With a busy season in full swing at Cotswold Seeds, it’s been a while since the last full inspection of the Honeydale bees, but I took Jessie along with me last week to see what’s been going on. Jessie is doing some work experience at Cotswold Seeds prior to starting her agricultural degree at Harper Adams and her first bee experience was to witness the devastation that wasps can cause in a beehive.
A week ago I noticed that the young colony which was split from another hive looked very quiet and there were a worrying number of wasps around. On further inspection Jessie and I found that the colony has now been completely lost. The hive was totally empty apart from a few wasps and there was not a bee in sight, not even a dead one. The hive must have been completely ransacked of all the bees, larvae, honey and pollen by wasps and other insects. This is a real shame, but since the wasp problem has been so bad this year, it didn’t come as a huge surprise This hive will now be thoroughly cleaned ready to receive a new colony in the spring and we’ve refilled the wasp traps to try and provide some respite for the remaining hives.
The National is still going strong, although there appear to be fewer bees than normal and they were quite relaxed. We found the queen eventually, and although eggs were being laid, there weren't many, likely a sign that we are fast approaching the cooler temperatures of Autumn.