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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am a beekeeper in Saintes, SW France, a member of the GDSA - a french association for the defence of health in bees. I am looking at a variety of methods of reducing the attacks of the Asian Hornet on bees. We have been under seige since they arrived here in 2005, I see attacks about 40 per hour - losing about 400 bees a day from my apiary, and if they reach the hive they go into beserker mode, they stop taking individual bees back to their nest and and instead totally destroy the colony in a frenzy of killing (see this horrific You tube video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZ1eAM8CChc )

So far I have four lines of defence, only the first one is in place - I need help networking to make the last three viable.

1. installation of a barrier net around the hives which the bees can cross easily but which discourages the hornets, and therefore tends to make them take bees in flight, rather than attacking bees at (or beyond) the hive entrance. I have done this and the net is great as a kill zone if I am on hand with a badminton raquet, but when I am not there it at least slows the hornets and dissuades them from going to the hive entrance.

2. capturing a hornet, and sticking a GPS transmitter to it, then releasing it, so as to track the hornet and find it's nest. (and then destroying the nest). I have yet to find a suitable supplier of insect sized GPS - I know it has been done with bees - if you have any sources /contacts please reply.

3. The Photonic Fence - STAR WARS

http://spectrum.ieee.org/consumer-electronics/gadgets/backyard-star-wars

www.youtube.com/watch?v=0C5vkbtpdN4

This is a very high tech device proposed in 2010 by Jordin Kare for mosquitos. He used lasers to kill mosquitos in flight, and was able to distinguish between male and female mosquitos, so I have no doubt could differentiate between hornets and bees. It is a long shot, but I think his invention could be used to defend beehives. He wrote that the fence could be made with parts bought on ebay for $50 - any electronics whizz kids out there like to try and make this work?

4. Bacillus Thuringiensis - a biological control which exists in many different varieties and is used as a bee friendly contol of caterpillars on commercial crops and in private gardens - it works by killing the larva or caterpillar of the target insect but does not harm bees or their larvae.

The hornets frequently land on the barrier net mentioned above after capturing a bee in flight. They then dismember the prey and fly off with the "meatball". Usually, if I am in the apiary, I hit the hornets on the net with a badminton raquet ..... satisfying but not very effective.

However, if I had the right type of Bacillus Thuringiensis in a spray, I could infect them AND the "meatball" they are about to take back to their nest.

Is it possible that by seeding a hornet nest with a biological control such as this, one could destroy a hornet colony?

So - final request - does anyone know how to get hold of a researcher working on Bacillus Thuringiensis, and maybe finding a variety which kills Asian Hornet larvae?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Forgot to add - hornet traps are already in use everywhere by fellow beekeepers - we try to catch as many queens as we can at the start of the season, but frankly traps seem to have no effect at all, and some argue that they are completely pointless.
 

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I would be upset if I had to deal with them. I have seen the video's. I have thought the only way to prevent them from entering the bee hives is encase the bee hives with screen mesh or something to that effect where bees have several ways to enter, but only the diameter of the bees can get in. Doesn't prevent the hornets from eating them as they come out though.
 

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I have to deal with them every year in Japan. We have three types. Yellow hornets, smaller version of the Asian hornet and the Giant Japanese hornets. They are flying monsters. I use a trap that fits on the front of the hive which is very effective. It doesn't stop them from getting a few bees before they are caught but it does stop the from completely devastating the hives. I just found another trap solution called the Api-Shield hornet trap that looks very effective. I'm trying out my own version of this trap now so I'll let you know how it worked in a few weeks.
 

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they stop taking individual bees back to their nest and and instead totally destroy the colony in a frenzy of killing (see this horrific You tube video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZ1eAM8CChc )
The species of wasp that this video shows is the mandarin wasp. The wasp that colonize europe is the velutina wasp. They are two distinct predatory species. The velutina wasp rarely strikes the inside of the hive, mainly preying on bees returning from field with a steady flight at beehive entrance.

A strategy that seems to be effective is to put a bait with fipronil attractive for velutina wasp and that is repulsive to bees. It is a controversial strategy that brings some side costs that some are not willing to pay.
 

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Hi,

Here is a video of a system a Spanish beekeeper is trying out:

https://www.facebook.com/acaju.comunicacionambiental.9/videos/1224580027569121/

It's in spanish but to summarise it exploits the Velutina's hunting pattern to trap it. Basically, 75% of wasps fly up and away from the hive entrance once they've captured a bee. The apiary is surrounded on three sides and above with netting which channels the wasps into wire netting at the front which is big enough for bees to get through but keeps wasps in. They can't find their way out and eventually end up into the bottle traps where they die.

His system seems to have relieved pressure on the hives quite quickly. One interesting point is that the main problem isn't so much the loss of foraging bees as the wasps besieging the hive entrance. That basically causes the bees to stop all activity to defend the hive which makes it unproductive.

I have no experience of V.Velutina but thought I'd share this video as some serious thought seems to have gone into the design.
 
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