Open post
Goose down left behind after a Fox attack in Bickington

Fox Attack & a Goose Killed

Yesterday afternoon one of our geese was killed by a local fox in Bickington.

This year we have now lost to foxes two ducks, a chicken and now a goose. We have not had loses like this for the last 7 years.

Fortunately, each time it has only been a single bird taken, and appears to be an opportunist always attacking in broad daylight in the afternoon. I suspect a young brazen fox, or a parent feeding cubs.

A warning to any other poultry keepers, or small pet owners in the Bickington or Fremington area, be vigilant!

Open post
Honey Bee on New Zealand Flax Flower in the UK

Bees are all over our New Zealand Flax Flowers

This year, in our garden (North Devon, UK), the New Zealand Flax’s have sent up some beautiful long flower spikes with small tubular flowers delicately displaying in reds and oranges.

The anthers protrude from the top of the tubular flower. Here the high protein orange coloured pollen can be collected by the bee.

But where the bees seem to spend mot of their time is climbing right into the flower to collect the nectar.

Tail of a Honey Bee poking out of a New Zealand Flax Flower
Tail of a Honey Bee poking out of a New Zealand Flax Flower
Open post
Wildflower meadow in Barnstaple

This is what I want, I really really want ….

I have a two acre field, I really want to turn into (revert to?) wildflower meadow. How do you do it? Can anyone help?

It seems really complicated and expensive.

Done the research over a few years and got the facts, just spent £40 on seed! (mixture of perennial and annual from Pictorial Meadows #PictorialMeadows) only does 10 square metres. 2 acres is equivalent to 8,000 square metres …… so at a price of £32,000 …. not really achievable????

A lot of money, but it needs to be done right, so hopefully this autumn we will get started. I then just need to work out how to do it affordably over the next 5 years ….. yes a 5 year project ….

#RHSGardensRosemoor have stared a wild flower meadow, and it is looking good. They are just down the road, if they are reading, perhaps someone could help out, after all we are members. I could pay in honey, vegetables or fruit ….. but I suppose that is coals to Newcastle???

Anyone any thoughts on how we can do this in an environmental way, for little cost, to achieve a native meadow.

Cornflower growing in North Devon
Cornflower growing in North Devon
Open post
Recently housed swarm of honey bees

The #BidefordHoneyBeeSwarm continues to grow

A very quick inspection the other evening, showed that the swarm collected a month ago has a queen that appears to be laying well.

Since the swarm was collected, they have been creating comb to store honey and pollen in as well as provide the queen a place to lay eggs for the next generation of bees.

I have been regularly checking the new colony to ensure that they are healthy and have no visible signs of disease. There is always the chance, when collecting a swarm of bees, that they bring back a disease to the quarantine apiary such as EFB (European Foul Brood) or AFB (American Foul Brood), both of which are contagious, and notifiable to DEFRA.

The new colony is looking very healthy and the queen seems to be laying healthily producing eggs and brood (bee larvae)

Inside the #BidefordHoneyBeeSwarm hive.  Newly capped brood can be clearly seen
Inside the #BidefordHoneyBeeSwarm hive. Newly capped brood can be clearly seen
The #BidefordHoneyBeeSwarm continue to draw out new comb
The #BidefordHoneyBeeSwarm continue to draw out new comb
The #BidefordHoneyBeeSwarm are still quite active on a mild summer June evening
The #BidefordHoneyBeeSwarm are still quite active on a mild summer June evening
Open post
Honey Bee on at Rose RHS Rosemoor

Bees are enjoying the roses at RHS Rosemoor Rose Festival

The RHS Rosemoor Rose Festival was glorious. The roses were all out in bloom and their sweet scent wafted through the warm summer air.

Even though the blowsy colourful blooms thickly clustered with petals looked magnificent, it wass the simple open single rose flowers that attracted the attention of the bees.

This is always the way, the double blooms may look glorious to us, but simplicity is beauty to the bees.

Open post
Newly mated honey bee queen just returned from mating flight

The Queen is Laying!

The #BidefordHoneyBeeSwarm, collected from Bideford in Devon, has settled into its new hive nicely.

With the poor weather, I have continued to feed the bees, which has enabled them to build comb quite rapidly.

I inspected the bees last Sunday to discover a whole frame (both sides) full of sealed brood (bee larvae) and a large Healthy Queen bee walking around. This is a very positive sign!

I often get asked “What does the Queen look like?”. In this picture, in the middle, you can see a Queen Bee that has just returned from a mating flight.

Surrounded by attentive workers, she will soon get slightly bigger to the extent that she is unable to fly. At her peak she could be laying in the region of 1,000 eggs a day!

Open post
Collecting a honey bee swarm from a plum tree in Bideford, North Devon

Two Swarms Collected from Bideford this week.

Today I collected my second swarm this week from the Bideford, North Devon.

A large swarm collected yesterday in a plum tree and was still present today, so I nipped along at 12:00 and picked it up.

It’s now located in my quarantine apiary, ready to be put in a hive tomorrow.

When collecting swarms, people, often ask me: “what happens next”?

I’ve decided to write about this swarm, so that anyone who is interested can track it’s progress. Check back to my website for updates: or follow the tag #BidefordHoneyBeeSwarm on Instagram.

Posts navigation

1 2 3 4 5
Scroll to top