The beekeepers, consider that after the honey harvest in autumn, the next season just begins. There is so much to be done to tidy the equipment and make sure that the bees have enough provisions to last them through the winter. We been lucky this year.
Even these last days of November, the winter flowering honeysuckle provides both nectar and pollen for our bees.
It is not just the honey bees that interest us. The bumble bees are frequent visitors at this time on several mahonias in the garden.
Our five hives are tucked away at the end of the garden, and the autumn so far has been mild. This has not been the story across France, where the French Union of Beekeepers (UNAF) have named 2019 as a black year, UNAF has applied to the French Government to take the necessary steps to indemnify the beekeepers in the worst affected regions, The cold spring and exceptionally hot summer contributed to the loss of many bee colonies across France.
Here the summer was so dry that even the sunflowers did not have much nectar, so the bees could not produce as much honey as usual. Normally one hive can produce 20 or even 30 kilograms of honey in autumn. The average in this region was around 5 kilogram per hive. As I said, we were lucky as around us there are forests of sweet chestnut trees, so we collected a fair amount of all flowers honey as well as forest honey which is mostly chestnut honey, Certainly enough for us and our friends.
In total we also collected 11 bee swarms that came to our garden. We housed them and kept them for a few weeks and then passed them to friends who had lost many colonies.
During the past month we have had a lot of rain and after 18 months that the river at the bottom of the garden was dry, now la Seudre is almost full of water.
So, Amelia and I are already looking forward to next year beekeeping life.
For me, apart from occasional visit to see how the bees are getting on, the pleasure is to watch the birds. coming to our front garden.
The robin, specially at this time of the year reminds us of Christmas cards.
She comes regularly bathing in front of the dinning room.
So does the sungthrush.
Sometimes I wonder if the birds like washing themselves or do they, like children, actually enjoy bathing.
I think this one was washing his ears!
At this time of the year Amelia likes collecting the leaves for composting, but some of the trees have not totally lost their leaves, The liquidambar leaves, however, are so pretty even on the ground that Amelia does not have the heart to rake them.
So I wish you a happy autumn and together we look forward to the start of another year of beekeeping as well as gardening.