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Busy Bees, Honey Making at The Talbot

18th April 2019

In 2018, our general manager, David completed a bee-keeping course with a view to keeping bees on-site – that happened and now we have our own honey!

This was the first step of our sustainability project at The Talbot, and ties in nicely with our food-focussed campaign to grow-our-own as much as possible, as well as using the best local suppliers from in and around Malton and Yorkshire.

David was very excited about the project and even proclaimed that if the bees were a success, then the next step would be to get chickens, then a pig, and maybe even a goat!  David has been quite busy with our refurbishment, so we don’t have any new animals just yet!

To get ready for our bees, David attended “An Introduction to Beekeeping”, a training course led by the Ryedale Beekeepers Association.  The course lasted for 6 sessions, starting with an “Introduction to Bees”, some history about beekeeping, and the equipment required. As the course progressed, David learned about colony management, colony changes throughout the year, and how to prevent swarming (when a new queen bee takes the worker bees to a new home). Finally, the second-to last session detailed honey extraction, and the last session was a practical session showing the group how to make up frames, lighting smokers, and tasting the honey.

After graduation, we bought and assembled our own hive (it took almost a full day to do, including some help from David’s daughter, Charlotte!), and the next step was to introduce a swarm of bees to their new home!

When the bees arrived, they proved to be some of the more particular guests that we’ve welcomed to the hotel:  They need to be near a fresh water source (but nowhere too wet), they need to be in the shade (but not under a tree), and even if we adhere to all of these rules there is still a chance that they’ll swarm and leave if they don’t like their new accommodation.

Now, we are almost a year in and the bees are happy – they have produced enough honey for us to serve on the breakfast buffet, and to use in some of our baking, plus they’re a fantastic talking point for our guests!

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