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Jarring up natural local honey

Sticky Morning

This morning has been spent jarring up some of this year’s spring honey. The hives have done really well, building up the colony, but also out and about collecting and abundance of nectar.

Now onto labelling and getting out for sale.

Roll on the summer honey flow!

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Honey Bee Working Hawthorn Flowers

Another May new buds and flowers shall bring

“Another May new buds and flowers shall bring: Ah! why has happiness no second Spring?” – Charlotte Turner Smith

This spring certainly keeps bringing. The weather continues to be fantastic for the bees. The recent rain has been welcome. This enables the plants to draw up water and increase the nectar flow in the flowers.

In turn this ensures the bees supply continues to come.

The hives are still doing well, and the bees continue to build up their honey stores. Hopefully at the end of May, I’ll be able to harvest the first honey crop of 2020

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Honey Bee Flying Toward Apple Blossom

The Best April Ever for Bees?

I’ve been keeping bees for 10 years, and I don’t remember an April like it.

The warm dry weather here in Devon, has definitely benefited the bees. They have been out and about every day. The blossom is flourishing and producing the good stuff …. nectar and pollen.

In the garden, the old apple trees, are buzzing. The buzz from the trees provides a background hum to the whole garden. It literally sounds like a swarm of bees is somewhere settling.

The hives are bursting. The workforce has been busy taking advantage of nature’s bounty.

The bees have been so productive that the hives are filled with honey and I have had to make more room for them to store their harvest.

All I need to do now is manage them from swarming and taking their produce away!

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Wild brood comb in a bee hive

Wild comb

Last year I housed a honey bee swarm I collected from the local area. On returning, I put the swarm into a new hive with about half the intended frames I had to hand. I needed to assemble more and intended to put the remaining frames in the following day.

However, I didn’t get the chance to return to the hive for a couple of days. At this point the colony had drawn wild comb which was hanging from the crown board (the lid on the top of the hive).

In a dilemma, I decided to leave the hive until the following season and sort it out then.

Yesterday, was the day. In the main picture you can see 5 pieces of wild comb. Each of these were packed with brood (growing baby bees).

I took three pieces of the wild comb and attached each piece into a frame using elastic bands (not sure how this will work). I then transferred these to a new hive with new frames. The new hive was put back in the same place as the original hive.

I couldn’t find the queen, but hopefully she was somewhere amongst the existing frames or was brushed off into the new hive as I removed each piece of wild comb.

Now all tidy and manageable, the hive can be easily inspected. Next week, I will go in and see if I can find the queen or evidence that she is still laying.

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Happbee Easter - Bee themed Easter egg

Happbee Easter!

Happbee Easter!!!!! The bees are doing fab lately.

The fine weather has meant they can get out and gather nectar and pollen. The colonies have built up really well and already very large and storing lots of honey.

Fingers crossed, it is going to be a good year for the bees!

We currently have some of last season’s honey for sale, but currently with lock down, can not sell it 🙁

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New beehive all prepared for the new season

Preparing for Season

Spring is gathering momentum, and the spring blossom is beginning to erupt with flower buds bulging and about to explode. The bees are out and about on warm days looking for blossom and sources of water.

I am frantically trying to get prepared. This new hive is ready to hopefully house another colony of bees in the coming months.

I still need to put together loads of frames to replace old wax, but also to allow for expansion and new colonies. Not much time left, but I am sure it will come together and we will be ready.

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Honey Bee on crocus gathering pollen in early spring

Bees are Springing into Action

We have had so much rain in the UK, but North Devon, although wet, seems to have got off lighter than some parts of the country!

In the dryer, warmer spells, the bees have managed to get out and collect pollen. They are returning to the hive with their pollen baskets loaded up with mainly orange and yellow pollen at the moment.

If anyone is interested, I have written a small guide on the colour of pollen and the flowers the bees have been visiting in North Devon. See: https://chilcotts.farm/bees/local-pollen-guide/

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Beehive blown over by #StormCiara

Unhappy Bees!

Well wouldn’t you bee unhappy too if your house has been blown over, and you are exposed to all the elements?

I can see the hives from the house and am always keeping an eye on the them checking all is well.

Everyone had been warning us about #StormCiara, but for some reason I didn’t think about the hives. This morning when I got up, the hives were fine, but the wind was gusting. The BBC website said gusts up to 70 miles per hour.

Mid morning, one of the hives blew over! Spotted as it happened, I shot out to pick the hive up to protect the poor bees from the wind and rain. As I upped the hive and went to get some blocks and straps to to put on the roof and hold it down, it blew over again!

Angry, unhappy bees is an understatement! Poor things. Anyway, I managed to up the hive again (Four stings later – four little bees obviously managed to get into my bee jacket) I weighed it down with bricks and strapped it together. I then strapped all the other hives down too.

Fingers crossed the queen has not been damaged, and all the girls will support her as she starts to lay in the coming weeks.

Strapped down beehive ready for the winds
Strapped down beehive ready for the winds
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Honey Bee on ice plant Sedum spectabile 'Iceberg'

Busy Bee

We are having some warm weather at the moment. The sunny warm days are great for the bees allowing them to get out and about to build up their winter stores. Caught this lady foraging on a flowering ‘Iceberg’ (Sedumspectabile ) plant.

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