Wasps have claimed 2 of my weaker colonies; robbing all food and brood(queen gone off lay?) resulting in abandoned hives when I looked today. More generally a lot of my colonies are not bringing much if any nectar back.
It was obvious today that there is little nectar coming into my hives at the present moment, stores are reducing and in one alarming case – where wasps have plaguerised a colony – there was no nectar or pollen and the queen has stopped laying completely; this is a colony which still has 5 (14×12) frames of sealed brood and was very strong. I have put fondant on top and reduced the entrance right down to a small hole. Going back just a month there nectar was pouring into all my hives !
I have removed and extracted some honey this week and what I still find amazing is the bees phenomenal sense of smell. The merest hint of honey and they appear within seconds. I returned the supers to the hives for the bees to clean out (or refill ?) and as I arrived and opened the door of my Jimny the first of many bees appeared. When I got home and began to wipe down the vehicle interior I had bees around before I had chance to start cleaning, inquisitively venturing into the Jimny; amazing.
At every site today there were wasps trying to find a way into hives. I
have put mouse guards onto all my hives and taped across part of them to
reduce the entrances so as the bees might better defend them.
There has been very little fresh income in any supers on the hives and the season appears to be on the wane – winter to look forward to again! Our season is so short and intense.