We consider queen breeding the core of our work and the most crucial aspect on which the outcome of honey production depends. During each season we therefore produce several royal cells from F0 tested queens, which we carefully select every year from our international breeder colleagues of the subspecies Carnica and Buckfast.
Carnica is a vigorous type of bee known since the early 1940s, they are native to the Eastern Alpine arc.
Buckfast is a subspecies recently developed through the work of bee technicians from Northern Europe, who have managed to stabilise, after a long course of genetical crossing, the typical characters of this bee: industriousness and tameness.
In the production of queen bees quality and quantity are both necessary to
cover our yearly need and to ensure a surplus of royal cells, virgins, and mated
queen bees to be sold during the season.
The mating of our queens is done in Dadant-Blatt hives on 6 frames where the
royal cells are introduced. Here we can better observe the outcomes of the mating, the
productivity of the queen and the family, resistance to climatic adversities and
Pathologies. This allows us to work pleasantly with tame bees, unstressed and healthy.
- HONEY -
In April the productive season for our bees begins. The first
bloomings in early Spring are Dandelions, Cherry trees, Prunus and other fruit bearing
trees. These sources of nectar are precious although often not enough to be extracted, and so they are left as provisions for the well-being of the families.
Towards the end of the month, the blooming of Black Locust is approaching,
making the families frenetic in their activities.
This plant is very rich in nectar and really loved by our insects. We are now harvesting the first honey of the year, if the season is so generous to permit it.
We are thrilled to collect the first honey supers full of Acacia honey, by the end of May the
colonies have reached their maximum expansion.
By mid-June an intense balsamic odour pervades the remaining linden
population in the woods of lower Valsesia (Piedmont Alps). We now check the hives before adding honey supers on them and wishing the
bees a fruitful harvest.
Tillia Cordata (Linden) is a native plant of the local forest
from which honey of premium quality is made, with a scent of floral infusion and a characteristic amber color. Linden may bloom together with the thousand flowers.
In July, when the branches of the chestnut trees seem to explode with
yellow pollen, the bees are incredulous in front of such abundance and are ready to stock the excess for an eventual future shortage. The sight of pollen is a certain
announcement of the near arrival of the dark bitter nectar.
Castanea Sativa (Chestnut) is widespread in the area surrounding the Lake Orta and Lake Maggiore; unique in its genre gives abundant fruits its specific flavor comes back in the peculiar taste of its honey.
Between July and August some minor crops of honeydews and thousand flowers
are still possible to harvest, according to the weather conditions of the period. Honeydews are infestations of aphids or Metcalfa Pruinosa in the hills area.
* Honeydew and late Thousand flowers
The Thousand flowers of late summer made in upper Valsesia is modest
in quantity but cherished for its organoleptic qualities.
* Varroa destructor
Throughout the seasonal checks to the hives treatments
against Varroa Destructor are performed far from the blooming, so that the Honey won’t be
damaged. Varroa is a parasite of the asian bees that has been imported from Java
and is now present in almost all the world. This parasite is harmful but it can be
contained through by adopting rigorous procedures and using oxalic acid as the only active
substance – a solution that benefits the bees, as they tolerate this organic acid well.
In September the hives are brought in their winter stations, here they might be so
lucky as to find some Ivy and some Reynutria Japonica flowers, these blooming
Are a privilege left to our insects.
We now leave the “girls” to their winter rest, we will meet them again for a last
farewell to the remaining Varroa before the end of the year – this is the best
moment to defeat them in view of the next fruitful season approaching.
- HONEY EXTRACTION -
The nectar gathered in the numerous flights on the flowers by the bees, is stored in
the nest, only when this is saturated the honey supers are placed on the main body
separated by a queen excluder. This allows us to collect only the honey and not the
larvae and the queen.
The honeycombs are simply brushed from the bees with an hair brush. The piled
supers are divided by place and kinds of honey to be later brought to the optimal
percentage of humidity for preservation, through a controlled humidity room that
will lower the percentage of water to 16-17 percent.
The extraction of the honey from the combs happens in three phases:
The uncapping of the honeycombs is done
* Uncapping the honeycombs from their wax caps is done manually with forks and stainless steel knives, without employing machines or heat that could compromise the taste;
* extraction of the honey from the combs through the honey extractor, that uses
centrifugal force to empty the cells;
* filtering from the residues of wax with inox\PET filters. Transfer of the honey
into the ripener happens by natural fall, not using mechanical pumps that alter the texture of the honey.
After completing the ripening process in the dark for at least 40 days, we are ready to pour the honey in jars, label and distribute it.