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Wasp Invasion

 
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Melcbee
House Bee


Joined: 19 Apr 2015
Posts: 12
Location: Bristol

PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2015 8:54 pm    Post subject: Wasp Invasion Reply with quote

I visited my two top bar hives today. One does not currently have a laying queen and no worker brood but many uncapped queen cells. The other was more disturbing; upon removal of the lid numerous angry wasps flew at me which took me a minute to identify as not my bees. My last inspection was around 18 days ago and I have no idea how long the intruders have been in there. They are not in the first hive at the moment, the hives are stood together. I was unnerved and didn't open the top bars as I have no experience of wasps and how they behave. Is this hive doomed? Are the wasps likely to enter the other hive too? Any advice gratefully received as to what action I can take. I thought wasp attacks usually came in the Autumn.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1582
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

I think you will probably find that there is a wasps nest built in the roof and the wasps are not actually in the hive itself. You will need to remove it though as it will make inspections difficult. I would get a small cardboard box (shoe box size) and go on an evening with your bee keeping gear on and remove the nest from the lid, place it in the box and move it to a more appropriate location.... somewhere that they have shelter from the wet.
It may take a few days for the wasps to re-orientate to their new location, so be prepared for there to be wasps hanging about for a little while.

Be aware that wasps are much more defensive of their nest than bees, so make sure you have appropriate protection before you move the nest.

Good luck with it

Barbara
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trekmate
Golden Bee


Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 1125
Location: UK, North Yorkshire, Bentham

PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would only add that if you see wasps trying to enter either hive, reduce the entrance size to give your bees less area to protect.
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1495
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interestingly, I removed a wasps nest from the roof of one of my hives only a couple of weeks ago.
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ingo50
Scout Bee


Joined: 30 May 2014
Posts: 311
Location: Newport, Gwent, Wales, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could also try Phil's telescope entrance to confuse the wasps and allow a larger group of bees to defend the hive inside the periscope. if your entrance holes are at the bottom, you would have to plug these and drill new holes near the top and then fit the periscope.
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am afraid a wasps nest in a pitched roof is not at all uncommon. Like the man said provide all your top bars are in place it is unlikely they are in the hive itself. It is worth reducing the entrance to make it easier for the bees to defend and do NOT feed during the day as it will make them a target. I had a full on wasp invasion of one of my hives a couple of years back and they recovered just fine. Be aware that if the wasps are attempting to enter the hive(s) the bees may be more defensive than usual.
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Melcbee
House Bee


Joined: 19 Apr 2015
Posts: 12
Location: Bristol

PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 3:47 pm    Post subject: Re:Wasps Reply with quote

Thank you all for our help. Yesterday I inspected the lid (with full suits and a friend) and indeed there was a sizeable nest of what appeared to be German wasps. This has now been removed and I am afraid destroyed as we had no idea where to take it. Later in the evening wasps were gathering again a little beneath the hive but the bars are all together and the hive has a wire mesh floor. I reduced the entrance way to one hole instead of two on both hives. Are wasp traps advisable for outside of the hives now?
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't recommend putting wasp traps outside hives and they just end up being a wasp lure.

If you are going to use wasp traps set them up away from the hive.
Be aware that the wasps from that nest may well attempt to rebuild it in the same location.
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Melcbee
House Bee


Joined: 19 Apr 2015
Posts: 12
Location: Bristol

PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 8:12 pm    Post subject: Wasps Reply with quote

It appears that you may be right. I lifted the lid this afternoon and a number of wasps arose again. They are reluctant to give up their spot it seems.
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ingo50
Scout Bee


Joined: 30 May 2014
Posts: 311
Location: Newport, Gwent, Wales, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They can re-queen from a single survivor.
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could move the hive a few metres away. Stuff some grass in the entrance and the bees will quite quickly reorient and it will disorient the wasps.
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jumbleoak
Scout Bee


Joined: 03 Aug 2010
Posts: 295
Location: UK, England, Kent

PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as wasp traps are concerned, it doesn't have to be 'yes' or 'no':
- If you already have wasps around the hive, then try a wasp trap
- If it acts as a lure for other wasps from far and wide (which it doesn't, in my experience), then remove it.
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