Time for an entrance reducer?

Ok today was the third consecutive day I’ve seen my bees fighting yellow jackets at the hive entrance. It’s not a full-on robbing situation but this is a first-year hive that I established in May, and they’re still building comb in the second brood box. It may be an overreaction but I put an entrance reducer on this evening at the 3″ setting.

The bees seemed a little confused at first, walking over to the newly-sealed side and even started hovering in front of the hive as if it were an orientation flight. I’m guessing they were checking out this new “feature.”

Hopefully I did the right thing by putting the reducer on (I can always remove it of course). As a young hive it’s not a strong hive and with the dearth coming I don’t want them to get overwhelmed and robbed.

Yellow jackets versus honey bees

Amazing scene at my beehive just now. I stepped outside to watch them fly around. I saw several flying in and out as usual. All typical stuff.

Suddenly a single yellow jacket showed up and landed on the landing board. The girls went nuts. Immediately two bees jumped onto the yellow jacket and all the three of them rolled into a ball off of the landing board and onto the ground. They were stinging the daylights out of each other* and neither let up until the yellow jacket wasn’t moving anymore.

I watched for quite a while longer to make sure it wasn’t the start of a robbery but no other yellow jackets showed up. The girls were kind of agitated but not too badly. That was amazing. I never saw them put up a defense before like that. Well done, girls!

*It turns out that a yellow jacket’s hard body won’t cause the honey bee’s stinger to come out once it’s used, versus our soft bodies. That means a honey bee can sting a yellow jacket over and over, not lose their stinger and hence, not die. Science!