A year later, Zsófi and Szilárd bought their first ten families, started breeding them and grew to love the process of beekeeping. They were even more satisfied when they began to see the results. And so, at the foot of the Bakony, the Pula Honey Apiary was born, and it is now an entirely family-run business.
Why is it called Pula Honey?
The answer is simple: they were both born in Pula, and their entire family comes from this small Veszprém County village. Although Lake Balaton was close, still the forest, the trees, Bakony and its hills were closer to their heart than the lake.
- says Szilárd, who graduated as a wildlife engineer and earned an apiarian diploma a few years ago from Szent István University in Gödöllő. Earlier, he worked in the automotive industry and simultaneously farmed his land.
He now works as a full-time beekeeper. Zsófi helps with all the beekeeping tasks while holding a part-time job as an accountant. Zsófi is responsible for the indoor chores; she filters the honey, fills the barrels, and bottles the final product.
How is the honey made?
The bees collect the high sugar content nectar from plants and insects that suck the sap from the plants. They add enzymes, mix them, and deposit them in the honeycombs. They evaporate the water by rapidly moving their wings, creating a 78-80% saturated sugar solution, the actual honey. The colour of the honey depends on several factors, the nectar collected, its mineral content and its pigmentation, which may come from pollen or antioxidants. For example, canola honey is almost white. Its consistency is determined by its fructose-to-glucose ratio: the glucose ratio is higher than fructose, and in about three days, the honey sets and gains a creamy texture.
Honey production starts when canola starts to blossom. Acacia comes next, then phacelia, lindens, and sunflower. These are the primary nectar-producing plants.
- Zsófi explains the process.
Zsófi and Szilárd believe that only healthy and energetic hives produce good quality honey, requiring a landscape with diverse and rich 'bee pastures' in harmony with nature. They currently offer five to six types of honey: canola, acacia, spring flower, linden, sunflower and phacelia. It all depends on where they migrate their hives and bees and how much crop they can collect.
Don't be afraid of bees
As parents of two young children, Zsófi and her husband think it is essential for parents to start educating children about bees at a very young age.
Will bees become extinct?
Albert Einstein is reported to have said, "If the bee disappears from the surface of the Earth, man would have no more than four years left to live". Asked how real the threat is, Szilárd says there is a real risk of the collapse of colonies, but it is usually caused by a disease.
Sunny weather, happy bees
Our visit to the apiary also revealed that the weather affects not only people's moods but also the bees. When it's nice and sunny, the bees keep busy, and the beekeeper can work among them without a care in the world, but when it's rainy and overcast, the bees become nervous. The best time is when acacia is in flower, and it's nice outside because acacia provides so much nectar that it keeps the bees very busy. Should it be necessary, the bees can be placated with smoke.
It is evident from every word and gesture that Zsófi and Szilárd have found their life's calling in beekeeping. It is something they hope their children will carry on one day. The opening quote on their website further proves that they have chosen the right path. It says:
Did you know?
The Pulai Honey Apiary has also produced dedicated honeys for the VEB2023 EKF team.