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!
We keep bees here not just for honey production, but for the benefit of the bees and pollination and only take a bonus honey crop if there is any to spare. Most of the honey will be left on the hive for the bees to use through the winter – this is after all why they work so hard to store it in the first place. Our hives also get a little more interference than some, being used for the practical sessions on our training courses. We only carry out these sessions if the colonies are strong (and friendly) enough to do so, and this year they have behaved so well that they really do deserve that crop of honey they have worked so hard for.
Honey Robbing by Wasps
Unfortunately it is not only humans that have a liking for honey (we all know about Pooh bear of course!) but the badgers and wasps can quickly wipe out a honey harvest. This time of year it is important to reduce the hive entrance size to help the bees to defend their crop against wasps, and a few wasp traps hung at the edge of the apiary can help to keep wasps away from the hives. See Graham’s tips below on how to make your own wasp traps.
The Arrival of the Asian Hornet
Wasps may seem of little worry compared to the new threat that is facing our bees – the Asian hornet reached the UK in 2016 and our neighbour Dr. John Feltwell of Wildlife Matters has been studying these creatures and is not alone in believing they are a real threat to our bees (not just the honey bee). He knows of two beekeepers losing 60 and 80 hives respectively in Southern France to Asian hornets in the autumn of 2016. Such colony losses really make a beekeeper realise just how bad this new predator could be once establised here. A full paper published by The Royal Entomological Society is available to read – please take the time to read about this new threat, because the more everyone is aware, the better we can be prepared to deal with it.
Poultry Enemy No.1 – Red Spider Mite
A current threat to chickens at this time of year is red spider mite and Jason’s article for Home Farmer Magazine this month is all about this dreaded enemy. To help our customers tackle or prevent an infestation we have a 50% off special offer on our 5 litre bottles of Poultry Shield.
Ooh.. and not forgetting our exciting news – next week we collect our electric van! But more on this in our next newsletter…
This Month’s Pest Feature: Making a Wasp Trap…
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
Wasps are starting to build up in numbers so a home made wasp trap can really help to keep these pests away from both the hives and our fruit crop. Read Graham’s instructions on how to make a simple Wasp trap.
Our Local Weather Forecast…
Tim Macpherson is a digital publisher and angling film maker as well as being an obsessed boat angler for over 25 years. So he keeps a close watch on the Sussex weather for both his fishing, work and of course his bees and hens in his garden – www.sussexanglingmedia.co.uk
Will we get some lovely hot August weather to make the school holidays more fun and to ensure our veg patches and fruit cages have a bountiful harvest? Tim tries to predict the impossible – read his full forecast for the month ahead.
Ian’s Gardening Tales from the Weald…
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. Read the full story to find out more about August’s wildlife, plants and gardening tips.
Ian Donovan: Hips and Haws Gardening, Crowhurst