Exclusive Advice with Beekeeper Kasper

For most of us, the honey flow ends at this time of year and we should start preparing our bees for winter. In Devon, most of the honey stopped coming in by the end of July, so we are busy taking honey off at the National Bee Supplies Apiary.

Hemp-agrimony supplying bees in late summer pollen and nectar

August is the time to take your summer honey off. We use clearing boards to clear the bees out of the honey supers. I add the clearing boards in the morning and go back to the hive after at least 24 hours to brush the few remaining bees off the combs and take the boxes with honey inside for extraction. After spinning all the honey out, I put the sticky frames back on the hives above the cover board (with the hole in the cover board open) so the bees can access these supers and dry them out before I put them away for the winter. I am not extracting any honey from my brood chambers – this is all left for the bees to live on.

Don’t miss out tutorial on extracting honey:

Once the honey is off the hive, I start treating the bees for varroa with a summer treatment. We rotate our treatments every year or two to try and prevent resistance from building up in the varroa mites. Each varroa treatment has clear instructions on how to use them and for how long. It is important not to leave the treatment for too long or too short a time in the hives.

Creeping Thistle.

Wasp Control

We do seem to have an awful lot of wasps around the NBS apiary this summer. Recently, they are trying to get into the hives and rob the honey. As with every creature, they do have their place in the ecosystem and we don’t like to kill them, but if there are hundreds of them flying around the hives, we hang wasp traps in the apiary to reduce their numbers. Make sure you reduce your entrances so they are easy for the bees to defend from wasps and other robbing bees. Wasps can also chew holes in the poly hives if they cannot enter through the entrance, so be mindful of this. You can learn about the wasp traps we offer in our latest YouTube video.

August Honey Recipe by Gill Meller:

I’ve always loved honey with cheese. It has the same sweet with salty appeal that you get with any good cheese served with chutney, but I find this balance a little more delicate. This dish falls somewhere between a cheese course and a pudding the pears add a wonderful freshness and compliment all the other flavours.

Poached Pears with Honey, Thyme and Blue Cheese

Author: Gill Meller


  •  2 pears such as Conference or Comice not over ripe
  • 3 -4 Tbs of Runny honey
  • 4 Sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 150 - 200g of good blue cheese such as Exmoor Blue or Beenligh Blue
  • 500ml of apple juice
  • 50g of unrefined caster sugar
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • 4 black peppercorns


  • Peel the pears then cut them into quarters from top to bottom. Place in a pan into which they fit fairly snugly. Pour over the apple juice, add the sugar and spices, bring gently to the simmer, carefully stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Simmer until the pears are tender but not too soft. The time will depend on their ripeness: from 5 minutes to about 20.
  • Remove the pears from the poaching liquor and allow to cool.
  • To serve
    Arrange 2 pieces of pear next to a wedge of your favourite blue cheese. Trickle generously with runny honey and sprinkle with thyme leaves

Order Gill’s Time Cookbook for more recipes or follow @gill.meller on Instagram.

Photography: Andrew Montgomery


Header image by Ailia Ashworth