To survive the coming autumn and winter I needed to start feeding them. So a few days later, having made up a batch of sugar syrup (flavoured with lemon verbena!), I returned. Bad news. Dead wasps littered the crown board, but many more live wasps were in the brood box and entering the main entrance.
I spoke to my beekeeper mentor, and he advised me to block the hive entrance completely, and leave them for 48 hours; after re-opening the entrance to a tiny bee-size gap, the bees would be more aggressive, and resume defending the entrance.
I blocked up the entrance, but couldn't bear to leave them for more than 36 hours like this, so early this morning I unblocked the entrance, leaving a small gap, and inspected quickly.
Bad news. The wasps had already managed to create a small entrance, and were entering the hive freely. Inside the brood box, the remaining bees are completely overwhelmed, living in the central brood frames, and are reacting sluggishly.
I am really worried about them. If anyone has any suggestions, please contact me via my contact page. /contact.html