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Wasps catching bees in mid flight is this ok ?

 
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charentejohn
Foraging Bee


Joined: 26 May 2012
Posts: 100
Location: Central France - Charente

PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 11:14 am    Post subject: Wasps catching bees in mid flight is this ok ? Reply with quote

Obviously not ok but the small colony in a box on my garage wall seem to have larger wasps/hornets preying on them. The bees are the small wild type and I first thought (as I know nothing of what is what) that as there was only one, about 3x their size, it was a queen.
I think as more are arriving about 4 at a time they may be wasps, they seem to pick up bees in mid air and carry them off. As it is late in the season perhaps this is normal to prey on them, if not is there anything I can do ?
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BridgetB
Scout Bee


Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Posts: 355
Location: UK Cornwall, Falmouth

PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are they Asian Hornets? That is their behaviour to catch them outside the hive. An Asian Hornet trap would be the answer as well as reducing the entrance. I have stood outside my hive swatting any wasps I could, but they are pretty nimble. Asian Hornets are active still in November. Have a look online to find pictures and solutions.
All the best
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charentejohn
Foraging Bee


Joined: 26 May 2012
Posts: 100
Location: Central France - Charente

PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think they are asian hornets, too small. Looking at photos on the net they could just be wasps. Hard to find pictures of all species as most sites just give examples of the differences between bees wasps and hornets.

Windy today and all seems ok as just the bees about. Whatever was taking them looked like a bee, not smooth bodied, but bigger and a bit longer.
The colony seems ok and all coming and going as usual so hopefully not a serious problem, I was just wondering if this happens often ?
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1581
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've seen wasps pounce on bees that misjudged the entrance and landed on the ground below the hive. They usually cut them in half, I assume to access the nectar in their honey stomachs. I've not seen them take them in mid air before.
At the moment there are a lot of wasps about trying to get into the hives to rob them. I have seen several inside one hive through my observation window but they were getting a hard time and were looking for a way out. It appears that early in the morning the wasps are flying sooner than the bees and taking advantage of the lack of activity at the entrance to get in. Later in the morning when the sun hit the hive, they were easily being repelled at the entrance and there were several dead ones on the landing board, so I'm reasonably confident that my bees are holding their own at the moment but it's important to be vigilant. I have toyed with closing the hives up overnight and opening them when the sun gets onto them so that the wasps can't sneak in whilst they are still clustered.
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charentejohn
Foraging Bee


Joined: 26 May 2012
Posts: 100
Location: Central France - Charente

PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that, the hive is on a west facing wall so no sun until around 2pm. Temperatures are ok during the day but the bees do seem slow at the moment, the ones taken seemed to drift up to the invaders aimlessly, rather than attacking.

I will keep checking during the day to see what happens. All bees taken were in flight despite a large cluster around the entrance who were not touched. I can't narrow the entrance as it is a large bird box they occupied and it is in a bit of a state.
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charentejohn
Foraging Bee


Joined: 26 May 2012
Posts: 100
Location: Central France - Charente

PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just checked again this morning, cool but not cold and some small predation.
Seems two or four wasps (I think wasps is right) are taking bees, random visits where they take one at a time.

I doubt there is much I can do, apart from swatting the wasps but they have a right to live too. As long as this is normal and won't damage the hive I will leave them alone.

Sad to see them taken away but that is nature, the wasps will be prey for something else. I assume the workers will die off for the winter soon, any idea when ?
Currently plenty of activity with bees coming and going. The bees just ignore the wasps, no attempt to attack them and the wasps aren't trying to enter the hive.
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


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

PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I put out wasp traps - plastic 2litre drinks bottles, top cut off and inserted upside down. I bait either with jam or with water sugar and yeast. One year I filled a 2litre bottle with wasps in less than a day.
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charentejohn
Foraging Bee


Joined: 26 May 2012
Posts: 100
Location: Central France - Charente

PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just found out workers live different periods depending on when born, so these workers should be around a while now. I guess if numbers are reduced they will be replaced if needed for the winter ?

I checked today, sunny and warm, and no wasps when I looked. I don't think this is a constant predation just random attacks. Not much to be done but I will keep checking to see what happens
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