Sept Ending

It’s amazing to think that September has already come and (almost) gone.  The summer is leaving us already.

We visited the hives today and it was an experience full of highs and lows.  Upon approaching the hive, I immediately noticed the war zone sitting in front.  You have to click on the picture to really see it well, but there were tons of dead bees and yellow jackets in the mulch.  It seems the bees really did fight back full force and I hope this means they won.

Inside the hive I came across several small hive beetles in the feeder area.  We tried to crush as many as we could with the hive tool.  The hood trap didn’t seem to have any takers yet.

As we got further into the hive, the news was much better.  There is a ton of brood this time – a noticeable improvement from our last visit – and the girls have begun not only drawing out comb on more of the new frames, but storing honey!  One of the pictures below shows a whole frame of capped honey.  For the first time, I am assured that the bees truly are content and feeling at home.  The queen even took a moment to pose for us (she’s wonderfully photogenic).

Upon putting the top back on, I tried to show Wayne the gaps in the top cover hoping he’d help me come up with a solution that keeps the bees happy, but keeps the yellow jackets out.

War Zone Hive Beetles? Drawing Out Comb Capped Honey Brood Brood Frame 2 Frame w/Queen

Robbing?

I installed a top feeder for the first time the other day and noticed quite a bit of activity yesterday on the side of the hive.  When I went out today, I found at least 15 yellowjackets swarming around.  I suited up and opened the top of the hive to find more yellow jackets hanging out on the top cover and in the actual syrup.

I originally had my ventilation screen over the top feeder, then my outer cover and apparently it was leaving space for robbing.  I removed the ventilation screen and replaced it with the inner cover, then my outer cover today hoping it would provide a tighter seal, but I’m still not sure it will prevent the yellow jackets – the seal just doesn’t seem quite tight enough.

The bees are definitely fighting back, but I hate seeing them this distressed.   I’ve emailed David for help with a solution and Wayne and I are trying to see what we can come up with as well.

Beekeeping Webinar

I participated in a Webinar last week with Kim Flottum from Bee Culture Magazine.  They discussed fall concerns with the hive, feeding, and storage of hive parts.  I learned (as I expected) that I have a bit of a problem with small hive beetles.  I ordered a Hood trap and set it up today with some apple cider vinegar in it.  We’ll see what I catch.

I also added a top feeder for the first time with a 2:1 sugar/water syrup.  We’re heading out of town this coming weekend (to GA – Wayne is doing his first 100 mile bike ride!), and again next month to the Outer Banks so I wanted to make sure I could set up food for an extended period of time.  I killed two bees removing the inner cover, so they were not at all happy with my presence. I didn’t even pull out any frames, just added what I needed to, put it back together, and got out of the way.