Viv and Steve Moll are local artisan beekeepers from Brightwell cum Sotwell. Brightwell Bees set spring honey and runny summer honey can be bought every week at the Saturday market. Viv and Steve tell us about their love for bees and beekeeping.
We started beekeeping in 2006, first with just a single hive in our garden, which we started by gathering a swarm of bees from the centre of Wallingford. Our love for the beekeeping craft saw hive numbers quickly grow to over seventy production hives, located at sites across South Oxfordshire and West Berkshire. All our hives are placed at delightful rural locations: in apple orchards, by wild flower meadows, in nature reserves and on woodland edges.
We are often asked “Why do you keep bees” …. The answer is simple: bees and beekeeping is so interesting. Honey bees are incredible creatures, it is so rewarding to work with them and help them along through the seasons. During the spring and summer months we are looking in each beehive on at least a weekly basis, and every hive is constantly changing. It is so satisfying to see bees foraging on blossom during warm sunny weather and returning to their hive loaded with nectar and pollen. And, no two beekeeping years are the same, with our changeable weather each year is different – it’s fascinating!
Our busiest time is during the honey harvesting season in mid-summer, when hours in the day are spent tending to our bees, and the evenings spent harvesting honey from the daily collection of honey ‘supers’ from the hives. The aroma of freshly harvested warm honey from the hive is beautiful – it still amazes us how the clever honey bee can produce such a wonderful food.
Honey bees are quite unique, as unlike many other species of bee they do not hibernate. Incredibly, bees will still fly from the hive on a mild sunny winter’s day. We have a picture on our website of bees feeding on Mahonia in our garden on New Year’s Day. They are truly special!
Viv & Steve