Sedgemoor Honey Farm - Finest Somerset Honey

Finest Somerset Honey
from our own bees

53 West View, Creech St Michael, Taunton, Somerset, TA3 5DU | Tel: 01823 442 734

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Sedgemoor Honey Farm
Hive diary

Early September 2009

This diary update is so long overdue – I can’t believe that another beekeeping year is drawing to a close. Not that the work stops, but there is a distinct change in the pattern of my working day as the bees are prepared for the [dare I mention it] winter.

But, I must recap on what has been happening over the past few weeks & months.

After a fantastic June and early July, with honey pouring into the supers, it was too good to be true. Late July saw heavy downpours and a severe lack of sunshine in this part of the country. The bees stayed home and munched their way through the stored honey, depleting our potential honey crop. It was too wet for queen rearing, which had to be abandoned – leaving me to hope that August would be better, with the possibility of some late queens.

Wasps have been a big problem this year, in spite of my usual ‘control’ measures involving near-empty jam pots, filled with water & a small hole in the lid, used as traps. The pots filled in no time, but still more wasps have managed to gain entry to a number of hives and rob them of their honey stores.

Early August was when I had to start preparing the hives I planned to transport to Exmoor for the heather nectar flow. Heather honey is special, and, for those beekeepers who are able to access it, can provide a welcome bonus crop late in the season. Please note – I said can!

Of the two types of heather found on Exmoor, bell and ling, it is the ling that produces the best golden, aromatic honey of all [in my opinion & of many others].

Strong bee colonies are prepared for this move by removing previously stored honey, but the wet weather meant it took much longer than usual to clear the bees from those ‘supers’. Eventually I was able to replace the removed boxes with fresh ones fitted with starter strips of foundation comb, for the bees to build on & [hopefully] fill with delicious heather honey. Then came a series of early morning starts, as I had to be up before dawn, to be up before the bees, so that I could close them in their hives and transport them the thirty or so miles to the heather. A long established Exmoor farming family have allowed me to use the same sites on their land for many years now, for which I’m very grateful.

Having done all I can, I’ve now got my fingers crossed that the weather improves, & watch the forecasts daily [as always]. Last year it rained so much the bees struggled to survive, and there certainly was no surplus heather honey to be taken. Many beekeepers feel it is not worth the effort or risk any more, and that is understandable.

Now I’m busy clearing honey boxes from the rest of my hives and starting to extract the main summer honey crop – an ongoing task well into September. And the bees are not in a good mood!  

Hopefully, when we have a few warm days I can start to check through each colony for disease, queen condition, varroa treatment and generally ensuring they are in best possible condition for the winter.

One extremely wet day recently we had an interesting diversion from the normal routine [whatever that is] with a visit from a journalist from a national newspaper. As part of a series of articles about different occupations, I was interviewed about my beekeeping career.  You may have seen the result if you read ‘The Guardian’ of Saturday 22nd August. Don’t believe everything you read though – my wife’s name is not Jean!


What is honey?
What is honey?
Honey is a delicious, natural sweet golden liquid produced by honeybees. >>

Honey varieties
Honey varieties
We aim to produce the finest natural honey. Check what’s currently available. >>

Where to buy
Where to buy
Our delicious honey is available through good local shops and farm shops. >>

Bee-keeping at Sedgemoor Honey Farm

Bee-keeping at Sedgemoor Honey Farm

Bee-keeping at Sedgemoor Honey Farm

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