The start of the month is still exceedingly dry for the season but where we do receive a little rain those plants that are able will flower profusely producing nectar and pollen.
The reduced numbers of bees in the hive, all workers and one well mated Queen hopefully, will be out getting in the last of their winter supplies especially the pollen.
The following are a few of the flowers the bees have been working early in the month followed by the Ivy at the end of the month, if the weather permits the bees to fly and collect.
The Ivy is the last real Nectar and Pollen supply for the colonies going into the winter and on a warm day if you wander up by your hives you will see frantic activity as all those workers that are able will be out and about.
They will come back loaded with Pollen, yellow in colour essential food for young and adult bees throughout the winter.
They cram it into the brood frames after chewing it a little and adding chemicals that help to preserve it and then cap it with bees wax sealing in the freshness for the desolate months ahead.
If you stand under an old tree covered in Ivy, the smell of nectar and sound of active insects including our bees working the flowers is extraordinary as they all appear to be aware this is the last bloom before the cold and wet of Autumn settles in.
Your winter preparation should now be over or in full swing but don’t be tempted to go looking into the brood nest. Leave them to now get on with it, just ensure they have enough food for the next few months.
They will have coated the inside of the hive, frames, mouse guard and crown board with Propolis to keep out predator and cold drafts so by you interfering you can undo a lot of this “bee building”
A long time resident of Golidicote, which is off the Banbury Road to Stratford, lives in one of what used to be one of the ‘big estate’ cottages near to the walled garden nearby to the ornamental lakes. When he was recently renovating the wall of this garden he ensured the two Bee Bowls contained within were persevered for prosperous. They clearly had a wooden framework which the Skeps/ hives would have stood on all part of the extensive vegetable garden for those at the Manor House.
Those of you that have drawn super frames to store can either leave them on the hive above the crown-board, as many commercial Apiarists do, or in your bee-shed or garage.
But be aware although the wax moth may not take notice of the super combs, mice will delight at getting amongst them making a nest or just eating the beeswax.
Ensure they are stored on a sealed floor with a Queen excluder weighed down on top to prevent mice or other rodents gaining entry.
Keep feeding Fondant until the hive has about 40lbs of stores then close the hive up ready for the long winter ahead.
In October if the weather remains warm and dry colonies will continue to gather what Nectar and Pollen they can find.