Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Checked my seven hives early last week after not being able to make the hour drive for two weeks and found one of my strongest hives wiped out due to wasps..I opened it up and and it seemed like a hundred or so wasps flew out from the dead hive..Now I have six hives and three are desperately fighting off wasps. I built robbing screens and put them on in the middle of summer and it seems like the wasps figured it out. Today I closed the robbing screens entrance and any other gap, space and nuc and cranny. I figured I will give the bees a rest for about 24 to 48 hours to let the wasps get tired of trying and find another place if winter weather doesn’t come early. My concern is when do wasps stop foraging and raiding hives? At what temperature do they start to hibernate?
Water Azure Font Clock Screenshot
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
522 Posts
I DIDNT MEAN WASPS I MEANT YELLOW JACKETS!
Worker yellow jackets die with a decent freeze, but the queens winter.

I had thousands and brought their numbers down with a series of traps. I do some open feeding and one way was to drill 13/64” holes (I think) in the side of milk jugs. Bees couldn’t get in but yellow jackets could (at least workers).

I was feeding earlier with a bee to yellow jacket ratio of probably 100:1. They are not gone, but definitely lower numbers.

You can lure them away by open feeding but if you’re not accustomed to it, that can bring its own set of problems. Do some sugar water in milk jugs on top of the hives (since they are already zeroed in) would kill some of them. White or clear jugs work better than yellow. If you’ll click my Instagram link in the footer you can scroll back and find it. There’s also many threads here, including one I started at the time on dealing with yellow jackets. Hope this helps.

Edit: found the link to the earlier thread:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I was curious if the snow and rain would make them dormant or kill majority of the yellow jackets and if the warmer weather later this week will bring them back with a vengeance?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Worker yellow jackets die with a decent freeze, but the queens winter.

I had thousands and brought their numbers down with a series of traps. I do some open feeding and one way was to drill 13/64” holes (I think) in the side of milk jugs. Bees couldn’t get in but yellow jackets could (at least workers).

I was feeding earlier with a bee to yellow jacket ratio of probably 100:1. They are not gone, but definitely lower numbers.

You can lure them away by open feeding but if you’re not accustomed to it, that can bring its own set of problems. Do some sugar water in milk jugs on top of the hives (since they are already zeroed in) would kill some of them. White or clear jugs work better than yellow. If you’ll click my Instagram link in the footer you can scroll back and find it. There’s also many threads here, including one I started at the time on dealing with yellow jackets. Hope this helps.

Edit: found the link to the earlier thread:

I remember reading and liking this post.. I also reread it today after I got home from my apiary. Thanks again! I appreciate it!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
522 Posts
I remember reading and liking this post.. I also reread it today after I got home from my apiary. Thanks again! I appreciate it!
Believe me, no one is as surprised at their reduction in numbers as much as me. Even with this 2-week battle I still pulled/squished a yellow jacket out of an uncapped honey cell twice yesterday during some inspections. They just landed and helped themselves. But 2 months ago I could open a box and 5-6 would be landing in <1 minute. This would throw the bees into thinking they were being robbed. It was quite unpleasant. I'll be putting out a few of the pheromone-based traps in the spring to collect as many YJ queens as possible.

Overall, the EZ Nuc rig with the funnels from "store bought" yellow jacket traps (pics in other post) caught/killed more YJs than the milk jugs, although this was over several weeks. Every 3-4 days I would empty them as they would be filled near the top of the funnel apparatus. Something homemade would have probably worked, and the jugs caught a lot of them. I guess by the time I found out the YJs were raiding some frames I had closed up in the EZ Nucs, they were already honed-in as a colony. This probably led to more traffic. Just get proactive, there are ways of beating them back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,660 Posts
I was curious if the snow and rain would make them dormant or kill majority of the yellow jackets and if the warmer weather later this week will bring them back with a vengeance?
Yellow jackets can stand more cold than bees. If you go out early when it is quite cool you will see them entering and leaving the hives unmolested, because the guard bees are either dopey from the cold or already dead. Put in a hivetop feeder for the bees, and completely close the hives up so the YJs cannot get in.

This year was much better than last, when they cleaned out several hives completely and weakened the rest so the whole yard died over winter, too few numbers. This year I used home made funnel traps and caught them all summer long. Still more than I like but they don't seem to be getting into the hives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
708 Posts
A couple years ago I had a serious YJ problem in early- mid October. Vapor rub seemed to confuse them for a few hours but the effect did not last. I did not try peppermint oil. Reducing entrances and installing robber screens solved the problem for stronger hives, but I had to close my weakest hive at dusk (and re-open in the early afternoon) until the first frost.

YJ around here (I’m in Pacific Northwest) would disappear at the low temps the OP is expecting this week, but they may be different species…
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I hope this cold front wipes them out. I hope they were just having a last feeding frenzy before winter weather. Gonna check them today.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
522 Posts
Again, get proactive. Any time something is waltzing through the front door to carry out groceries I close off the entrance for a few hours (if it’s bees I usually stuff some grass in it), then open just wide enough for maybe 2-3 bees to get through.

Radically cutting down the available entrance (to make it much easier to guard) and putting some kind of traps on top, or very near the hives that are sized for YJ workers will help thin them out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I went up to the apiary last night to open up the hives and to set up more rescue W.H.Y traps..it was raining and the temps were floating around 45 degrees. Saw about a half dozen yellow jackets flying around. Looks like the bees have a good population going into winter. Seems like my Russians did a great job of defending their hives but the carniolans didn’t seem to defensive. Fingers crossed the cold weather will keep the yellow jackets at bay. I kept the entrances small and tight and kept the robbing screens on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,374 Posts
I have to admit that I took perverse pleasure watching my guard bees taking out two yellow jackets yesterday. They showed no mercy whatsoever. J
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
522 Posts
I have to admit that I took perverse pleasure watching my guard bees taking out two yellow jackets yesterday. They showed no mercy whatsoever. J
Over the last 3-4 years I’ve seen a good many bees snatched up by European hornets. I sometimes pick them off with one of the pincher-garbage-picker-uppers one at a time. A few days ago I saw a hornet having trouble lifting off. A honeybee was clamped on its back riding it like some science fiction movie (if they had been much larger). ... made me smile
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,529 Posts
Let me to be the devil's advocate.
I don't know about you but the YTs/Wasps are not my issue.
Never understand what it is about others - a continous roar about unsure what.
They never get beyond my round entrances and don't bother my bees.

If anything, I use the wasps to clean out my combs slightly damaged by the moths.
Like I said I keep such combs outside.
Well, another day I put out some combs with slight damage.
The local wasps (living in our electrical box - because I let them) promptly moved in and took away most all moth larvae - yummy!
Win-win.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Never understand what it is about others - a continous roar about unsure what.
They never get beyond my round entrances and don't bother my bees.
I remember seeing photos of your entrances on other posts.. care to explain a little bit about them. It’s nice to see that some one uses yellow jackets to their advantage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,529 Posts
I remember seeing photos of your entrances on other posts.. care to explain a little bit about them. It’s nice to see that some one uses yellow jackets to their advantage.
Just small round entrances.
The latest hives I constructed have one 1" round entrances and two 0.5" round entrances (pictured). With the weak colonies, I only keep a mid-level single entrance open - the best defended one. That is all it is to it.

Just the bee traffic is condensed to single points where no poorly defended entrance corners exist.
Also, consider that the perimeter of the entrance is the smallest possible with a round entrance v.s. a long slit - this also adds to the dependability of the entrance.

For years now I am amused by all these talks of robbing and wasps - truly a non-issue.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
213 Posts
For years now I am amused by all these talks of robbing and wasps - truly a non-issue.
I think part of it is that we are used to the lang standardized hives with entrances along the bottom. As a new beekeeper I was told that using smaller entrances or robbing screens were not good for bees and a healthy hive never gets robbed out. While that may be true, not all colonies are large and, during treatments, some are vulnerable to robbing.

I like the 1" round entrances or smaller and when I hived a swarm in the only lang deep I had, I just drilled a hole rather than go out and buy a bottom.

That said, last year I had a terrible robbing scenario so my hives have robbing screens on all summer, but I guess it is really just a small 3/4" entrance leading into a screened porch for the bees.
 

·
Registered
About 40 Colonies
Joined
·
6,498 Posts
Let me to be the devil's advocate.
Me too. Though I don't think shape of the entrance matters at all, but I don't think you're implying that. A hole is certainly easier to put in wood than a notch in most cases.

I run triple deeps in winter, building up to 3-5 deeps + 3-7 supers and never run more than the 4.5" opening on the reducer and a 1-1.5" notch at the top for vent/entrance. I have not ever experienced robbing or yellow jacket issues. Many years ago I saw a picture of a very big hive that was living in a brick wall using about a 1" pipe/conduit as their sole entrance. It was at that point I realized that you don't need some massive entrance for your colonies. Certain climates might be different. I don't know about Texas or Florida. But my bees do just swell up here (Iowa) and they're reduced down year-round. And if it is something weak, I use the smaller entrance reducer hole.

My opinion would be that anything getting robbed or yellow jacketed in October is going to be dead before spring (probably before Christmas). Or of strength enough to might as well be dead.

There are people locally who are constantly battling yellow jackets this time of year and I just don't believe that a strong colony has these kinds of issues. Maybe I just have fiercely defensive bees... I had a laying worker colony that I disassembled and stacked on end hoping they would get robbed out. This was end of August. I hadn't been back out until a couple of weeks ago and I went over to clean them up... and they're still defending that box standing there on the short end of the deep. No flow right now, ~30 other strong colonies in the apiary. Not getting robbed. It was about 85 degrees that day and no yellow jackets or other pests bugging them. Don't know... 🤷‍♂️
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top