Hive No. 1 is decimated, and the other two hives are battling for survival.
We checked the bees yesterday and found hive No. 1 to be essentially empty. Devoid of honey bees, and honey. The bottom of the hive was littered with our fuzzy honey bees’ bodies, many cut in two. Honey bees will defend their hive to the death. A weak hive, which hive No. 1 apparently was or became weak without our intervention, can’t defend for long.
We basically lost 30+ pounds of honey, and our colony to yellow jackets. Two years of work down the drain.
The yellow jackets don’t stop at the honey either. They eat all the eggs, larvae and baby bees. Looking at the frames it’s like looking at a ghost town.
Hives No. 2 & No. 3 are currently battling for their survival as they are under attack by these merciless raiders.
Ironically yesterday was the first time ever we spotted all three queens upon inspection. Sadly the queen for hive No. 1 had but a handful of subjects left guarding her. Likely she’s dead by now, as I write this; unceremoniously put to death by the raiders of her kingdom.
Of all the pests, I feel most powerless against yellow jackets. We should have known better when we started seeing them earlier in the fall; before it was too late. In defense of all three hives we installed an entrance reducer in each, bottom boards and sealed up the upper openings around the cover area. This should help hives No. 2 & 3 put up a better defense. But as of today hive No. 1 was still under regular attack – yellow jackets leaving at will from the small entrance that is left. I did place cement blocks under the hive, as a lot of yellow jackets were congregating there. I’d kill each one by hand, but that like shooting arrows at a tank.
We put up a yellow jacket trap nearby, for what good that will do.
Because the hive is raided, this means we likely won’t harvest any honey for another 18 months out of hive No. 1. We’ll have to get a new package of bees in the spring most likely. There just aren’t enough bees, time or honey for anything to survive the winter.
We’ll see if the other two hives survive. Otherwise all will be lost.
It really f*cking sucks.
If I could kill every yellow jacket on earth I would.
No photos – I wasn’t in the mood. But did take some others today including hive No. 2’s fuzzies at their door, and hive No. 2’s beautiful brood and honey frame.