We are suddenly having a heatwave, with temperatures doubling from the cool rainy conditions last week. I don’t like to disturb my bees beyond the end of July as they are usually understandably defensive and they are working hard to glue the hive together ready for winter. This hot spell will mean plenty of foraging opportunities as there are buckets of nectar out there: willowherb, clover, and all the daisies and Queen Anne’s lace in the hedgerows; hollyhocks, herbs, berries and vegetable plants. Our veg patches are brilliant places for pollinators as they retain moisture, either by our judicious watering or the use of green manure, meaning the fruits and vegetables we grow for ourselves can be a valuable source of nectar and pollen. Squashes, raspberries, beans and peas all need our insects to pollinate them so are the perfect addition to the mix if you want to feed yourself and your bees.
Here are some photos of what the bees are enjoying in my garden and surrounds right now:
Lots of bee bottoms! What are your bees enjoying at the moment? I have a video up about Himalayan balsam on my Patreon which is free to view here.
Bear in mind that wasps can start to look for extra sustenance as their nests may have disbanded leaving them with not only little to do, but little by way of food too. A strong bee colony can fend off wasps without a problem but weaker ones or small nucs may struggle. Help them out by reducing the entrance to a couple of bee spaces if necessary. Bees may need a super if the hot weather continues; remember you can always remove it and feed back the combs if they have not built enough to provide the insulation of a full super for the winter. Alternatively you can remove a few frames from the super and replace them once cut out as this gives them a bit more room without compromising their stores should the weather turn. Look at the forecast, and the size and vigour of your colony and if you’re removing a couple of single frames there is no danger of them running out of food.
In other news, one of my hen has hatched two more chicks:
Catch up on The Shawpits Diaries on YouTube here.