My #1 hive is dead. This hive was started in Spring 2010 and was always strong. I couldn't ask for a better queen, she was an egg-laying machine. The hive we started in Spring 2011, on the other hand had nothing but challenges. This summer #2 issued at least one swarm, had serious wax moth issues and was at risk of dying out by June. We managed to get all the wax moth and combined one full deep of brood and bees from #1. it was touch & go but #2 finally started to take off. Both colonies were queen right, and had good food stores, although #2 was lighter than i liked. We began feeding in Sept'r. I've always used entrance feeders w/o any problems, but this year there was a lot of robbing, so i fed away from the hive. When i removed the feeder from #1 there were a lot of yellow-jackets under the jar. more YJ than usual were hanging around the beeyard. we were finally able to get 2 hive-top feeders but there has been very little activity at either hive. activity at #2 has been on the increase, lots of bees bringing in pollen. #1 activity has been declining. When i was checking the feeders yesterday, i saw a YJ in the feeder (on the hive access side). Today was a sunny day in the low to mid 70's so we opened up #1 to do a quick inspection. There is NOTHING. barely any food; not enough bees to cover one side of a medium frame; no brood; no queen. on one med frame we found a dozen queen cells that had been chewed from the sides.
Might the queen have been killed by the YJs? She was doing so well