Our poor little girls. They work so hard and really only want to be left alone. But every frapping thing seems to want to mess with them. We mess with them, but we are the reason they are here, so I think they accept that. Maybe they don't, but it's not like they really have a choice on that one.
They've battled bears and skunks in the past - and now it's the stinkin' yellow jackets. The yellow jackets are robbing their honey. We put the hive reducers on, and that seemed to help. Two of the hives are doing a great job at keeping the yellow jackets out. But one of the hives is really struggling with it. Yesterday we put a screen over the bottom entrance to force the girls to use the top entrance only. The hope is that with the top opening being so small and everyone using it, it would be easier to defend. I went into the apiary today and darned if that hive still isn't battling those yellow jackets. The other two hives seem to be having no problem.
Alleyooper from Homesteading Today suggested I make some wasp traps to give the girls a little break from all the fighting. So I took four water bottles and made the traps. I filled about 1/4 with water and 1/4 with dish soap. Then I drilled a hole about a half inch from the top that the wasps could get in to. Alleyooper suggested I put jam on the inside of the lid to attract them, but I didn't have jam. I did have some chocolate cake icing though, so I put that in the lid before I screwed it on. The idea is that the icing will attract them to crawl into hole after it. And once they get inside the bottle, they can't get out. So they fall into the soap water and die. I sure hope it works. I am about sick to death of yellow jackets right now. And so are the girls.
I hope we manage to keep these hives alive through the winter. We're going to do everything in our power.