Jonathan: A succession of artificial and natural swarming in the course of little more than a fortnight may prove to be the turning point in my bee-keeping. Such a short while ago I had just one viable colony, plus the remains of a colony that had lost its queen but was nonetheless producing drones. Now I’ve three more hives with queens, though I’m not sure – yet – whether they are mated. The first scent of autumn is in the air, and the weather has turned much cooler and wetter: I’m now concerned that we may not get the dry warm conditions needed for mating within the next fortnight or so, and even if that turns out well, the wild flowers – though exceptional good this year – are starting to fade, with only the heather to come. However I can if necessary supply syrup/fondant and Nektapol for the autumn and winter, but the mating is something the bees have got to manage for themselves!