Then, when I was heading back to the house, the bees lost interest soon after I turned down the bend in the path behind the shrubs, as usual. The yellow jackets, on the other hand, kept following me all the way back to the house. There I was, standing outside the house with yellow jackets all flying around me and I had no idea what to do. With bees, they leave you alone after a point. I didn't have a clue what to do with wasps. Didn't want to take off my veil or go into the house with all those wasps around!
In the end I quickly opened the garage doors, popped inside and closed the garage doors again, and amazingly, pretty much all of them stayed outside. Problem solved.
Nevertheless, ever since the honey extracting on Sept 18th, wasps have been hanging around the front of our garage for over a week! I would look out the window and see them there, exploring the garage door (I kept it closed), and whenever I went out to harvest or process vegetables, if I was anywhere near the garage, one or two really pesky ones would come and explore me, buzzing really close to my face and arms. Very annoying! The day of the CSA (Friday), I was concerned that they would still be there and would start to harass the customers! I don't remember having such a wasp problem last year!
Sunday 25th. On this day I removed the honey super on hive 6 so I could put the Apivar strips in. I did not want to deal with it, but if I could just get it done quickly, that would be it!
Before I set out, I heard Norman (who had been mowing outside) come into the house and slam the door. "I just got stung by one of your bees" he said, looking decidedly frazzled. Upon further questioning, it turns out he had been mowing around the hives as he usually does, when one of the bees stung him. I told him that the bees are particularly aggressive at this time of year and I wish I had known he was planning on mowing there since I would have advised wearing protective gear. "Oh really? Now you tell me!" he said.
When I got down to the apiary, there was the abandoned lawnmower in the middle. I hauled it away and got to work on Hive 6.
This time, I did not use the fume board to remove the bees from the honey super. You aren't going to believe this, but I just took out each frame and dusted the bees off, then popped the frame into a plastic storage bin and quickly shut the lid. Bees and wasps were flying in a dense cloud around me, but I had 5 layers of clothing (well, more than one layer at least) and felt I could get away with anything. Then I took off the top box, put in the Apivar strips, lifted it with GREAT effort again and put it back, put the Apivar strips in the top one, filled the feeder with sugar syrup, put a pollen patty on the top and closed it up.
Phew! All four hives now have 4 Apivar strips for mite treatment, full feeders, and pollen patties. Hoo-ray. My job is done.
Actually, not quite. Every 3-4 days I have to fill up the feeders for the next 2 months or so, and at the beginning of November I need to remove the Apivar strips, which involves doing the reverse of what I just described. But my point was, I got those Apivar strips in before it was too late!
As for the honey in the frames I removed from Hive 6, I noticed that most of it was not capped. Only capped honey has the correct moisture level and you are only supposed to collect capped honey. So now I'm not sure what to do. Adam has described putting uncapped honey frames in a room with a dehumidifier, but we don't have a dehumidifier. Hmmm. Will have to solve that problem later.
One final thing: I forgot to mention that on the day we removed the honey supers from Hive 2 to extract honey, I saw something very strange. I was dumping bits of wax comb into the plastic tray I had and I saw a very very strange bee walking about in among the chunks of wax. This bee had no abdomen and not much of a thorax! It was just a head and part of a thorax with 3 pairs of legs, and it was alive, walking along as if there was nothing wrong in the world! How on earth can that be???