This is a catch-up post which begins with yellow jacket attacks and ends with robbery by bees from some other hive in the area.
Some time ago We neglected to document it but we began to use parts of a Langstroth inner cover (thin sheets of wood) to cover the gaps between frames rather than continue using of upside down top bars. The roof sat somewhat better as a result although the feeder follower as still too tall and catching a cross brace of the roof.
Day 88, Mon, 19 Sep We removed the feeder-follower and restored the original follower board. We also removed the two bars we had inserted between the frames. One was totally devoid of comb and the two bits on the other had not been made any larger. This will allow a cluster of bees to flow from comb to comb without having to traverse any empty space.
Day 89, Tue, 20 Sep We trimmed the top of the feeder-follower and restored it to the hive with a jar of fall syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 of water). The roof sat better although we are not sure whether because of our trimming or because the feeder was now forward of the crossbrace since we removed those two empty bars.
Day 100, Sat, 1 Oct A cold, windy, and wet day. A few bees were coming and going. Hardly any yellow jackets are visible although one flew into the hive unopposed. Looking through window, we saw no one guarding the entrance. Nor were there any bees on the first three bars of comb. The bees were apparently in a cluster on the medium frames.
Day 101, Sun, 2 Oct The day was warmer but very windy. Bees were bringing in orange pollen. Still goldenrod or were the asters beginning to contribute? We saw a commotion at the entrance and a group of bees forced a yellow jacket out. One flew off with the intruder. There is still some syrup left in the jar.
Day 102, Mon, 3 Oct The day was warmer yet. Bees were flying all around the hive. Orientation flights? Few yellowjackets were visible and they were being attacked by the bees outside. The bees were steadily bringing that orange pollen to the hive. We are not yet able to distinguish a nectar laden bee from an empty one.
Day 106, Fri, 7 Oct Late in the day we saw a cloud of bees around the hive. They were clumping on the lines holding down the roof, on the cover of the observation window, and all over the hive. There were bees wrestling at the entrance. We were being robbed. I suppose the good news is that they must have driven off yellow jackets because very few were seen seen. But our poor, wee colony. We do not think they have much honey set aside and now it may be stolen from them.
Following advice from Michael Bush’s website, after dark when invader and indigenous bees were all in their respective hives, we covered our one open entrance with a patch of #8 hardware cloth, attaching it with residue-free duct tape. No bees in or out. The robbers should lose interest in a few days.
Day 107, Sat, 8 Oct The robbers are still there but fewer in number. Perhaps they are losing interest already?