What should I do to prevent yellow jackets from attacking my hives?

Q. I have a Kiefer Pear tree that is always loaded and lots of them rot on the ground, attracting yellow jackets. Because of an early warm spell followed by hard freezes, 2012 was one of only two years in fifty that it did not bear. As soon as it froze in the fall and the honeybees clustered, the yellow jackets attacked my hives. I closed the entrances and put yellow jacket traps on top of my hives. What should have I done? —Mugwumps

A: Sounds like you did everything right, but perhaps a little late. Next time, consider putting the entrance reducers in earlier, and putting out traps or something sweet AWAY from the hives. (Note: Mugwumps sent us this email last fall. We’re running it now as it is perhaps about to be applicable again this time of year.)

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