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I do have to ask, if the wasps killed a third of his hives….why did the other two thirds survive?
 

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I have never seen a hive taken down by wasps and this area has them in great abundance. They try to get in constantly, but any decent strength hive can keep them out . I would look elsewhere for the cause , especially in light of the widespread losses and dwindling in the West this winter.
 

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Wasps certainly contributed to hive mortality at one of my sites that I didn't get to to harvest till late. If I got to them earlier, reduced their size and put on robbing screens, the robbing dynamic would have been lessened. I didn't have the same issues at my other sites, for both nucs and production hives.

However, mites and viruses probably played a role in the lead up. If one depends only on treatment, then hives are vulnerable to mite buildup during the summer. If new virus strains are introduced into an area, then effects are magnified quickly.
 

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Over the years I have noticed that individual hives will get mercilessly attacked by wasps/yellow jackets. What I have discovered is that these hives that are being attacked are almost always on the verge of collapse from mite overload. How do I know this? Those hives are almost always dead by the first of the year and a quick hive autopsy immediately shows death by mites, not death by wasps. Now, when I see the wasps attacking a hive, the hive gets treated immediately with a series of OAV, gets a robber screen and gets a frame of brood added to boost its numbers. Yellow jackets and other wasps are predators and like most predators, they will attack the easiest targets. An already failing hive is a very easy target.

On top of that, the article specifically lists yellow jackets as one of the culprits. Yellow jackets live in small nests and generally fly less than 1000 feet from their nest. How many nests would it take to wipe out several beehives that are producing over 1000 new offspring every single day? The math does not work for me.
 

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I have seen wasps furiously attacking strong hives and killing them. I wouldn't believed it before, but after that experience, I well accept that there is such a thing possible.

Besides: the Asian hornet arrived in Germany. I helped taking down a giant nest of those hornets. They kill all weaker hives and starve out the strong hives. Bees do not fly out with those hornets present. I'll post some pictures soon.

Edit: posted the pictures here: https://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?340969-Asian-hornet-threat&p=1703087#post1703087
 

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Wasps certainly contributed to hive mortality at one of my sites
I'm sure that they 'contribute'.
As a primary cause....I don't doubt it's possible but I'd be a bit skeptical. Especially when it was only some of the hives.
 

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I hate to be the cynic here, but this guy didn't lose all those hives from wasps. I have had pallets of bees destroyed by yellow jackets in the fall. It is a very sad thing to witness when your entire bee yard is under attack. Its sudden, violent and almost unstoppable. The big difference with this guy is he has piles of dead bees on the bottom boards. Yellow jackets/wasp attacks leave nothing behind but destroyed comb.
 

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I am skeptical.
Am yet to see wasps/yellow jackets bringing any healthy hive down.
For sure, they will scavenge and pester weak/crashing units.
Maybe even finish them off when they are already about to drop.

But a healthy, strong unit?
Doubt very much.

PS: massive robbing by the bees - entirely different story; wasps just don't have the numbers.
 

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Since wasps and yellow jackets are active at lower temps than honey bees they are able to attack a colony while the bees are clustered on a too cold to fly fall day. Easy access as there is no resistance. The colony need not be weak to succumb to the attack.
The later in the fall the more ravenous the wasps and yellow jackets. I've killed hundreds with my hive tool observing the onslaught. They have become a bigger problem here and all of my yards suffer to some extent.
The wasps kill more bees than they can consume leaving bee carcasses in the hive.
When the bee population is diminished below critical mass they can't control the temps any longer dropping the rest.
A previously well populated colony will indeed have dead bees piled on the bottom board.
 

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I really don't think wasps, yellow jackets or hornets can take down a healthy hive. I had a yellow jackets nest on my back porch in a light fixture and a paper wasp nest on the far side of my front porch. a hornets nest in my back yard way up in a tree and a small 5 frame nuc I started with barley 2 frames of bees late on other side of front porch and they never even drew out 5th frame. Why didn't the wasps take them down all three not even 20 yards away from the nuc that never even had the time to fill out. I think For us southerners probably a better chance of finding a weak hive slimed up by shb before you would find one taken down by wasps or yellow jackets just my inexperinced opinion tho I really can't speech for anywhere else besides here but I don't think they have the numbers or want to to take down a healthy hive just doesn't seem possible
 

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Since wasps and yellow jackets are active at lower temps than honey bees they are able to attack a colony while the bees are clustered on a too cold to fly fall day. Easy access as there is no resistance....
This is a hive configuration issue easily controlled in the horizontal hives - again, use those dummy frames and condense the bees to only the frames they can manage.
Remove un-managed combs.
Done.

Of course even this will not help a crashing colony.
You can only condense so much until your dummy boards meet each other from both ends.
Unit condensing is not practiced with the multi-body hives (not as convenient - true; but possible).
Then you end up with large hive volumes un-managed by the bees - a perfect bait and a foot hold for the invaders to get started, and so the snow-ball invasion builds on..
 

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Wasps took out one of my hives two falls ago....I was open feeding....and they came and took over the feeders...literally.....I was astounded by their numbers. I came back after one weekend gone and I had thousands of dead bees and wasps on the ground outside the hive and inside was pretty much empty....there was little doubt what had happened...and it was my fault for inviting them into the apiary. They took out my weakest hive.
 

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This past fall, wasps tunneled through the styrofoam of one of my hive top feeders. I considered sealing it off until I realized that they were only going into that one feeder and leaving the hives themselves alone. I must have drowned thousands of yellow jackets in that feeder but they never did get into the hive it was on or any others. For kicks, I would smash a wasp and drop it on the landing board. Within seconds there would be a guard bee carting it off. I think yellow jacket traps placed around a bee yard would probably reduce the likelyhood of even a weak hive being taken over.
 

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I have the IPK shb trap by greenbeehives.com on all my hives. It has a tray of cooking oil under a 6x6 mesh screen. I found dozens of yellow jackets in the oil. I don't know if they got through the screen, or got through the gap between the tray face and the trap body. I am thinking the yellow jacket is a little smaller than the bee, and either wanted to get the oil or was chased through the screen by the bees. Either way, the result is fine with me.
 

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I had car issues last fall and couldn’t make it out to one of my apairies for a week, when I finally went to check on them they were getting over taken by yellow jackets. I closed off the hives for two days and placed traps around the apiary.. when I opened them on the third day all chaos ensued.the yellow jackets were flying in from all directions. I easily killed two to three dozen with my hive tool in less then ten minutes. Long story short I lost two hives to them jerks. This year I’m gonna try using fipronil and a stinky can of cat food.. hopefully this will work out better than the 1 liter soda bottle trap.
 

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Thanks to all of you who are much more experienced than am I on this forum. Sharing your wisdom has really helped me.

Yellow jackets are carnivores. Actually omnivores, and they are bullies. They can and will eat most anything such as a dead possum, or your picnic sandwich and soft drink (not that you would necessarily picnic with a dead possum). They nest where it is advantageous even if it is within the walls of your house. You must kill the queen to get rid of the rest of the little bstrds.

The scene: Spring. 2 hives that overwintered well; hive A better than hive B. About 3 weeks into spring, hive B appeared to have simply packed up and headed out, except for a number of bee heads. I moved hive A into a wide open space, probably 350 yards from the owner's barn, where they thrived. Put 2 supers on, and then in mid-July I noticed a lot of yellow jackets going to and from the barn, enough that you could see them using multiple entrances. In August, the hive quickly deteriorated- supers were emptied, hive stores and honey and bees began to disappear, and by mid-August, no honey, no brood, no bees, nothing. The hive was cleaned out and much of the comb chewed and dusted all over the place, adding to the already large scattering of bee parts and many bee heads. The farmer told me that he would be taking the north wall of the barn apart for the yellow jacket nest which filled it. And it was by his report, absolutely Gi-normous. Had I just gone out to that hive more than I did, I might have moved it or maybe saved it, but I am now more in tune to watching for this behavior. I noticed a lot more bee-on-bee robbing behavior this year as well, which is pretty jarring to watch.
 

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I had car issues last fall and couldn’t make it out to one of my apairies for a week, when I finally went to check on them they were getting over taken by yellow jackets. I closed off the hives for two days and placed traps around the apiary.. when I opened them on the third day all chaos ensued.the yellow jackets were flying in from all directions. I easily killed two to three dozen with my hive tool in less then ten minutes. Long story short I lost two hives to them jerks. This year I’m gonna try using fipronil and a stinky can of cat food.. hopefully this will work out better than the 1 liter soda bottle trap.
I don’t know what your weather is like there in Utah, but in the Spring the yellow jacket queen is looking for a home, so kill whatever you see at that time of year. A big difference in amounts of YJ bothering hives later on.
 
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