Jon and I have been feeding our bees through all this awful weather with a mixture of heavy sugar syrup, and last time he visited, Charles put a block of nectar and pollen mix over the far one nearest Gary’s plot.

It was this hive that we’ve been most worried about, and yesterday things kind of came to a head when we saw that while the middle hive was very busy, with workers bringing in loads of nectar and pollen on their back legs -as sure sign the queen is healthy and laying, this far one was the complete opposite.

Absolutely nothing happening.Our youngest beekeeper at a safe distance!

We got suited up, and young Adam, who’d come down with his parents Barry and Sairah was keen to see too, so we got him suited up, and warned him that things could get a little hairy, and should they get out of control, then he should run!

In the end, there was no need to have worried, because in this hive, it was as quiet as a morgue.

Starting at the top, Jon and I lifted off the various boxes, seeing millions of dead bees, crammed into every corner of the hive.Sudden hive collapse?

When we got to the bottom plate, we could see why.

What you can see in this sad photo to the left is the bottom cover of the hive, absolutely rammed with dead bees, four, or even five-deep, completely blocking the bottom of the hive, the air vents, and more importantly, the hive entrance.

Now, we saw a very small cluster of live bees in the middle of the main brood box, so we’re hoping that in amongst them was the queen, and that by today, they’ll have realised that everything has been cleared out, and that she’ll be laying again.

We appreciate, this is a big ask, and I’ll be sure to let you know on my return this afternoon.

Funnily enough, many beekeepers in Sheffield and the surrounding areas have been seeing the same thing -an apparently busy, healthy hive, suddenly ‘shutting down’.

Currently speculation is that it is a combination of the exceptional weather we’ve been experiencing, and also there has been some suggestion that pesticides could have something to do with this.

The BBC News website the other day reported in its ‘Science & Environment‘ section that researchers have proved that bees exposed to neonicotinoid pesticides seem to lose their sense of direction and their ability to remember just where the best foraging is.  As these bees are meant to do the famous ‘waggle dance’ to tell their compatriots this information, it means the hive is essentially blind.  They don’t know -they can’t remember! where the pollen and nectar are!

But hey, of course, the massive drug companies who make these awful chemicals aren’t to blame, are they?

Obviously not!

…And our alleged ‘MP’s’ seem powerless to stop these vast multinationals producing these toxins.

After all, they’ve got to make a profit, eh?

Of course, who do you think is sat on the boards of these vast multinationals, with non-executive positions, yet collecting huge salaries?

Ah.  Right.

That’ll be these same MP’s, will it?

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