I am a first year Beek. I feel like I have not been that successful so far. I have 1 hive.
I failed to recognize that my package that I installed this April needed another brood box. I now run 2 deep 8 frames (Central Illinois). They swarmed and it took me until late May to recognize it. A new queen got mated but was not laying well, very spotty pattern. I ordered and successfully installed a new queen that was VSH. This was in late June. The hive accepted her and she took off like a rocket, filling several frames quickly. Everything was good in July. They were growing in numbers rapidly and filled all the frames (foundationless). My routine is to inspect every 15 or so days. The hive is on my property near some woods with good mix of shade and sun. My inspection notes from the end of July and mid August note that the hive seemed more agitated than previous inspections
I performed an inspection this weekend. The hive was extremely defensive. I was able to work the top brood box, the queen has been up there. I noticed some capped brood on the outer frames but nothing on the inner frames. No brood, little pollen, and no honey. I was unable to note larva or eggs. Mostly because I was being hammered by 15-20 guards. I did note what appeared to be a swarm cell on the bottom of one of the frames. I attempted to get into the bottom box but was bombarded with bees as I separted the boxes. I aborted and reset the hive. Guard bees followed me for almost 100 yards and wouldn’t leave me alone. It is extremely dry here in Central Illinois and the bees are in a derth. I noticed 2 yellow jackets eating dead bees and a bumble bee several days ago as I did a walk by.
From what I can tell I have potentially 3 situations going on.
- My hive is being robbed/attacked by yellow jackets
- My bees have consumed much of their resources due to the derth and the hive is weak
- My hive may have late swarmed since there is a swarm cell
I added 2 Quarts of 1:1 sugar water. They took a quart over night. I went to check on the levels yesterday and was greeted with a sting to the ear when I got about 20 feet from the hive. This hive has always been docile and I have never required to suit up to feed.
What should I do? I feel like feeding makes sense now until we get rain and less dry. I am very concerned with getting back in the hive to look for a queen/eggs/larva especially so late in the year. How do deal with the yellow jackets?
I am very frustrated. I understand this is nature and I am only a bystander, yet I want my hive to be successful and survive the winter. All and any advice is appreciated.