Local beekeeper, John Wilson, tells me that his bees have produced a good crop of honey this year, despite the vagaries of the spring weather. His hives are near the Swale and his bees have access to a wide range of crops, field margins, mature woodland, wild areas and gardens. Tree flowers are a good source of food for bees, starting with early flowering willow, sycamore, fruit trees and finishing with lime in late summer. In addition, bees also work rape, beans and wild flowers including the important clover and dandelion. A major source of pollen and nectar is the invasive Himalayan Balsam, which is prolific along the banks of the Swale from July to October.
Phil Braithwaite (another local bee-keeper and nurseryman) takes his hives to Masham Moor for heather honey, which he has done for decades. The ideal summer weather has produced an excellent crop this year.