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Saturday, 12 September 2009

Bees on the ivy

Three photos taken today whilst Mrs S was collecting sloes for her gin. Normally sloshes it back with the merest hint of tonic, but she wants to make some Christmas presents. Bottle of Sloe Gin, Jar of Honey, pound of plum jam - what's not to like?

The first is of a bee with a lorra lorra pollen. Note the two big arange stripes on the abdomen - I think that makes her an italian strain. Well, she was flapping her wings a lot and nipping from flower to flower, so I think that must be right.

The second is a rather venerable old worker - she has lost most of her hair. Her black abdomen marks her out as an English strain. She worked the same flower head for about five minutes with infinite patience.

Third one has rather odd markings - the orange band doesn't go right across.

If you have a chance, go an sniff some ivy flowers. You'll be surprised by the rank smell - a bit like a wet bed full of bedbugs (older readers only perhaps). That's what the honey smells like.

My new friends C and L gave me a pot of ivy honey and I made some experimental flapjack for sale at the honey show last week (sorry no photos - I was in the catering tent all day). I thought the flapjack was disgusting, but it all sold, even with a health warning.

And I sold four jars of honey (half-pounders) at £3 a pop. Can't be bad.


  1. Sloe gin for Christmas presents? Do you mean for Christmas2010? - I had always heard it takes 9months+ to infuse properly. I tried some a few years back and left it for that long and it was lovely. Mind you, I'd found as many different recepies as I'd found recepies. Does your wife reckon she can get a good result in just a few months? And yes, the combo present of sloe gin, honey and jam does sounds wonderful.

  2. Mmm, well, she's the expert. Now you mention it, there is SLoe Gin in the cupboard from previous years. I'll need to check.

    Go sniff the ivy flowers! Are your bees on it yet? Go sniff the hive :-) You should be able to smell it.


  3. the 3rd picture looks like a dronefly ( to me. Not quite a bee.

    Peter S.

  4. Oooh, er. A drone fly? Dunno. It looked like a bee at the time. Anyone else know? As I said in the blog, the markings were a bit different.

    But if I can't tell the difference between a fly and a bee, I may be in trouble :-(

  5. Mmm, I think Peter Anonymous is right. Embarrassed, moi?

  6. Yes it was a dronefly, the biggest giveaway is the single set of wings and the eyes are a different shape. Nice photo though and nice blog too.


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