and Baby Guide

*infant botulism – when a baby swallows a resistant form of the bacteria, called a spore, in contaminated soil or food, such as honey. These spores are harmless to older children and adults because the body develops defences against them from about one year of age. NHS Page

Do you sell beeswax candles?
Yes! See this page for more information.

Do you sell beeswax?
We sell our beeswax in candles and as 5cm beeswax blocks.

Beekeepers will often “recycle beeswax” – some companies offer a wax exchange system, where the beekeeper gets a discount off the cost of new “wax foundation” (used in the hive or in “rolled candle” making), in exchange for old wax. They then take the old wax, clean it, and use it to make new foundation.

What other products do honey bees produce?
There are a number of primary products made by honeybees that humans take for their own use:

  • Honey, of course; made from Nectar collected from flowers.
    • Used by the Bees for:  Feed for the adult bees; Stored as a winter supply of food for when there are no flowers.
    • Used by Humans for: Putting on toast, cereals, in hot drinks, baking or roasting; Anything where adding a sweetener is needed!
  • Beeswax, made from 8 glands on the honey bee’s abdominal segments.  Workers chew these pieces of wax until they become soft and moldable.
    • Used by the Bees for:  Building hexagonal honeycomb and caps, for raising new bees and storage of pollen and honey.
    • Used by Humans for: Candles, polish, a form of lubricant, sweet and food covering, waterproofing, cosmetics.
  • Pollen, collected from flowers.
    • Used by the Bees for:  A source of a protein, feed for young larvae (made into bee bread).
    • Used by Humans for: As a source of nutrition; there are various health claims as well, but there is no scientific evidence for this.
  • Propolis, made by the bees from a mix of saliva, beeswax and tree resin.
    • Used by the Bees for:  A sticky “glue”, bees use it to seal small gaps in the hive or cover up things they don’t want contaminating the hive but they can’t physically remove.
    • Used by Humans for: Some chewing gum brands, car wax, musical instrument varnish. Also used in traditional medicine for various remedies. No firm evidence of effectiveness, but there is still active research in this area.
  • Royal Jelly, made from glands in the “mouths  (hypopharynx)” of nurse worker bees.
    • Used by the Bees for:  Fed to all larvae for first 3 days of life. Fed to larvae destined to become Queen Bees for life of larvae up to pupation.
    • Used by Humans for:  A dietary supplement with various health claims, but there is no scientific evidence for this.

Does it take time and effort to keep honey bees?
Yes. How much time and effort depends partly on how many hives a beekeepers has, and how far they have to travel to inspect them. Like looking after any animal responsibly, it takes skill, knowledge and care. It’s not hard though, and is endlessly fascinating. If you want to know more, and live in NE Hampshire, FBKA run a beekeeping course for beginners. (if you don’t live in NE hampshire, but elsewhere in the UK – search the BBKA for your nearest Beekeeping Association and ask them if they run courses).

In the spring and early summer months a hive needs to be inspected once week. Later in the summer and autumn every 2-3 weeks is usually OK. Over winter occasional checks to make sure they are still OK. Late summer is the time for honey extraction, varroa treatment and winter is for preparing equipment for the next season.

It isn’t a case of keeping bees in a hive, ignoring them, and then collecting some honey once a year – that way lies disaster!

Do you do presentations about beekeeping?
Yes (in the NE Hampshire area). A number of FBKA members are happy to do presentations about honeybees and beekeeping on a voluntary basis. As I also have a full time job I tend to do evening activities – typically to Scout and Guide groups; other members are happy to go into schools and other day activities. Get in touch and we discuss options and availability.

Can Honey be used to help mitigate a cough?
Yes! The NHS website has some suggestions on using honey to help with a cough.
Here’s the recipe they suggest:

  1. Squeeze half a lemon into a mug of boiled water.
  2. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of honey.
  3. Drink while still warm (don’t give hot drinks to small children).

There’s a BBC article or Guardian article on the same topic.