Robbing by Wasps

Has anybody suffered from wasps as I have this year.  I have lost an entire TBH to them – even with reduced entrance.  25 traps all around, also filled with wasps and hornets, trying to feed the bees as I saw their stores deplete was a stupid wasteful thing to do as it only fed the wasps.  And now they have moved on to the next TBH, but I am more hopeful that they are managing.  My Nationals appear to be OK.
Gareth’s posting on wasted food is just something else to get thoroughly depressed about.  But so true.

Posted on behalf of Tramcaro

This entry was posted in Natural Beekeeping, Robbing, Wasps. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Robbing by Wasps

  1. simplebees says:

    You are not alone. Try closing the entrances completely for 48 hours to allow the wasp ‘footprint’ scent to evaporate. Also tape over any cracks around the tbh that the wasps are using to get in (tbh’s can be very leaky wasps).

    Then open the entrance to a small hole the diameter of a pencil (no more). Push a pencil through some tape over the entrance if it helps, or use a cork with a pencil-sized hole. Feed only small amounts of thick syrup in the evening – no more than can be taken overnight, so there is none left by morning.

    Gareth, Cotswolds

  2. Clare says:

    I too have lost my small colony to wasps. As soon as I realised – it was too late. Opened up the hive to see what the state of play was to find no Q, eggs or brood. Not sure which way round it occurred but know that I had a new laying Q in there a few weeks before.

  3. Eddy Radar says:

    I had robbing in my TBhives as well — but by other bees. Also made the mistake of feeding — it just encouraged the robbers! One hive will probably not make it through the winter, but I hope my other one will, though now I have to battle the condensation that is on their window this morning!

  4. tramcaroC says:

    Thanks Gareth. My entrances (2) were down to a pencil hole size. I don’t think this helped at all. Wasps waited their turn and went in. Bees, weakened through lack of food, have all died. Opening up the hive to start the clean up, shows a thick carpet of them. Also quite a bad attack of wax moth. They too are now all dead and the bars have been cleaned of any webs, though it isn’t possible to get rid of it all. Have put the combs into the freezer.
    Inevitable question: some of the comb is very dark brown. Should I ditch this – it looks free of everything except pockets of pollen – or is it useable for next year’s swarm?
    So far, touch wood, my other hives have survived, though I am suspicious of one of them. My skep colony grows and grows.
    Along with the huge quantity of wasps I have drowned, are a pretty big quantity of hornets.

    • simplebees says:

      The dust from old comb that has been eaten by wax moth is said to be an excellent swarm lure. So I’d let the moth get at those
      old combs and save the dust to put in bait hives!

      Gareth, Cotswolds

  5. Paul says:

    Lest this blog post end up giving a completely negative impression, I’d just like to say my two TBH’s seem unbothered by wasps. I left on holiday mid September and came back 2 weeks later to find the 7 wasp traps I’d left full of wasps… which may have helped… but also a dense carpet of windfall apples round the hives, which I’d have thought was a wasp lure. I’ve been wondering why there was no problem this year. I think it is most likely that around the beginning of September, I reduced the entrances to about eight 8-9mm holes (which were driled into a chunk of wood screwed over the main entrances). These looked like narrow tunnels and probably put the wasps off. They’ve got a downside – a certain amount of traffic jamming when the bees fly, and much fanning at these reduced entrances required to evaporate down the syrup I’ve fed them – but the bees seem happy and barely a wasp to be seen near the hives this last week.

    Another factor may be that I am more experienced this year and the top area of the hive (the bars) is sealed much better.

    Now, it sounds like there are others here who reduced the entrances to pencil size too. So maybe the key is to do it *early* in September, before there’s a problem. Then the dense bee traffic at the traffic jams puts off wasp scouts.

  6. andcnov says:

    Yep! I lost 2 hives to wasps too.
    Did all the things mentioned here, small entrances, well sealed hives, wasp traps (that were full to overflowing with dead wasps) and the silly blow up artificial wasp nests that are supposed to scare wasps away and still they came in their droves (or is it a swarms). I even had a local set of apple trees to lure the wasps away..Ha!
    The only think I didn’t try was moving the hives but as it seems most beekeepers, of all persuasions, were troubled with this problem this year I very much doubt that this would have achieved much and would only have achieved very short period of respite.

    The only consolations that I’ve got is that the hives were weak anyway and there is a school of thought that says that it’s natures way of weeding out weaker strains of bees but al least I’ve got ready made and primed bee swarm traps/lure for next year.

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