Another win for Virgin Honey

Late June was the Redcliffe Show at which the Northside Beekeepers Association played host at the honey court. 
Past president Les in all his glory with Peter

A few of the entries in the honey judging 

Queen bee Norma manning the store 

Heaps of members turned up to lend a hand and talk to the public all about bees.

It was one year ago that I attended my first ever Bee club meeting, and I vividly recall the excitement as members received their prizes from the 2015 Redcliffe Show. 

So I was excited to be one of those lucky people last night receiving my first prize in the Novice category.  

Even more exciting was that the honey was from a single Flow Hive frame from Madonna’s hive. I think that’s a first!


First prize blue ribbon Novice 

Next stop is The Ekka!!

First harvest from Flow Hive™ Frames (and a lesson in what not to do)

Last weekend was a significant milestone for Virgin Honey – the first harvest from the Flow Hive frames in Madonna’s hive.

Flow hive honey harvest

Shamus changing out Honey jars…in the pouring rain!

You see, when I first got my flow hive, I read my instructions for assembly and harvesting honey with great eagerness. However that was many moons ago (July I think) and I didn’t think to re-read the harvesting instructions again!

Fortunately for me, the bees and all involved, Nadine is an information sponge and we were soon able to rectify some of the more glaring issues. As you can see in the video below, we did lose a fair bit of honey in the process but certainly know now what not to do for next time.

The Flow Hive frames make harvesting honey fun and, when done correctly, very easy and stress free for the bees. People considering investing in Flow Hives still need to know all about bee management but the harvesting process is something you can get any novice involved in.

I think that the more people who know and care about the welfare of all bees, the better we our planet will be.

One of the wonderful benefits from being able to harvest this way, is the ability to get absolutely unadulterated honey which is what Virgin Honey is all about. It will take my bees visiting over 2 million flowers to gather just 450g of honey – a curious fact that never ceases to astound me! Honey will always contain a mix of nectars (unless your hive is in a mono-culture) but the Flow Hive allows you taste greater nuances since bees are fairly methodical in their storage of honey, you are likely to get a concentration of a particular flower’s nectar on a single frame.

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Shamus with two jars from 2 different Flow Hive Frames. Notice the colour variation.

Flow Hive honey will be a little bit of a rarity as I presently have only 3 frames (versus 28 standard) but I look forward to sharing a few jars of it with you soon.

Big thanks to Nadine from Feast Photography for the video and photos on the day.

Bee explosion in Madonna’s house

On the way home yesterday, I was talking with friend beekeeper Nadine from MadameHoneybee. Nadine also attends Bee School with me on Saturdays, and as a professional freelance photographer, she’s also able to occasionally attend the Wednesday class as well.  Nadine was making me jealous telling me that both last week and again today, the class encountered swarms which needed to be captured. All my bee school classmates would agree that swarm capturing is one of the things you need to know how to do before you graduate bee school.

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Bee buddy Nadine shooting the bees 🙂

The two swarms this week were from new nucs that have just been set up in the last month.

One had swarmed due to a severe infestation of Small Hive Beetle which had occurred in just 4 days (since the nuc had been checked on Saturday); the second seemed to be caused by simply too many bees in the nuc box.

The first swarm is more than a little alarming and the hives at John’s will all need to be closely monitored, but it was the second swarm that I was most interested in. You see, that swarm was from fellow schooler Scott’s nuc hive and Scott had collected his queens from Corrine, the Bee Lady the same day I received Madonna. Having both hives set up around the same time, I wondered whether I might have a similar problem at home.

So it was with a little trepidation that I approached my hive yesterday afternoon and noticed a lot of bees sitting outside the hive. Opening the lid was like opening a soda water bottle after shaking it. The bees just crawled out from everywhere and were in quite a buzz and seemed to just keep coming! A quick check on the foundation frames that were put in showed me that there is not a lot of storage room for them.

While not ideal given that by now it was already dark, I have put the new Flow Hive Lite box on top with a queen excluder.

This morning the bees seem a lot calmer with the new honey box on top. Honey may be coming sooner than I had planned! 

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