We operate up to 900 beehives on farms in Perthshire, Angus and Fife
Scarletts (Scotland) was established by Andrew Scarlett in 1999 as a commercial beekeeping business. Andrew, a third generation beekeeper, grew the business to where it is today, operating with up to 900 beehives on farms in Perthshire, Angus and Fife gathering nectar from the stunning Scottish countryside. The millions of bees not only produce fantastic blossom honey but also play a vital role in pollinating the diverse range of wild flowers and soft fruits in this part of Scotland.
Our hive management starts in March/April with the movement of hives from winter sites to locations with early flowering plants. This early crop of nectar and pollen helps the hives to build numbers quickly as the queens are stimulated to lay more eggs. The queens are vital to the viability of the hive and their performance is carefully monitored. Queen breeding programmes, and yes you can artificially inseminate queen bees!, are central to ensuring the best genetic lines are continually improved.
A strong production hive should have over 30,000 hard working bees not just collecting nectar and pollen but also water to store and then evaporate on warm days to keep a constant temperature for the developing brood.
There will be bees tending to the brood and queen, building wax cells, cleaning, defending the hive and the lazy male drones.
In mid July the hives are moved to the iconic heather clad glens where the bees gather the nectar from the heather flowers producing one of the finest honeys in the world. The bell and ling heather is in flower for about six weeks and our crop is entirely weather dependant. Many people question whether you should base a business that is weather dependant in Scotland!
By early September the honey is removed, the hives come out of the glens back to winter sites and we hope to be finished by early November. This only gives a few months to clean and sterilise old combs and re wax them, repair hive equipment and plan for the following year, not forgetting to get our honey ‘rent’ out to the farms and estates, where we have had bees, before Christmas.