A beekeeper has shared with the Gazette his secrets of producing the best honey in Basingstoke.

Retired Basingstoke man, Derek Wester, 64, from Hatch Warren, makes around £500 per year in two harvests over the last five years with his local business, Basingstoke Honey.

When the Gazette asked Derek what his secrets were to making great honey, he said: "You have to have perseverance, treat bees with respect and not be afraid of getting stung.

"I spin the frames, and put the honey frame inside the extractor, which is a giant metal stainless steal drum.

"I drain the honey off and fill the jars."

Derek's honey is natural and good for allergies.

Basingstoke Gazette: Derek has faced some challenges producing honey during lockdownDerek has faced some challenges producing honey during lockdown

He developed his passion for beekeeping from his Geography teacher at school and has spent at least £10,000 in setting up his business over the last four years.

The 64-year-old sells honey to his neighbours, friends, and members of the public via word of mouth.

He has 25 of his own hives and has spent £500 on the hive and colony together.

"If you are a beginner, expect to spend up to £1200 on all of the beekeeping equipment.

"It is an expensive hobby but well worth it," the beekeeper continued.

But Derek has faced some challenges during lockdown.

"We can't give people a taste of the honey during the pandemic.

"We used to put taster jars out for people to try.

"People have to rely on sight and reputation of our business before making their purchases," he added.

Derek's pot of honey costs £6 for one lbs.