My initial walk around the home apiary now I am back in Spain reveals that only nine of the 22 colonies I left in April have survived. To be fair, most of them were populated by swarms (15) so poor mating and virgins being taken by bee eaters may have contributed to the losses. I am sure though that the majority of the losses were down to the long hot dearth which I am told was particularly fierce this summer.
I am not too downhearted about it as I now have 9 colonies whereas this time last year I had but 7.
Now begins the horrible job of cleaning out the deadouts and rendering any wax that is salvageable. I have brought my kitchen steamer back with me from Sweden so hopefully it will get a good using in the next couple of weeks. Also scorching out the boxes and boiling the top bars and frames in my huge pan that I set on my gas barbecue. Photos to follow.