Mayflower apiaries is a small beekeeping business based in Warrington. Colonies are kept in over 50 apiaries throughout North Cheshire. The bees forage for up to three miles so many square miles of Cheshire feed the bees and in return billions of flowers are pollinated.
The main sources of nectar collected in North Cheshire include fruit blossom, dandelion, sycamore, oil seed rape, field beans, clover, lime, willowherb and balsam. Honey produced is usually a mixture of these. The honey varies from year to year and from apiary to apiary. Warm weather is usually needed to bring a nectar flow from the flowers so many sources of nectar do not give a honey crop every year, eg field bean honey is only stored in one year out of three. The longer the flowering period the more chance of a honey crop.
The colonies are not sugar fed and usually winter on honey. However, hives short of food are given fondant in the early spring. The bees are not intensely farmed and movement is kept to a minimum. No apiary contains more than 20 hives to ensure there is sufficient forage for the bees in the area.