Wasps!

 Vespula germanica

Vespula germanica

Those bloody wasps have just destroyed one of my hives. They are as bad as I have ever seen this year and I am sure the dry conditions have encouraged them.
I have spent two days trying to find the nest without success... I am peeved!
So, I have been hunting for solutions.
The wasps are meat eaters and come in looking for dead bees. Luckily, when they pick up the bee (or dead wasp) and take off back to their hive, they are slower and easier to see, making it possible to see the direction they are flying in to reach their nest.
So what to do...
Firstly, close your entrance to a few centemeters wide. The bees can defend their space better.
Secondly, if your bees are hungry, feed them to keep them strong and able to defend themselves.
Thirdly, use a wasp screen. Here are two options which you can make fairly easily.

This site has good background on wasps in Tasmania and suggests a glass sheet with a bee entrance at the top. (Thanks Karla, our Apiairy Officer)
http://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/biosecurity/plant-biosecurity/pests-and-diseases/european-and-english-wasps
And our friends at Kiwimana have designed a mesh screen cover using the same principle.
http://kiwimana.co.nz/robbing-screen-wasp-and-robbing-honey-bees-afb/

I am heading to the shed to make a glass one!

Happy Beeking!