Omlet Newsletter August 7th 2009
Introducing the beehaus – giving bees their buzz back!
You may have got the hint from the last couple of newsletters that Omlet were working on something new and rather special. The Independent on Sunday certainly gave a big clue a couple of weekends ago when they
broke the story that a new product was on the way.
And on Wednesday the 5^th of August there really was a real buzz in the air as the world found out what that new product was. We are very pleased and excited to introduce the beehaus – a contemporary beehive that is giving bees their buzz back.
Beehaus – the brilliant new beehive from Omlet
With all these chimney’s around rooftop beekeepers always have a smoker to hand.
The Buzz about Bees
You may never have thought of keeping bees before, but a colony of bees makes a wonderful addition to your garden. They are interesting to keep, make honey and provide an invaluable service pollinating plants. In fact, it’s estimated there are around 1 trillion bees in the world pollinating at any one time, which is essential for us to grow food and survive. That may sound like a lot of bees but they are in danger and their numbers are in decline. By keeping bees in your back garden you will be helping with their survival and helping the environment. It is a fun hobby too! With as many as 60,000 of your new pets though you may struggle to name them all!
You don’t have to live in the countryside to keep bees, they will live quite happily in urban gardens and rooftops. And urban honey has a delicious flavour from the wide variety of plants available. Of course you can keep bees in the country, where they can collect nectar from crops, orchards and wild flowers.
There is nothing better than spreading honey from your own bees on piping hot toast. So if this sounds tempting Omlet can help you get started keeping bees and give you all the support and advice you need.
Introducing the Beehaus
The beehaus is a safe, modern home specially designed for keeping bees in your garden or rooftop. Like the eglu It has triple layer insulation to help the bees maintain a constant temperature in the brood nest and its plastic surfaces are quick and easy to clean, ensuring a hygenic home for your bees.
The beehaus is twice as big as a normal hive and has an entrance at both ends so you can divide the hive and start a second colony without having to buy a second hive, but despite the size it is light weight and easy to lift.
An ideal spot for the beehaus is in a quiet spot, against a hedge or fence and away from frequently used paths. As bees normally fly above head height at about 5m above the ground, placing the beehaus a couple of meters in front of a hedge or fence will encourage your bees to reach this height quickly, which is good if you have neighbours. And don’t worry, bees will not bother other pets such as cats, dogs and chickens.
Bees mean Honey
And the bit we know you waiting to hear about…the honey! For living in the fabulous beehaus you will be repaid with an average of 50 jars of the sweet stuff each year. Bees work hard to make their honey, and it tastes so much better than the type you can buy in the supermarket.
Bees collect nectar from flowers in the spring and summer. To fill a single jar of honey your bees will need to make over 20,000 journeys! They then turn the nectar into honey by reducing the water content and cap the stored honey with wax ready for when they need it in the winter. Because of the advantages of living in a beehive, your bees will store more honey than they need. You can harvest the extra honey in the autumn.
The Easy Beesy way to Start
You can order your beehaus complete with everything you need to get started, including a starter colony of 10,000 bees. The beehaus makes beekeeping easy for beginners…the only tricky part is deciding which colour to go for, and with a choice of five it could take some time.
There are two options: The beehaus comes with all the parts you’ll need to get you set up and ready to enjoy this new experience plus jars for collecting your very own, delicious honey; the beehaus starter kit comes complete with the tools you will need if you are a beginner, including a full size beesuit for protection.
To find out more or to order a beehaus click here
Summer fete season is nearly over and I no longer have to hide every time there is a knock at the door, ducking under the window, to avoid raffle ticket sellers.
The rain has been relentless for the past few weeks and I have persuaded Barbara that the chickens do not need water wings! Their run is in the corner of the garden and is quite well protected from the elements by a large privet hedge. They are generally not keen on the rain, but one of them insists on drinking the drips that fall on the run! She is daft as a brush, but funny to watch.
They are still laying, but egg production has dropped slightly. With rain clouds looming, it is no wonder they aren’t laying as well but wiith the early rising sun and lighter evenings they are eating more and we are topping up their feeders every day. With the odd half a cabbage and plenty of spinach from the veggie garden they never go without.
Barbara insists on having flowers in the veggie garden. I have always used marigolds to ward off whitefly around my tomatoes, but having lots of different flowers dotted around helps attract bees to the veg crops. They do a fantastic job at pollinating the veggies. So here is a honey recipe in honour of the humble honey bee …
Honey Ice Cream
1 medium egg
4 egg yolks
110g honey, (plus extra for drizzling)
284ml double cream
30g toasted flaked almonds
1) Whip the cream until it is thick and set aside.
2) Beat the honey, egg and yolks in a bowl over simmering water, until the mixture is pale and thickened. It should treble/quadruple in volume.
3) Add to the cream and fold in gently.
4) Line a loaf tin with cling film, pour in the mixture and freeze overnight.
5) When ready to serve, remove from the tin and cut into slices. Drizzle with runny honey and flaked almonds…..Enjoy!
Homemade honey ice cream in honour of the humble honey bee.
Bees are a gardeners’ friend. Without them it would be really hard work to grow any fruit or vegetables in your garden. They are natures’ best pollinators and we need to help them.
Due to the reduction in natural habitats such as hedgerows and meadows and the over usage of pesticides wild flowers are becoming scarce and so are our native bees.
If you have plants and flowers in your garden you can really help. Bees need flowers. The nectar feeds the adults and the pollen feeds their young.
It does make a difference, however what flowers you grow depends on how much nectar and pollen they can reach.
The two best types of flowers to grow are single petal varieties such as simple wild roses, hawthorn and crab apple, and tubular petal plants such as foxgloves, snapdragons, penstemons and heathers.
More complicated petal varieties obstruct the bees access to the flower’s stamen.
Ideally, if you have room, it’s best to grow a variety of flowers, as different species of bee have different length tongues so more flowers types encourages more bee varieties. Traditional cottage planting is definitely the best way to go and it needs to be an all year round affair. For example:
Spring – bluebells, heather and fruit blossoms.
Summer – alliums, herb and vegetable flowers, foxgloves, honeysuckle, poppies, laburnum and lupins.
Late Summer / Autumn – Brambles, lavender, cornflowers, buddleia, snapdragons and sunflowers.
The trick is to grow what you like, pretty abundant flowers with lots of perfume are magnetic to bees. You can buy seed packets with a mixture of wild flower seeds to sow into your lawn to grow a mini meadow.
Whether you have a window box or acres of land please include some flowering plants even if it’s just a few flowering herbs which are edible to us and attractive to bees.
If we all make an effort we can help increase our healthy bee numbers.
Course Host of the week
Where and with who do you live? I live in Norwich with Jay and our 3 children, Tamar (4), Nathanael (2) and Eliana (10 months) and our dog Maple
Your occupation: I’m a Primary School teacher. I currently teach 6 and 7 year olds.
What pets do you have? We have a 4 year old trail hound and 57, 347 bees.
What is your favourite season? Summer, I like the sun!
What would you choose as your last supper? Toad in the hole.
What is the most daring thing you have ever done? Riding my 5ft high unicycle to the park with my kids.
Who would play you in the movie of your life? Tom Hanks.
What song do you most like dancing to? Mission Impossible theme tune.
About Your Bees
How long have you been keeping bees? Two seasons.
How many bee hives do you have? We currently have two full hives.
What plants in your garden do your bees like most? Lavender.
How much honey have you had so far? This season I’ve collected 70 jars! Mostly from one hive.
What’s been the most surprising thing about keeping bees? How they can seem to be in different moods at different times of day and season.
What advice would you give to anyone that is considering beekeeping? Do it! Don’t expect to understand them straight away, I’m learning new things about them every day.
Jonathon is proud to bee our first beekeeper of the month
Omlet online shop
Here is just a small selection, go online to see the full range.
Double Oven Glove – Busy Bumble Bee
Baking doesn’t have to be a chore with this double oven glove. The special heat protection will keep skin safe from burns and the towelling lining is lovely and soft on hands. If that isn’t enough the delightful bumble bee print should make every honey happy while cooking the dinner. Made from 100% cotton and machine washable.
Mug Bee Green
This mug makes a great little gift for anyone that likes living the green life. Designed by Mary Fellows, it is modern and stylish but cute and quaint enough for the country kitchen. With cartoon bees, green hearts and the words ‘bee green’ it makes a quirky mug to add to the collection. Made from bone china.
Honey – Nature’s Wonder Ingredient
You’re probably most familiar with honey as being something sweet you spread on your toast for breakfast. But did you know it can also be used to treat sunburn, condition hair and make drawer fresheners?
Honey has been used since 7000BCE and it still remains to be a fascinating and useful ingredient. There are many myths and superstitions surrounding honey, and it is known as a wonder ingredient. In the the past it has been used as a form of currency and it has been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years, so it’s pretty special for a product of nature.
This book will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about honey and more. With 100 ways to use it, from curing headaches, to moisturising skin, to making a delicious cake, this is the ultimate source of information. Step by step instructions and beautiful photographs make this a wonderful book to own.
How interesting is a piece of string? Not very, is the general answer, unless of course you look at it in a different light, or in fact under the light of a microscope. Now, we all remember those boring science lessons that involved taking it in turns to look at something through a clumsy, cumbersome microscope. But technology has advanced and things have got so much cooler. You don’t need to be a science professor to use this, and trust us it is a lot of fun. So how interesting it a piece of string? You’d be surprised!
See tiny things magnified to 200x their size and be amazed! And you don’t have to squint through a lens to see because your discoveries are displayed on your computer screen, in front of your eyes. Take photos of the details you see, film videos of teenie creatures going about their life and make mini documentaries like you’re David Attenborough, all at the click of a mouse. You can use this USB microscope to look at insects, food, plants, fabric…whatever takes your fancy. It is fascinating! It is also a particularly useful gadget for beekeepers, to check bees for disease.