Day 78 We observed dozens of yellow jackets flying around the hive today. While a peek through the window showed that there are still a few inside the hive, more seemed unable to get past the living plug of bees in the remaining entrance. Even returning foragers, carrying on with business as usual, had a bit of a time shouldering their way through. So reducing the number of entrances has helped.
We put a home-made yellow jacket trap improvised from a 2-liter soda bottle and baited with pear juice some feet from the hive. No immediate takers but we will see later.
We then foolishly but effectively had at the pests with a fly swatter. Our girls were tolerant of the slapping concussions on the hive. No casualties on our side. Bees uninjured by friendly fire(swatting) and beekeepers unstung. When there was a pause in the action we carefully lifted one end of the roof to reveal a crowd of yellow jackets in the syrup chamber. A little smashing with the end of a stick rousted them out and swatting resumed for a time. Still no casualties on our side.
Tomorrow we will be shoring up defenses. The roof does not sit quite right due to the tall feeder follower lifting it slightly by one of its cross braces. We will try to switch to the old follower temporarily, trim the top of the feeder follower, and return it with a fresh jar of syrup. The syrup chamber should see fewer visitors afterwards.