About Bees!

A little bit about our beekeeping based brand.

Background to Bees!

Our products are created by bees from our own colonies. Try our local raw honey and you will love it as many customers already do. Our bees forage the Cambridgeshire countryside collecting nectar to produce distinctive natural local raw honey in addition to pollinating crops and wild flowers. Depending on the time of year and the hive location our bees can produce honey of varying taste and texture.

Our queens are marked according to the year and are replaced on average every three years to promote healthy and productive colonies. British Standard National Hives made from cedar with open mesh floors for ventilation and as a preventative measure to combat varora are our hive of choice.

Why not view all products from our bees in our shop.

The Process of Making Honey

Browse through the tabs to see how we get your honey from flower to jar..

All of our Bees branded products originate from our own beeswax and honey collected from hives around the Cambridgeshire area. Try our locally produced raw honey and you will love it as many customers already do. Our bees forage the Cambridgeshire countryside pollinating crops and wild flowers collecting nectar to produce distinctive natural raw honey. Depending on the time of year and the hive location our bees can produce honey of varying taste and texture. Currently we operate from three sites, to learn more see our apiary section below for more information on each location. To learn more about the process of producing raw honey click through the tabs.

Inspection

The inspection is a vital part of beekeeping as it enables the beekeeper to get to know their bees, their productivity and their general health on a week by week basis.

The bees are inspected every week during the main beekeeping months to ensure that they are healthy, protected, to check that the queen is laying adequately, their are adequate stores of food and to prevent swarming.

An experienced beekeeper may only need a few minutes to identify any problems with a hive but it is suggested that all beekeepers keep some kind of record of inspections.

Inspections slow down towards winter with the main emphasis being on ensuring there are adequate stores of honey for the bees to survive winter and to protect the bees from the weather and pests such as wasps, mice and woodpeckers.

Collection

Collection can occur at any point throughout the beekeeping season depending on the available food for the bees. On occasion a frame or two of honey is all that is required, many beekeepers will just take such quantities during general inspections.

We make two main harvests one June/July and the second, which is our main harvest in August/September. Although this is all dependent on weather.

To collect the supers full of honey bee escapes are placed on crown boards to move the bees away from the frames which store the honey. Once the bees have moved away from the frames full of honey the supers can be lifted from the hive and taken to be extracted.

The supers or boxes full of honey is taken to our honey extraction facility ready for the next stage in the process extraction.

raw honey harvest

Extraction

All of the collected frames of honey are uncapped by using either a special uncapping tool or a knife. After both sides of a frame have been uncapped they are inserted into a honey extractor.

The extractor uses centrifugal force to spin the honey from the frames, as the frames are spun the honey is forced to our of the honeycomb onto the side of the extractor. After a period of time the honey settles to the bottom of the extractor, ready to be filtered.

Filtration

The settled honey is filtered through up to three strainers (600 micron (coarse), 400 micron (medium), and 200 micron (fine) filters). This removes any impurities such as small pieces of beeswax and propolis to ensure clarity in the final product.

The majority of our honey is only filtered through the coarse filter in order to remove as little pollen granules as possible. This keeps the honey full of nutritional value from the pollen granules, whilst ensuring its raw status.

The honey is then either stored in bulk or bottled into jars. At this stage we take some of the honey and add our soft set starter to create our very own soft set honey. You can find this available in our online shop alongside our raw honey.

Bottling

The honey is poured individually into 2oz, 8oz and 1lb jars and inspected for quality. Earthy Roots Ltd has a Five star Food Hygiene Rating so you can be assured that we work to the highest standards. The jars are then labelled ready for our customers to enjoy ready for sale on our online shop and at various events that we attend.

Swarms

Swarms are the natural way for honeybees to split and therefore create more colonies. It is a wonder of nature to see a hive start to swarm and mirroring the incredible sight of a swarm resting before finding a new home. Swarms in general are docile as the bees are at their most vulnerable holding enough honey to set up a new home.

Swarms will naturally move on when the scout bees have identified a adequate new home. Although, if you want advice on how to collect a swarm or know of a swarm that needs removing please contact us. We will either come and collect the swarm ourselves or contact a local beekeeper on your behalf, please use our contact form.

Cleaning & Preparation

This is the somewhat quiet period for beekeepers where the bees are prepared for winter. This involves reducing the hives and ensuring enough honey stores are left for the bees to feed off over the winter months. Mouse guards are attached and sugar syrup or fondant feed is given to those colonies which need it.

The remainder of the winter months are used to clean any equipment which has been used during the season and to construct any new equipment bought for the following season. This involves repairing and constructing frames and main hive parts and sterilising any previously used equipment.

+ Our Typical Year
Browse through the tabs to see how we get your honey from flower to jar..

All of our Bees branded products originate from our own beeswax and honey collected from hives around the Cambridgeshire area. Try our locally produced raw honey and you will love it as many customers already do. Our bees forage the Cambridgeshire countryside pollinating crops and wild flowers collecting nectar to produce distinctive natural raw honey. Depending on the time of year and the hive location our bees can produce honey of varying taste and texture. Currently we operate from three sites, to learn more see our apiary section below for more information on each location. To learn more about the process of producing raw honey click through the tabs.

+ Inspection

Inspection

The inspection is a vital part of beekeeping as it enables the beekeeper to get to know their bees, their productivity and their general health on a week by week basis.

The bees are inspected every week during the main beekeeping months to ensure that they are healthy, protected, to check that the queen is laying adequately, their are adequate stores of food and to prevent swarming.

An experienced beekeeper may only need a few minutes to identify any problems with a hive but it is suggested that all beekeepers keep some kind of record of inspections.

Inspections slow down towards winter with the main emphasis being on ensuring there are adequate stores of honey for the bees to survive winter and to protect the bees from the weather and pests such as wasps, mice and woodpeckers.

+ Collection

Collection

Collection can occur at any point throughout the beekeeping season depending on the available food for the bees. On occasion a frame or two of honey is all that is required, many beekeepers will just take such quantities during general inspections.

We make two main harvests one June/July and the second, which is our main harvest in August/September. Although this is all dependent on weather.

To collect the supers full of honey bee escapes are placed on crown boards to move the bees away from the frames which store the honey. Once the bees have moved away from the frames full of honey the supers can be lifted from the hive and taken to be extracted.

The supers or boxes full of honey is taken to our honey extraction facility ready for the next stage in the process extraction.

raw honey harvest
+ Extraction

Extraction

All of the collected frames of honey are uncapped by using either a special uncapping tool or a knife. After both sides of a frame have been uncapped they are inserted into a honey extractor.

The extractor uses centrifugal force to spin the honey from the frames, as the frames are spun the honey is forced to our of the honeycomb onto the side of the extractor. After a period of time the honey settles to the bottom of the extractor, ready to be filtered.

+ Filtration

Filtration

The settled honey is filtered through up to three strainers (600 micron (coarse), 400 micron (medium), and 200 micron (fine) filters). This removes any impurities such as small pieces of beeswax and propolis to ensure clarity in the final product.

The majority of our honey is only filtered through the coarse filter in order to remove as little pollen granules as possible. This keeps the honey full of nutritional value from the pollen granules, whilst ensuring its raw status.

The honey is then either stored in bulk or bottled into jars. At this stage we take some of the honey and add our soft set starter to create our very own soft set honey. You can find this available in our online shop alongside our raw honey.

+ Bottling

Bottling

The honey is poured individually into 2oz, 8oz and 1lb jars and inspected for quality. Earthy Roots Ltd has a Five star Food Hygiene Rating so you can be assured that we work to the highest standards. The jars are then labelled ready for our customers to enjoy ready for sale on our online shop and at various events that we attend.

+ Swarms

Swarms

Swarms are the natural way for honeybees to split and therefore create more colonies. It is a wonder of nature to see a hive start to swarm and mirroring the incredible sight of a swarm resting before finding a new home. Swarms in general are docile as the bees are at their most vulnerable holding enough honey to set up a new home.

Swarms will naturally move on when the scout bees have identified a adequate new home. Although, if you want advice on how to collect a swarm or know of a swarm that needs removing please contact us. We will either come and collect the swarm ourselves or contact a local beekeeper on your behalf, please use our contact form.

+ Maintenance

Cleaning & Preparation

This is the somewhat quiet period for beekeepers where the bees are prepared for winter. This involves reducing the hives and ensuring enough honey stores are left for the bees to feed off over the winter months. Mouse guards are attached and sugar syrup or fondant feed is given to those colonies which need it.

The remainder of the winter months are used to clean any equipment which has been used during the season and to construct any new equipment bought for the following season. This involves repairing and constructing frames and main hive parts and sterilising any previously used equipment.

Our Beekeeping Story

The story about how beekeeping became a large part of our lives, started in an accidental meeting with two beekeepers. The meeting was arranged to collect a compost bin that they were offering for free to a good home. The compost bin was loaded into the car and the question was asked ‘Do you like bees?’

Over a decade later, it is still an exciting, fulfilling yet unpredictable occupation. Keeping bees is truly unique experience allowing us to observe and understand nature from a new perspective. opening our eyes to the importance of bees and how many crops rely on the humble insect. We are proud to be beekeepers and are passionate about the subject so feel honored to look after the bees. It is our belief that bees should be left with ample supplies of honey through the winter months

We believe that bees are essential to a sustainable future.
We believe in a sustainable approach to business.
We believe in creating bee loving habitats and supporting the environment.

Our Apiaries

The Glatton Apiary

The apiary is situated just outside the village of Glatton near Peterborough. The fields are currently used for grazing sheep. It has an abundance of wild flowers due to the neighbours previously using their field for the production of cut flowers for sale. There is also a huge diversity in types of blackberries, sloes as well as wild roses that grow amongst the hedgerows of the surrounding fields. Due to the use of the land for sheep, thistles are allowed to grow and flower, along with various different types of nettle, buttercups and daisies.

Oil seed rape which flowers early in the season is the predominant crop that the bees forage from at this site. The honey from this nectar flow is harvested after the last flowers are beginning to turn to seed and produces a sweet tasting honey which sets rapidly. Following this, the main nectar flow comes from blackberries, thistles and clover as well as wild flowers and trees within the surrounding area, this secondary harvest produces a light honey with floral notes.

Glatton was our first site and has developed into our main bee breeding site. We split colonies and produce nucleus (small five and six framed hives) in order to increase the number of bees and subsequently hives and to maintain stock for winter loses.

The Water Newton Apiary

Water Newton is a village and civil parish in Cambridgeshire, England. The village lies approximately 5 miles (8 km) west of Peterborough and sits by the side of the river Nene on the edge of the Ferry Meadows Country Park. Water Newton has a diverse history dating back to Roman times and was previously a Roman fortified garrison town known as Durobrivae.

The main nectar flow comes from wildflowers and trees around the local area which includes Ferry Meadows part of Nene Park, which produces a delicate floral and usually runny honey.

The Old Weston Apiary

Old Weston Garden Farm is a small holding focusing on non-intensive methods using people-power rather than heavy machinery. Located just outside the village of Old Weston, west of Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, England. The bees are located on the edge of the smallholding in a young woodland planted with UK native trees species.

You can buy the honey produced from this quaint smallholding from our online shop or direct from the Old Weston Garden Farm shop. Our bees forage from a range of vegetable and fruit plants from raspberries to pumpkins the garden farm also grows many companion plants which encourage different types of pollinators including marigolds and borage.

+ Glatton
The Glatton Apiary

The apiary is situated just outside the village of Glatton near Peterborough. The fields are currently used for grazing sheep. It has an abundance of wild flowers due to the neighbours previously using their field for the production of cut flowers for sale. There is also a huge diversity in types of blackberries, sloes as well as wild roses that grow amongst the hedgerows of the surrounding fields. Due to the use of the land for sheep, thistles are allowed to grow and flower, along with various different types of nettle, buttercups and daisies.

Oil seed rape which flowers early in the season is the predominant crop that the bees forage from at this site. The honey from this nectar flow is harvested after the last flowers are beginning to turn to seed and produces a sweet tasting honey which sets rapidly. Following this, the main nectar flow comes from blackberries, thistles and clover as well as wild flowers and trees within the surrounding area, this secondary harvest produces a light honey with floral notes.

Glatton was our first site and has developed into our main bee breeding site. We split colonies and produce nucleus (small five and six framed hives) in order to increase the number of bees and subsequently hives and to maintain stock for winter loses.

+ Water Newton
The Water Newton Apiary

Water Newton is a village and civil parish in Cambridgeshire, England. The village lies approximately 5 miles (8 km) west of Peterborough and sits by the side of the river Nene on the edge of the Ferry Meadows Country Park. Water Newton has a diverse history dating back to Roman times and was previously a Roman fortified garrison town known as Durobrivae.

The main nectar flow comes from wildflowers and trees around the local area which includes Ferry Meadows part of Nene Park, which produces a delicate floral and usually runny honey.

+ Old Weston
The Old Weston Apiary

Old Weston Garden Farm is a small holding focusing on non-intensive methods using people-power rather than heavy machinery. Located just outside the village of Old Weston, west of Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, England. The bees are located on the edge of the smallholding in a young woodland planted with UK native trees species.

You can buy the honey produced from this quaint smallholding from our online shop or direct from the Old Weston Garden Farm shop. Our bees forage from a range of vegetable and fruit plants from raspberries to pumpkins the garden farm also grows many companion plants which encourage different types of pollinators including marigolds and borage.

A Beekeeping Year

timeline_pre_loader
October - December

Wax Production

 

Always a messy experience even when all precautions are put in place. It is a satisfying moment taking freshly set wax bars from moulds

Cleaning and preparing for the following season

An essential task for any beekeeper the yearly equipment clean and the time for making or repairing any parts needed for the upcoming season. There are always parts that will need cleaning, the wax is scraped off and processed and the hive parts are singed using a blow torch. This process is carried out to ensure that diseases are not passed on from one apiary or colony to the next.

January - February

Colonies start increasing in size from about 10,000

Cleaning and preparation for the season ahead

March

As the temperature warms ideally 14 degrees

First apiary inspections of the year

April

Sighting of flowering currant

Temperatures hitting 17 degrees

First major inspections of the year

Colonies are reaching around 20,000 in number

May - June

Weekly inspections to monitor possible swarming

The rape seed honey flow

July

Colonies reach their maximum size of around 60,000

The main summer honey flow

August - September

End of season - Marked by a dramatic reduction in pollen and nectar availability

Our main honey harvest

Reflection and product development time

This is a good time to think about what is next collect your thoughts. Although probably not for too long as it is actually the beginning of the beekeeping year.

Learn More About Our Brands

Earthy Roots

Earthy Roots Ltd. is a natural food and cosmetics manufacturer located in Peterborough, UK. We currently have hives located at three different sites across Cambridgeshire, spanning from Peterborough to Huntingdon.

Balms

This is our range of natural cosmetic products, initially developed under the bees brand we wanted to develop a range of 100% Natural Beeswax Lip Balms. This soon expanded to cover other ranges such as body bars and massage bars.

Jars

COMING SOON!

This is our range of preserves, chutneys, jams and pickles. Developed in house with natural ingredients. We will be launching our Jars products very soon, keep updated on our social media.