I’ve suddenly realised that summer has come to an end. The vibrant wildflowers below in my local park are now dying back. Berries have taken over in the hedgerows – shiny blackberries, dusky blue sloes, the red of hawthorn. Green acorns hang from the oak trees.
A few last treats for the bees and butterflies – sedum (ice plant). Bumble bees, honey bees, small tortoisehells and red admiral butterflies can all be found enjoying its sweet smelling scent.
And last weekend I found my first flowering ivy of the year, by the sea at Flushing. An important last big feed of the year for honey bees. There is even a bee called the ‘Ivy mining bee’, which emerges in the autumn in time for the ivy flowers. The male Ivy bees emerge first, in late August, with females arriving around a month later. Incidentally Ivy has become a popular name for baby girls recently (though I prefer Holly ;))
You may be wondering why all my images now have jazzy coloured borders. Well, a blogger friend of mine reminded me that this can be done. Thank you, Emilio!
My bees are currently doing well, zooming back and forth with bright loads of pollen. I step off the inspections in August, as the threat of swarming has mostly passed. Also, if I did accidentally squash my queen, my colonies might struggle to get a new one mated before drones disappear. Last week I observed my ladies kicking their brothers out of the hive entrance, shoving them away before they could get back in. Unfortunately their free ride of getting fed by their sisters has come to an end. The days are shortening and the focus of the bees and beekeeper is very much on winter preparation. More on that later.