OK, not quite an invasion, but the other day while I was inspecting the hives, I noticed a large wasp and while I was watching, it swooped down and snatched one of my little ladies from outside the hive! I later found out that it was a large European hornet which is carnivorous and eats many insects including bees. I’ve only seen one so far and it is hardly decimating the colony (apparently up to 1000 bees can die per day at some times of the year!) and I’m hoping that it will disappear for winter. I didn’t get a photo of the snatch but here he is waiting for an opportunity and here are some bees returning home. You can see one of them with her little suitcases full of orange pollen. So they are still building up stores.
In better news when I opened up the hives, the ‘weedy’ bees seem finally to have made a fair amount of honey and the hard-working bees which produced all of this year’s honey crop have almost refilled all their frames! I could therefore take some more honey but as we’ve got enough and I want to make sure they have enough for winter, I’ll let them bee.
With the bees still collecting pollen you might suspect that it is still warm and sunny here (like October last year). Not at all. We’ve had a fair amount of rain and it’s been cold enough at night to have the wood buring stove on. And it has led to a reappearance of mushrooms after the absence of last year.
We have plenty of poisonous Jack O’lanterns around the base of the olive trees but also we’ve managed to pick quite a few field mushrooms. Together with our free range eggs, and home produced bacon (Yes!), we can have winter fry-ups – just the job!
One harvest which hasn’t been so good is the walnuts. However, it has to be said, there are more than enough for the two hairy ones, who love them and have no problem cracking the nuts with their teeth.
Now autumn has arrived with a bang a few typical seasonal photos: