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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Ogden, Utah
    Posts
    84

    Default Yellow Jackets casually coming and going

    While refilling the frame feeder in my weaker hive on Saturday, I noticed no less than six yellow jackets casually land in front of the entrance reducer (approximately 3/4 inch opening) and stroll into the hive without any attempts from resident bees to stop them. I glanced into the top of the hive (single deep) and noticed what appeared to be a satisfactory population... at least numerous enough to defend the entrance if need be. So I'm thinking that one of two things is happening. First, the hive is being actively robbed and the bees I'm seeing are from a neighboring hive, which would explain the yellow jackets ability to enter the hive unobstructed. Or second, the relatively few yellow jackets are not enough of an issue for the resident bees to concern themselves with. Is this possible?

    Not sure if it matters, but I also saw a dozen bees return with pollen sacks brimming at the same time as the yellow jackets.
    If God doesn't want us to eat animals, why did He make them out of meat?
    Zone 5b - Utah - Elevation 4,300 ft

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Grays Harbor County, Washington, USA
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: Yellow Jackets casually coming and going

    Yellowjackets strolling freely in and out is not a good sign.
    Rusty
    http://www.honeybeesuite.com "A Better Way to Bee"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    357

    Default Re: Yellow Jackets casually coming and going

    My vote is One! Typically yellow jackets are never just allowed to freely enter and exit any hive, but especially one with an entrance this size. Are there wax dots/specs in front of the face on the deep? Pull the reducer out and look for wax cappings on the bottom board or screen (both signs of robbing). Before winter on a warm day, you might want to consider pulling a frame or two to see what's really going on inside, if you can not visually from the outside, and yellow jackets are still coming and going.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,817

    Default Re: Yellow Jackets casually coming and going

    I actually think that even some strong hives begin to tolerate the yellow jackets after having to deal with them for a few months straight. I have noticed that the guard bees at the entrance reducers put up with them more in the last week or so, and these are not weak hives in the least. Some jackets even are allowed to go inside without any harm to them, I don't really know the reason why it has been like this lately, but I do know that a couple weeks ago the bees would not tolerate the jackets around the entrance at all.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    114

    Default Re: Yellow Jackets casually coming and going

    I saw the bees evict a yellow jacket from inside the hive yesterday. They just dragged it out like it was one of those beetles. First time I've ever seen one make it inside.
    "If I only knew then what I know now but keep forgetting"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greater Hartford area, CT
    Posts
    202

    Default Re: Yellow Jackets casually coming and going

    I don't yellow jackets walking about freely is a good sign either. As a first year beek, I probably don't know much, but I'm inclined to agree that you're probably seeing robber bees.

    There must be a ton of yellow jacket colonies in my area because they are all over the place. I regularly have had to remove nests from all over the yard this summer. Ever since fall began, they've been a constant nuisance, too, trying to get into my hive. However, I've never seen one actually make it inside. My girls are positively vicious when it comes to the yellow jackets and take them out pretty much as soon as they come sniffing around -- which is about every 15 seconds or so in this chilly weather.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,695

    Default Re: Yellow Jackets casually coming and going

    3/4 inch opening is small enough for bees to guard, but also the entrance should be in the middle, or right next to the bee cluster. in a weak hive if the entrance is off to the side away from the bee cluster the bees are less inclined, or able, to guard it.

    Secondly if the yellow jackets have found the syrup they will keep trying to get it and a syrup feeder is impossible for a weak hive to guard. If the bees need feeding, try to give them a solid shot of syrup mixed as thick as you can, to get the job done quickly & remove the feeder. Mix it thick cos it's the sugar you are feeding them, not water.

    And another factor is varroa mites, the more mites a hive has the more prone to wasp attack. Cos the bees throw out affected larvae which is a draw for wasps plus the bees are generally debilitated even though it may not appear that way at the entrance. In my yards if I see wasps focussing on one particular hive and entering it, it normally turns out that hive has a higher than acceptable varroa level.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Ogden, Utah
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Yellow Jackets casually coming and going

    Update: A few days ago, it got up to about 60 degrees in my area. The yellow jackets were still trying to get in, but the guard bees were out and doing their job surprisingly well. But yesterday it was pretty cold again... maybe 40 or 45 degrees with a cold breeze. I noticed the yellow jackets were coming and going freely again. The fairly obvious conclusion I've come to is that honeybees aren't as cold tolerant as yellow jackets. Which means if the temperature is too cold for honeybees to fly/break cluster, but not too cold for yellow jackets, then it'll be a free-for-all. Any ideas on how to prevent this or should I not be concerned?
    If God doesn't want us to eat animals, why did He make them out of meat?
    Zone 5b - Utah - Elevation 4,300 ft

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,695

    Default Re: Yellow Jackets casually coming and going

    Yes that is a problem once it gets cold.

    But once it gets a bit colder still the yellow jacket's nests die out for the winter.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Yellow Jackets casually coming and going

    I'm having the same issue with wasps. I've already lost one weaker hive to them. Even with reduced entrances there are wasps attacking all my other hives. Seems to be worse now since the weather got cooler. Any suggestions? I've got a couple of traps out but they don't seem interested. What about shutting the hive up completely for 24 hours? Thanks!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Yellow Jackets casually coming and going

    Quote Originally Posted by Queenie View Post
    I'm having the same issue with wasps. I've already lost one weaker hive to them. Even with reduced entrances there are wasps attacking all my other hives. Seems to be worse now since the weather got cooler. Any suggestions? I've got a couple of traps out but they don't seem interested. What about shutting the hive up completely for 24 hours? Thanks!
    Thought I'd update on this post. I've been monitoring the situation in my bee yard and the wasps are showing no sign of relenting. I am seriously concerned about two more hives that look like they may have given up and are letting wasps in, so I've screened over the entrances so the wasps can't get in. My hope is that the wasps will give up and move on or we will finally get cold weather to kill them off. I'm thinking the bees should be ok inside for a couple of days (48 hours). Does anyone know how long they should be ok kept locked inside? Thanks!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,695

    Default Re: Yellow Jackets casually coming and going

    Provided they do not cram the gauze and block ventilation, a weak hive in cool weather can be locked in for several days, don't let direct sun shine on them though.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

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