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"2012.....the stingless Summer?"

 

After an unseasonably warm start to the year I was optimistic that a busy wasp season would ensue; little did I know however that the wettest June in over a century was about to grip the country, resulting in, so far at least, the poorest wasp season imaginable.

 

Queens were triggered into a frantic early start, only for their brood and themselves alike to be decimated by the prolonged cold, wet period.  Despite this weather, May yielded some of the strongest bumblebee colonies I’ve ever encountered, perhaps due to the added protection afforded by their body hair, allowing for greater foraging activity during the poor conditions.

 

With a dramatic improvement in conditions this week I’ve been called out to deal with a handful of nests; perhaps a late start to the long awaited season? Whether such call outs will be sustained later into the year is yet to be seen although I don’t hold too much hope as the few nests that I have encountered have seemed very weak, almost soulless.

 

On a more positive note, my honey bee colonies, in the face of adversity, seem to have pulled through with little assistance, resulting in powerful honey producing hives. With more garden activity over the coming weeks, if the weather holds, I’m sure a few more problem nests will be picked up. At times I was sure that the communal wasp species of the UK would be on the endangered species list by the end of the year! I’m now confident that they’ll rally to some extent; a possible uptick in an otherwise abysmal few weeks!

 

Phil Meek.

 

(JULY 2012)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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