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A Year in the Apiary - October

October heralded the last of the autumn warmth. The foraging was mainly on Ivy and late flowering balsam. In my colonies, I saw the Queens stop laying and the bees started moving honey stores from the supers to the comb where brood would normally be reared. This is a critical time for the colonies. The bees will not be replenished with new younger bees and must therefore live long enough to see out the Winter and get things going again in Spring. You might have seen earlier that I said in Summer the bees only live around 6 weeks. They don't die of old age, they literally fly themselves to death. But, in Winter, there is no flying, so they live longer.

Beekeepers received some bad news that an Asian Hornet nest was confirmed in Ascot Berkshire, and then again in Portsmouth. These particularly destructive hornets have devastated colonies in France and, now that they have crossed the channel, they bring fear and trepidation to English beekeepers. European hornets are prevalent in the UK but are of no consequence to honey bees. But just 2 Asian hornets can and will kill an entire honeybee colony between them.

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