Wasp Traps, Red Mite Advice, Asian Hornets, Poultry Shield Offer, Gardening Tips

Fruit and Honey Harvest

Later this week we hope to take some honey from our beehives. The bees have done extremely well this year, even the colony that was weak to begin with has got stronger and stronger as the early warm weather gave plenty of opportunities for the bees to get out and about foraging. This has also helped the fruit and we have a bumper crop of peaches, plums, apples and pears this year, so much so we have had to prop our peach tree up to stop it from falling over from the weight of the fruit!

Comb of our Honey
Comb of our Honey

Continue reading “Wasp Traps, Red Mite Advice, Asian Hornets, Poultry Shield Offer, Gardening Tips”

Amanda’s Beekeeping Notes – Pollinators, Wasps, Honey Flow, Requeening, Varroa Treatment

Amanda holds regular Training Courses at Mantel Farm and contributes regularly to our beekeeping newsletters. Our regular newsletter can be found here. Amanda is a professional ecologist who has been keeping up to 25 colonies of bees for about fifteen years. She has attained BBKA theory modules 1-7 with credits & distinctions and has also won prizes at the National Honey Show for honey & other products.

In mid July, I was in the garage scraping some old frames and heard a hum. Rushing outside, I saw a medium sized swarm of bees in the middle of the garden which rapidly made off over the wall, across my neighbour’s garden and up and off far away at quite a speed as though they knew where they were going.

Bees on Goat's Rue
Bees on Goat’s Rue

Continue reading “Amanda’s Beekeeping Notes – Pollinators, Wasps, Honey Flow, Requeening, Varroa Treatment”

Ian’s Gardening Tales From The Weald – Lammas Festival and Rowan Berries

Ian is a Gardens Manager living in Crowhurst, working as part of a team in three large country gardens in the Sussex and Kent Weald, where he is passionate about natural gardening.

The beginning of August is noted for the ancient Celtic festival of ‘Lammas’ or ‘Lughnasadh’. It is a celebration of the harvest time & the subsequent baking of bread from the first wheat brought in from the fields and the making of traditional corn dollies.

Rowan Berries
Rowan Berries

Seed was kept from the ripened wheat & stored to sow again the following year. Continue reading “Ian’s Gardening Tales From The Weald – Lammas Festival and Rowan Berries”

Our Local Weather Forecast For August 2017

After a long, relatively, settled period the weather has definitely changed. The jet stream has pushed south and is currently running across the centre of the UK which means, generally speaking, unsettled weather is brought in from the west rather than warm air from the south and east.

August weather forecast
Our apples have benefited from this year’s weather

Our pigs are loving having a bit more water – their wallow is well used but of course bees don’t like windy and wet weather.

So to the next few weeks; the coming Saturday is likely to see a continuation of sunshine and showers although we’ll get less rain and more sun down here in Sussex. Continue reading “Our Local Weather Forecast For August 2017”

This Month’s Pest Feature – Wasps – Making Wasp Traps

Graham Burgess provides a local pest control service, including Bees, Wasps, Mice, Rabbits, Mink, Moles, Rats, Earwigs and Birds. This month he has written a feature on Wasp traps.

Wasp Trap
Wasp Trap

Wasps are starting to build up in numbers so bee keepers should start taking precautions to prevent them from robbing their hives.

To make a simple wasp trap all you need is a jam jar with a metal lid. Continue reading “This Month’s Pest Feature – Wasps – Making Wasp Traps”

Recurring Mitemares – Jason’s Third Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine

Are you suffering from re-occurring red ‘mitemares’?!

Although an incredibly difficult problem to solve 100%, this month through practical advice and my own experiences, I’ll be aiming to get you as close to that goal as possible and hopefully have you sleeping a bit easier!

Red Mite Under Microscope
Red Mite Under Microscope

What is Red Mite?

I guess any new poultry keepers reading this may well be wondering what we are talking about here, well, we are talking about (in my opinion): ‘poultry enemy No.1’ – The Red Spider Mite. Continue reading “Recurring Mitemares – Jason’s Third Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine”

Defra Lifts Avian Influenza Prevention Zone Across England

It is strongly recommended that all keepers – whether they have commercial flocks or a few birds in their back garden – continue to follow good practice on biosecurity despite the Prevention Zone being lifted – to reduce the risk of infection, including minimising movement in and out of bird enclosures, cleaning footwear, keeping areas where birds live clean and tidy and feeding birds inside.

All disease control measures are kept under review based on the latest scientific evidence and veterinary advice. Poultry gatherings across England can now go ahead, subject to some additional identity and health checks and biosecurity measures, now that the Prevention Zone has been lifted.

Defra Lisfts Prevention Zone - Rhode Island Red
Rhode Island Red

If your birds are housed it is especially important to  Continue reading “Defra Lifts Avian Influenza Prevention Zone Across England”

Amanda’s Beekeeping Notes – Caring For Bees In Hot Weather

Bee on Thalictrum flafum
Bee on Thalictrum Flafum

Planting for Bees
In late June I went to RHS Wisley on a sunny day. Salvias and Nepeta were very popular with the bees for nectar and I came home with two varieties from the plant shop, which had the most bees on. Lots of bees were collecting pollen from the yellow pompoms of Thalictrum flavum;  Meadow Rue so it looks like I shall have to locate a plant or seed of that too. Of course, the ‘drifts’ at Wisley are spectacular but my pots look good on my patio.
Continue reading “Amanda’s Beekeeping Notes – Caring For Bees In Hot Weather”

Ian’s Gardening Tales From The Weald – Butterflies and Nectar Plants

Ian is a Gardens Manager living in Crowhurst, working as part of a team in three large country gardens in the Sussex and Kent Weald, where he is passionate about natural gardening.

I always enjoy July in the gardens as by now we can enjoy & savour the life all around us.

Painted Lady Butterfly
Painted Lady Butterfly

Continue reading “Ian’s Gardening Tales From The Weald – Butterflies and Nectar Plants”