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Mantel Farm Newsletter - September 2016

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Harvest time, Wasps, Weather, Beekeeping Training, Mite protection, Pure Breeds, Loyalty Scheme
Harvest time...

August should be the time of year to harvest honey, but along with many other beekeepers this year there just isn't any excess honey in our hives. Through a cold and wet start to the year our bees struggled to get going. Then a few weeks of nice weather gave them a bit of a chance, but the changing weather then meant good flying conditions often didn't coincide with pollen being available on the plants. By July the hives were looking fairly healthy but then one hive started to fail. Why, we don't know, but the queen just didn't lay as she should. Usually there are signs to indicate a reason but this colony has just kept us guessing all year.

A few weeks ago we introduced a new colony into the hive, splitting the two initially with newspaper to help them get used to each other while they ate their way through, and all seems to have settled down now. The colony is doing well and is even building up stores of honey so it looks as though both hives will have enough honey to see them through the winter.

As some of you will have seen in previous years, our Mirabelle plum tree is usually loaded with little yellow plums. But this year we only have a few dropping each day - there has not even been enough for a crumble! (Ernie is so pleased!) Our potatoes amd tomatoes have not been very successful either, both getting blight during a rainy spell. However it is an amazing year for our two arched pear trees and although a few will be bruised (along with our heads as we walk under the trees) we are waiting for a bumper crop.

Crowhurst Horticultural Society have their Autumn show taking place on Saturday September 17 at Crowhurst Village Hall in Forward Lane (opposite St George's church and adjacent to the primary school). There will be lots of lovely local produce on display including a honey section. So why not pop along to have a look or enter the show. Schedules can be downloaded and printed off from their website -


This Month's Feature... Wasps
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 Wasps:

Pest Control Wasps  

Wasps can be a nuisance to Beekeepers as they can rob Hives of Honey and kill Bees to feed to their young. The Wasp year starts in spring with the fertilised queen waking up from her winter hibernation and looking for a suitable nest site, usually in attics, sheds and outbuildings. When she has found a site she starts nest building and laying her eggs as she builds. Nests are made by chewing wood to make a sort of paper mache. This is then laid down in narrow strips to form horizontal combs of hexagonal cells all in a paper envelope. The first eggs will hatch in 5-6 days and the queen will feed them on nectar and insects she has killed by biting off their heads. Once the larvae have grown into adults they will take over all the nest duties from the queen leaving her to carry on laying more eggs. Up to 3000 worker wasps can be in a normal size nest and they usually only live for 4 weeks.

An easily made Wasp trap can be made by making a small hole (6mm) in the lid of a jam jar, then put a couple of good spoonfuls of jam in the jar, then half fill with water, place near to your hive, check regularly and empty out as needed and replace jam and water. You should also close up the entrance to your hive with a mouse guard so the Bees can defend the hive more easily.


If you do find a nest in your shed or attic it is best left to a Pest Controller to remove it for you by spraying with powder or foam.


For pest control services contact Graham on 07876 108434 or 01424 251222


Our Local Weather Forecast:

September Weather Forecast - Weather forecasts for sea and freshwater anglers. - Tim's new publication.

After what has been one of the better Augusts for a while, lets hope this continues as we did indeed get a period of hot settled weather through the middle of the month. Moving into September though it is likely to be unsettled on Sunday, possibly with some rain interspersed with brighter spells.


September usually starts well and it does look likely to be the case this year so lets hope we have good weather for the Bexhill Festival of the Sea which happens this weekend on the 3rd and 4th.Next week looks a bit unsettled generally although it looks like we'll get the drier weather here in the south. This will then settle into a longer, dry, settled spell more widely next week. It is important to keep an eye on the chickens' water – we've got all manner of birds and animals raiding their water trough. It's great news for our bees to have longer spells of settled weather. This will give them plenty of time to stock up on honey.

Later in the month it is probably going to be changeable weather to continue at first. But there is a trend towards more widespread drier, settled conditions looking possible for the second half of September. Temperatures are likely to average out above normal.


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.


End of season offer - 25% discount on our next Beekeeping Evening, now just £49.50 - September 30th

basics of beekeeping  

The beekeeping season is coming to an end for this year, but for those thinking of beekeeping next year, our evening courses are the perfect way to find out more.

Amanda will be talking about the basics of beekeeping and giving lots of interesting facts about bees.

So why not spend an evening with an extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic beekeeper, while enjoying our lovely honey cake.

To receive your discount simply book through our website:



  Offer extended for September:
Hand Spray and Poultry Shield for just £10.00

Poultry Shield Spray

Red mite is becoming a real problem in many poultry houses now, so don't forget to get your Poultry Shield and Hand Sprayer for just £10.00 while on special offer.

Poultry Shield and Spray just £10.00

  Smoke Bomb half price:
Was £3.95 now just £1.95

Smoke Bomb

To help tackle a red mite infestation we are also offering our smoke bombs for just £1.95 (September only). These handy little fumers are lit in the poultry house releasing smoke into the woodwork where the mites can be hiding.

  Pure Breeds Offer:
Rhode Island Red and Copper Black Maran

Pure Breeds Offer

Our lovely flock of pure breeds are beginning to look stunning as they are reaching point of lay. These now rare breeds were classic traditional laying hens in Britain, but having fallen out of fashion are now extremely hard to come across.

During September we are offering 3 hens for £100 (normal price £45 each).

Mantel Farm Ltd, Henley Down, Catsfield, Battle, East Sussex, United Kingdom, TN33 9BN | 01424 830357 | VAT Registration No. 934 6204 31 |