Archive for September, 2013

A yellow jacket eats a bee. Depressing.

A yellow jacket eats a bee. Depressing.

Yes, the title is true. The queenline of Thymescira hive has been lost and the hive is slowly dying out as we head into fall. The remaining bees are hanging in there longer than I expected. My hive has been queenless for almost 2 months now, and there are still bees heading out to forage. I keep hoping that they know something that I don’t – perhaps that the queen is just out on a mating flight and will be home soon. But I am pretty sure that is a futile line of thinking. I am comforting myself with thoughts that at least they are making more honey while the sun shines. I will toast them with a slice of honey toast this winter.

Meanwhile, I need to improve my honey harvesting techniques. Every time I pull frames for harvesting, I end up with a robbing situation. This last time I solved it by bringing the frames into the basement, but then I had to contend with robber bees in the basement. I let them spend the night in a closed room. In the morning, I opened the door to the outside world, and most of the bees chose to fly away. However, I am still vacuuming up bee carcasses from that adventure and would prefer to avoid robbing in the first place. I have seen one-way exit door for bees and think I might have to given them a try.

My biggest success this fall has been using yellow jacket traps. My hives were attracting abundant yellow jackets, which were driving both the bees and┬ámy family a little insane. The day I witnessed a group of yellow jackets hanging out near the hive entrance and slowly picking off my foragers was the last straw. One poor girl got her head ripped off right before my eyes. I marched straight into the house and clicked “buy now” on two yellow jacket traps. Now there is one hanging near out outdoor eating space and one by the hives and we are all happier. Those traps are effective! I am wondering what took me so long….

Soon, preparations for winter will begin. The chill is in the air. I am going to break out my trusty quilt again for the surviving hive and hope for the best!

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