Welcome Honey Provenance Bees Talks The Apiarist


Welcome to Lochaber Bees and Honey. I keep bees in Scotland, producing honey for sale in select cafe’s, farm shops and other artisinal outlets that specialise in high quality local produce. I also rear calm and productive bees and queens in Fife that are sometimes for sale to local beekeepers.

Scotland has a relatively short beekeeping season because of its latitude. In our long winters I give talks on bees, science and beekeeping. I also write extensively about beekeeping in my weekly ‘blog’, The Apiarist.

I hope you find what you are looking for here.


Honey frames


I keep bees in Fife on the east coast of Scotland and on the remote west coast. The Fife apiaries are productive and I get two honey crops a season; the spring honey is harvested in early June and the summer crop in late August. My bees on the west coast produce a small crop of heather honey in late September.

Collessie honey

My Fife bees forage widely on the rich agricultural land in central Fife and the scrubby woodland and rough grazing of the rolling North Fife hills or the suburban gardens of St Andrews and surrounding farmland. There is ample forage available, ranging from early season willow, oil seed rape and dandelion to the later flowering field beans, blackberry and clover. There are also a great range of tree nectars available during the season including hawthorn, sycamore and lime. Individual hives often specialise and so each is extracted separately and may have a distinct and unique flavour.

The North Fife Hills

Spring honey is usually high in glucose and, without suitable preparation, tends to crystallise coarsely and quickly. I therefore warm it gently and seed it with a small amount of fine textured set honey before allowing it to recrystallise. This produces what is sometimes called ‘creamed’ or ‘soft set’ honey, with a lovely ‘melt on the tongue’ texture. It is spoonable but not clear. It has a long shelf life but rarely lasts that long.

The Howe of Fife

Summer honey is a clear, golden, runny honey. Over time this honey will crystallise. Crystallisation is generally a sign of high quality honey and is rarely seen in the supermarket ultrafiltered and pasteurised honeys labelled ‘Produce of EU and non-EU countries’ (which, you’ll realise, means ‘anywhere’). This filtration removes almost all the pollen. In contrast, high quality honey contains a lot of residual pollen around which the crystals form. The crystallisation will not affect the excellent flavour of the honey, and can be reversed by gently warming the jar until the crystals disappear. Most jars are finished long before there is any sign of crystallisation.

My west coast heather honey is produced in limited amounts and usually used to make heather blend soft set honeys. These are delicious but only available in small quantities.

Honey frames

If you have a jar of my honey you can check its provenance here.

My honey is usually sold by select cafe’s, farm shops and other artisinal outlets that specialise in high quality local produce. If the following happen to be out of stock ask them to contact me for a restock … but also make sure you check some of the other delicious local produce they sell.

St Andrews summer honey


provenance (noun) - “geographic source or place of origin”.

Further general details of my honey are available from the Lochaber Bees & Honey site.

My honey is extracted and carefully stored until jarring. It is only jarred to order, in batches of no more than ~30 jars, all originally harvested from the same location and at the same time. Each jar carries a unique batch number enabling the purchaser to trace the provenance of the honey, from the apairy to the table.

If you have a jar of either my Collessie or St Andrews honey and want to know more about it then check the label and enter the unique 5 character batch number below.

Batch numbers are case insensitive.

The North Fife Hills


If I have surplus bees I sell 5 frame nucleus colonies - including overwintered nucs - and queens. Sales are ‘collection only’ from St Andrews in Fife. I rear all my own queens locally, selected from my best stocks and ‘open mated’ in May and June (for current year nucs) or in midsummer the previous year (for overwintered nucs).

Overwintered 5 frame nuc

The bees are local mongrels, not Buckfast, or native blacks, or carniolans, and are all the better for it. They have been selected for their good behaviour and hard work. Many beginners have enjoyed successfully starting beekeeping with these bees. They generally only need a single brood box hive and are reasonably frugal with stores overwinter.

Local queen

The stocks from which they were raised have low Varroa and virus levels, but I make no claims about their being Varroa resistant or tolerant (and if others you see being sold come with these claims I’d ask to see the evidence!). Parental stocks are treated in mid-August and early winter to minimise mite levels, and this is usually sufficient for the entire season.

Current availability:

As of February 2023

  • Overwintered 5 frame nucs - sold out
  • 5 frame nucs - watch this space
  • Queens - watch this space

I do not currently sell native black Varroa free bees from the west coast of Scotland.

Foragers and drones


I give online talks between September and March on a wide range of beekeeping topics including queen rearing, DIY for beekeepers and rational Varroa control. The majority of the talks include a little bit of lightweight science (I’m a retired academic and studied viruses, including those of honey bees, for three decades) and lots of practical beekeeping.

The talk topics are regularly reviewed, added to and updated. A full list of available talks, the fees and my availability are on my beekeeping talks site.

Summer in the apiary

The Apiarist

I write the weekly beekeeping blog The Apiarist. The posts cover an eclectic range of topics including the principles and practice of beekeeping, starting beekeeping, DIY for beekeepers, waspkeeping (!), equipment, queen rearing, disease management and the science and biology of honey bees and sustainable beekeeping.

The Apiarist website

If there is not something this week that interests you, there might well be next week. Readers can subscribe to receive notifications of new posts by email (which should appear on Friday afternoons if I’m not busy with my bees), but are also announced on Twitter, Instagram and Mastodon.

Last light on Ardnamurchan