What to do about hornet

A few weeks ago I was alamed to see what I thought was a hornet showing interest in my colony. But it turned out to be a very large, yellow and red, fly. However this morning I did see a real hornet cruisng round. My bees have been very agitated over the last few days. I had thought it was because the flow of nectar was easing, and they were experiencing some robbing. Guards were out and a few dead bodies in front of the hive. Now I am wondering if this isn’t a response to the hornet, whom I have only seen once. What to do? Mary in Brixton

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6 Responses to What to do about hornet

  1. Paul says:

    Wasp traps will help.

    One idea I’ve toyed with is making lots of small entrances by drilling holes in a strip of wood and placing them over the normal entrances, so the bees have multiple small entrances to defend rather than a few large ones; and because it may act like a queen excluder against hornets, which are quite large. Whether it works I do not know, I’ve never seen a hornet.

  2. andcnov says:

    Now I don’t know whether this really works (I was told this by an old wife) but apparently hornets and similar wasp-like insects are very territorial and won’t nest or stay close to others. A traditional method of keeping them at bay is to blow-up a brown paper bag tie it at the top and hang it where you don’t want the hornets to be as the bag looks like a foreign nest.
    I think the best source of brown bags is from a well known burger chain, but how you’d keep the bag dry, especially in this weather, I’m not sure?
    It won’t cost you much to try it out, please let me know if it works.

  3. maryw7 says:

    Thank you for the suggestion. I will certainly try it out, possibly putting the bag under the eaves of the nearby shed to keep it dry. My bees seem to have sorted themselves out a bit now and, as they are frantically fanning at the entrance, they have in effect created a barrage against robbers and ‘the hornet’. I just was so shocked to see a hornet in the city

  4. Ali Twigg says:

    The brown paper bag suggestion is a good one. Hornets, like all members of the wasp family are very territorial and their scouts will not consider anywhere in close proximity to another nest – mimicked by the brown paper bag. Many gardening companies sell wasp nest impersonators for around £10 and as a wasp re-homer, which I am, I recommend them as they do really work. However, I’ve never heard of hornets showing any interest in a honey bee colony, so I’d be really interested in what you find out if you choose to use this method. Please let me know at ali dot twigg at gmail dot com Many thanks. Ali

  5. Paul says:

    Do hornets attack honeybees? You bet. Here’s a video of 30 (giant Asian, I think) hornets destroying an entire colony.

    However if there’s only a single scout hornet, the bees do have a defense.

  6. maryw7 says:

    Just to follow up about the hornet, in France they also use the brown bag trick. Another tip is to allow the grass to grow up in front of the landing board as hornets don’t like negotiating the stems. French beekeepers have a more serious problem as the Asian hornet, smaller but devastating to bee colonies, has arrived there. These hornets build huge termite-like homes. It is obligatory to notify the local state pest control of any discoveries of such nests – so far three this year. Mary

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