We've had an interesting year with the bees - well that is a slight understatement! As was widely reported amongst bee circles all over the UK it was the worst Summer for over 100 years. Some would argue it wasn't really a Summer at all - and I think the bees would agree!
Because of all the rain it made it nigh on impossible for our bees to forage as they normally would - they ended up being stuck in their hives alot of the time - The little honey they did bring in they had to use for food, we had to keep a very close eye on them to make sure they had enough food and didn't end up starving. One week I would check up and see some full frames of honey, then the next it would be all gone! It was certainly up and down like this all Summer.
We managed two harvests from all the hives during the season regardless, but the yeild was much, much lower than usual. Funnily enough it seems like over the last month the bees have brought more honey into their hives than during the whole Summer put together!
I was still busy collecting swarms (some even out of chimneys!) - but they didn't tend to fare so well once I'd settled them into their new hives - either losing the Queen (lost on her mating flight) or she wasn't able to mate for one reason or another. That was really disappointing as I really try my hardest to look after all the girls.
Now is the time to settle the bees in for the Winter - They've all been fed with sugar fondant to keep their stores up, I've put mouse guards on and reduced the size of the entrance to stop any little creatures robbing the hives. I've also added weights to the rooves to stop the Winter wind blowing them over. I'll be checking them once a month during the Winter to make sure they're OK - fingers crossed they'll all be safe and sound and we'll have a better season next year!