October 2019 - bees are preparing for winter
Our ten bee colonies have settled in well on our rooftop. In summer, we were able to harvest 30 kilos of Beyer honey, fill it into 220 jars and give it away to our clients. Now the bees need to build up the last supplies for the winter. In order for them to survive the cold months, we have equipped all the colonies with a hyperthermia system, which gently protects them from Varroa mites. Every 16 days, each individual comb is heated to 41 degrees; this temperature does not harm the bees, but kills the mites.
May 2019 - growth in bee population
Our bee colony has grown: ten bee colonies live on the roof of Beyer Chronometrie, hopefully ensuring a successful honey harvest at the end of June. Our bees have not left their hives in recent weeks due to low temperatures and lack of flowers in the city of Zurich. Without food there is no honey, so we are hoping for warmer days for our bee colonies.
September 2018 - Heat against Varroa mites
In order to combat Varroa mites without the use of chemicals, we have installed a system by Vatorex that increases the temperature in the hive every 16 days to 42°C. Varroa mites have a lower tolerance to heat than bees. When they are exposed to a temperature of 42°C, the mites die, but the bees remain unharmed. By inserting a heating coil inside a wax panel in the middle of the comb, the bee brood is treated as if it has underfloor heating. The necessary power is generated by a solar plant.
This heating system also helps the bees to increase the temperature in the hive in the autumn. As a result, they can save their energy for other activities.
August 2018 - The Beyer bees are hot
The hot and dry summer is not only afflicting agriculture, bees are not having it easy either. They are producing less honey and need this themselves to survive. However, it is also too hot for the varroa mite. So our bees are in rude health. No treatments are required due to illnesses and our bio-certification continues to progress. We were able to harvest 2 kg of honey and are looking forward to the tasting.
Did you know that bees can regulate the temperature in their hive with precision? Worker bees spread out in front of the entrance to the nest and use their wings to fan the warm air out of the hive. In the process, up to 7,200 wing flaps are achieved per minute.
June 2018 - The Beyer bees are doing well
Our bees are busying away and enjoying the tasty lime blossoms along the Bahnhofstrasse and the summer flowers in the old botanical garden. Our bees are doing magnificently well. They have remained untouched by pests such as the varroa mites.
Soon we will be producing three types of honey: liquid and creamed honey as well as comb honey. We are also striving for organic certification and hope to obtain this as soon as possible.
May 2018 - The bees are swarming!
A bee colony reaches its peak population in early summer. As a result, many nurse bees no longer have sufficient brood to look after. The bees start to build up to around a dozen particularly large cells. During the following days, the queen lays an egg in each of these cells. As they develop, the larvae are fed a special gland food called royal jelly. They grow very rapidly and around 16 days after the egg was laid, they emerge as new queen bees.
Afterwards, thousands of bees leave the hive with their new queen in a huge cloud. They later cluster on a nearby surface close to the mother hive, where they rest and reorient themselves. Then several hundred scout bees are dispatched to look for a suitable new home in the surrounding area, if possible, in a hollow tree trunk.
December 2017 - Christmas dessert
Why not try the delicious Christmas honey dessert by Frank Widmer, executive chef at the Park Hyatt?
HONEY & YOGHURT ICE CREAM WITH GINGERBREAD
makes 700‒800g of ice cream
100g icing sugar, 80g honey from Beyer’s bees, 125ml full cream, 175g sour cream, 200g natural yoghurt, 40g lemon juice, 100g gingerbread
Thoroughly mix all the ingredients except for the gingerbread in a bowl.
Break/cut the gingerbread into coarse crumbs. Process the mixture in a professional ice cream maker for approximately 20 minutes. Fold in the gingerbread crumbs and place in the freezer until fully frozen.
If you do not have a household ice cream maker, place the bowl with the mixture in the freezer and stir with a whisk every 15–20 minutes. Shortly before mixture is completely frozen, fold in the gingerbread.
November 2017 - the bees are now resting for the winter
The jars have now been filled and Beyer’s summer honey is ready for tasting. We can look forward to a flowery and light honey, with the delicate flavour of freshly cut grass and a taste that lingers on the palate.
After a busy summer, the bees are now resting for the winter. During the cold months, they remain in the hive and are fed with syrup. The bees generate heat by shivering and need this food to replenish their energy. In this way, the temperature inside the hive is always at least 25 °C. When the external air temperature rises to over 12 °C, the bees leave the hive to go on a short cleansing flight, during which they rid their bodies of waste.
July 2017 - Harvesting time for Beyer’s honey:
this year, we were able to harvest 48 kg of top-quality honey. The “yellow gold” is very fine in consistency and tastes flowery with hints of lime blossom. For the first time, we have filled the honey jars with honey from natural combs, which is a real delicacy. This has meant that the yield is somewhat reduced. Nevertheless, we are very satisfied with our harvest and look forward to giving our jars of Beyer honey as personal gifts.
June 2017 - Natural honeycombs of our bees
For the first time, our bees have produced natural honeycombs. They do this to renew the comb structure. Honey harvested from natural combs is also particularly tasty. The period until the end of June is the best harvesting time.
In last year’s harsh winter, we combined several bee colonies as a protective measure. In spring, we were managing four colonies. However, the queen bee lays around 2,000 eggs every day and thus continually expands the population. As over the winter we had looked after six queen bees separately without a colony, we were now able to give each one her own colony again. Now, we have 10 colonies of bees on the roof of the building at Bahnhofstrasse 31 and have thus regained last year’s level. Do you know how you can make a queen bee accept foreign bees as her own colony? You simply spray all the bees with smoke so that they do not smell like another queen bee.
Our bees on the roof of Beyer Chronometrie are doing well. We have very strong colonies. That is hardly surprising, for there is plenty of food close by – the Old Botanical Gardens, the Schanzengraben and the Lindenhof are all just a short flight away.
May 2016 - The first honey for this year has been harvested!
Our Beyer bees have been very busy and made plenty of honey. The old Botanical Gardens provide a good source of food, which lends the honey a flowery taste. We have been able to harvest over 100kg of honey. That is a lot of honey, so we are very pleased with our bees.
April 2016 - The Beyer bees are developing splendidly!
At the end of February, we extended the living quarters to accommodate a new generation of bees. The queen bee lays up to 2,000 eggs every day. As a result, around 20,000 Beyer bees hatch out in our 10 bee colonies every day. With all this industrious activity, the bees need sufficient room to store their honey, so we have added another honeycomb to each brood comb. If the weather remains fine, we hope to harvest our first honey by the middle of May. The period until the end of June is the most successful harvesting time.
On the photos, the drone brood cells are clearly visible. The drones – that is the male bees – only hatch once a year in March. The principle role of the male bees is to mate with a fertile queen, which occurs in flight. After successful mating, the drones are no longer useful and they are driven away or even killed by the female bees.
September 2015 - The honey is here!
At the beginning of August, the big day came – time to harvest the Beyer honey. Anna Hochreutener placed the honeycombs bursting with honey in the extractor – and then came the magic moment, when the yellow gold flowed into the jars. The first Beyer honey is very fine in consistency and tastes flowery with hints of lime blossoms. “The first spoon of my very own honey – I shall never forget that moment for the rest of my life”, enthuses René Beyer.
August 2015 - Everyday life of Beyer’s bees
The bees on the roof of Beyer Chronometrie have settled down well in their new home. That is hardly surprising, for there is plenty of food close by; the old Botanical Gardens, the Schanzengraben and the Lindenhof are all just a short flight away. However, the bees, too, have suffered under the heat of the summer months. They fly less frequently and expend a lot of energy regulating the temperature of the hive with their wings.
June 2015 - The beginning
René Beyer had long dreamed of producing his own honey. And sweet dreams should come true. So it was that one mild night in June, ten bee colonies were moved from a roof in Zurich’s Kreis 5 quarter to the roof of Beyer Chronometrie at Bahnhofstrasse 31. Making sure that the industrious creatures also remain healthy and feel at home in the inner city are beekeepers Anna Hochreutener and Tom Scheuer from Wabe3.