advise on heather

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newportbuzz 

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hi i am fairly new to beekeeping with 3 hives and 10 odd books under my belt also the beginers course passed.
i would like to get some heather honey next year.
i have read lots of snipits of heather honey management but i am looking to buy a book that is more specific. ie colony size, build up, types of moors, stimulative feeding, time of year to be out there for.

basicly i am looking for a book to teach me how to manage my bees with the sole aim of gettin a heather honey crop.

any help would be kindly apreciated
 

Black Comb 

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A book I like a lot and which includes a fair amount of advice on heather is "Sixty Years with Bees" by Donald Sims.

I also have a quite old book which has some useful information, "Bees to the Heather" by Stanley B. Whitehead.
 

Poly Hive 

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There is a lot of faff written about Heather.

Stripped down here you are.

FORGET the 12th AUGUST

Get the hives on the moor by, note please BY, the third week in July.

The moor. Preferably a managed grouse moor. Lots of young heather gives more honey.

Location. Preferably in bracken. (denotes shelter)

Colony. As strong as you can get it. Unite if you have to. Why? Well get up to the moor early one morning and observe the spiders webs..... The losses of workers is huge.

There is lots written about moving brood around and so on and so forth, and no I never did... LOL

To max your income, and I pretty much always think commercially, consider putting at least three to four cut comb foundations in each super. Arguably Heather Honey in comb is the ultimate product of the craft.

Pray for some good weather.

That's it really. Apart from how are you going to extract it? Now that needs thought too.

Extractor needs to be tangential, and I could sell you a 6 x swing basket machine... LOL

As you will know Heather is thixotropic and needs agitation to make it a liquid and that again needs thought. A hand needler for a small amount works well enough. For lager amounts you really need a needler machine but sadly they cost £2k+

I think that has saved you a book purchase. Any q's ask on the thread or pm.

PH
 

newportbuzz 

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wow thanks ph
to be honest ill still proberly buy books on the subject but i love to read.
i always wondered why you had to have a extremely strong colony but the spiders really does explain it.
with regards a managed moor. we dont have many of them in south ireland.
do you think i will still get a reasonable harvest from a unmanaged moor. there are sheep freely roaming on the site i am thinking about"fencing is no problem(idiots might be)". altho there is another site that has less sheep but more diverse plants.
the honey would be for myself so i am not bothered if its mixed or about extracting as long as i get a years worth of honey and dont harm my bees ill be happy.
 

Poly Hive 

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The classic and really the only way to test a site is to umm... put bees on it for at least three years unless there is a very obvious reason for abandoning.

Unmanaged heather will not yield anything like a proper grouse moor.

Put it like this. But bear in mind I am commercially minded.

If I had to move the bees another fifty miles for a "proper" heather moor I would not hesitate. After all I want the crop.

Real Heather Honey is from the Ling. anything else is "Honey from the Heather Moor" and in the UK is considered to be a blossom crop. which is to say it is general and not varietal.

PH
 

drstitson 

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heather

why don't you ask her directly by PM????


"There is a lot of faff written about Heather. Stripped down here you are."

Sure she'll appreciate that!!!!!
 

Poly Hive 

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No need to make comments like that. She is a lovely lady and a personal friend of ours.

The question was answered fairly.

PH
 

newportbuzz 

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The classic and really the only way to test a site is to umm... put bees on it for at least three years unless there is a very obvious reason for abandoning.

Unmanaged heather will not yield anything like a proper grouse moor.

Put it like this. But bear in mind I am commercially minded.

If I had to move the bees another fifty miles for a "proper" heather moor I would not hesitate. After all I want the crop.

Real Heather Honey is from the Ling. anything else is "Honey from the Heather Moor" and in the UK is considered to be a blossom crop. which is to say it is general and not varietal.

PH
i think it would be a bit more than a 50 mile journey i think id have to cross the irish sea.
it is predominatly Ling heather, bell heather and cross-leaved that grow on the site i am thinking of. so it would definatly be a mixed honey. it wont be black anyway
 

drstitson 

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heather

"The question was answered fairly"

poly - it WAS a great answer.

had already considered a flippant comment about pm-ing her before anyone else had posted and then your "freudian slip" just galvanised me into action.

keep up the good work.
 

mbc 

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I once read about German beekeepers herding flocks of sheep through the moors to destroy many of the spider webs just pryor to moving their bees in.
 

drstitson 

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shame we have no heather locally as we do still have good old fashioned transhumanance (except the shepherds have mobile phones as well as donkeys and huge herds of sheep!)
 

peterbees 

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I just love moving bees to the heather. I started working the heather in my second year in 1978, and I have only missed three years since then. Whitehead's book Bees to the Heather is on sale from two booksellers at abebooks.co.uk William Hamilton's Art of Beekeeping is also very useful on heather and was my favourite bee book when I started with bees. Also available from abebooks
I bought an old MG heather honey press by putting a wanted ad in B**Craft magazine. Got several replies. Heather honey makes a superb blend mixed with oil seed rape honey, two buckets rape to one bucket heather. It really is the prince of honeys.
 

newportbuzz 

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I just love moving bees to the heather. I started working the heather in my second year in 1978, and I have only missed three years since then. Whitehead's book Bees to the Heather is on sale from two booksellers at abebooks.co.uk William Hamilton's Art of Beekeeping is also very useful on heather and was my favourite bee book when I started with bees. Also available from abebooks
I bought an old MG heather honey press by putting a wanted ad in B**Craft magazine. Got several replies. Heather honey makes a superb blend mixed with oil seed rape honey, two buckets rape to one bucket heather. It really is the prince of honeys.
amazon has left the building WOW they have a serious amount of books. thanks for the post. the link has helped imensly
 

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