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Hornets!

 
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MikeRobinson
Foraging Bee


Joined: 01 Apr 2012
Posts: 200
Location: Upper Northwest Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 2:47 pm    Post subject: Hornets! Reply with quote

Yesterday, I painfully discovered that one empty hTBH box had been taken over by Giant European Hornets, who had built a nest in there the size of a basketball. The little b**tards "hit" me ten or more times before I realized what was happening and returned wearing a full bee-suit. (Yep, it was a sleep-free night last night.)

I destroyed them by pouring gasoline on them and setting it afire, also destroying the hTBH in the process. (It's okay – I'll salvage-off the parts and just build another one.)

However, this morning, there are stll a large number of hornets flying around the area. I don't know if they have another colony in the area, or if they can ground-nest, or if these are simply the ones that are lost and haven't figured out that they have noplace to go. (And, I really need to know this!)

I quickly improvised a trap (one that I use to trap wood-boring wasps), baiting it with jam and water. I don't know yet if/when they will take to it.

However, the presence of wasps is an obvious threat to my nearby honeybee colonies, so I need to get rid of them quickly and for-good.

Suggestions?
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J Smith
Foraging Bee


Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Posts: 169
Location: New Zealand, South Island, Southland, Riversdale.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some will say live and let live.
But me, I am all for destroy the invader. We have the same problem here with German Wasps, not as big but can be very aggressive to honey bees. They either behead and take away the bodies of the bees to feed their young, or raid/steal honey stores to feed themselves. Once scout wasps find a hive and can get in, it does not take them long to whistle up all their kin as to where the easy meal is.
A strong hive with small entrances can defend itself, but a new caste swarm hive, low in numbers and stores can be destroyed pretty quickly, especially in Fall when they should be stocking up for Winter. If there are wasps visiting the hive- odds are a weak colony will not survive the Winter, so in my opinion- destroy the invader for the better good.

Now, depending on when you "torched" their home, the time of day, some of the resident hornets may have been away from home on raiding parties elsewhere. it may be these returning workers you are seeing as wasp/hornets tend to be territorial and you do not often find two colonies sharing territory.
If they are still hanging around, try to follow their flight at dusk. The flight path is often easier to see and follow in lower light conditions. Try to track them back to their lair and deal to them there, late in the evening when they are all tucked up in bed.
If they are not leaving the area at dusk and following the same general direction, odds are they are missed workers from your barbecue and should succumb to the cold of night or be caught in your jam trap.

Incidentally, you do not need to match the gas, a soaked nest will be silenced with the vapours of evaporating gasoline (especially ground wasp nests) and you could reuse the hive.

Get some anti histamine creme on those stings and sleep easier.
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MikeRobinson
Foraging Bee


Joined: 01 Apr 2012
Posts: 200
Location: Upper Northwest Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks. Since the nest was inside the hive, and I could not remove it, I decided to sacrifice this particular hTBH box, which had a lot of insecticide on it also. I'll just remove the screws, cut some new lumber, and reassemble a new one in its place. (Ahh, the beauty of hTBH.)

It won't be "cold" at night around here for several months.

Benadryl softgel-caps, and Niacin, made the discomfort of the stings pass fairly quickly. Thanks.
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J Smith
Foraging Bee


Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Posts: 169
Location: New Zealand, South Island, Southland, Riversdale.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MikeRobinson wrote:
I decided to sacrifice this particular hTBH box, which had a lot of insecticide on it also.


Fair enough, a tbh dosed with liberal amounts of insecticide and gasoline is no home for bees no more, best it was destroyed.

When building the new hive, put some though into the entrances and how they can be reduced, or different methods of entry like periscope and tube entries if Hornets are a problem for you locally.
You possibly just lucked out because the hive was empty and just like honey bees the Hornets were looking for somewhere dry, warm and cosy to set up their new home.
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For clarity, there is no such thing as a 'Giant' European Hornet - only a 'normal' one. They do take a few bees, but not many, and mostly from hives that are weak already.

This is from the Wikipedia entry:

European hornets are often mischaracterised as very aggressive and dangerous, and are greatly feared by some people. Some people believe that "three stings from the European hornet can kill an adult human, and seven can kill a horse." These are common myths – a sting from a European hornet is no more dangerous than any other wasp sting, and European hornets are usually less aggressive than other wasps. In contrast, multiple Asian giant hornets stings are, in fact, more dangerous. While impressive due to their size and loud sound, European hornets are in fact much less aggressive than some of their smaller relatives, such as the German Wasp and the common wasp. When approached, European hornets can actually be seen to slowly crawl backwards and eventually flee, rather than attack.
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J Smith
Foraging Bee


Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Posts: 169
Location: New Zealand, South Island, Southland, Riversdale.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Then perhaps, there has been a case for mistaken identity?
Being unfamiliar with local hornets and wasps to where this occurred- I cannot really say, photos would help I guess, but ten hits in quick succession would be enough to rile me into an attack of my own.
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MikeRobinson
Foraging Bee


Joined: 01 Apr 2012
Posts: 200
Location: Upper Northwest Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep, more-or-less the same here. Smile I don't profess to be an entomologist. All that I really know is that these suckers are big, and that they have a prominent yellow hind-section. They certainly resemble the WikiPedia photo. Anyhow, they are b-i-g hornets!!

Their stings hurt well-enough to annoy me, but they certainly didn't kill me. Yet---(aaack!) Wink

I didn't mind burning-up the box because I certainly knew that I would never re-use it. (And, I have another stack of "found lumber" where those pieces came from.)

Still, I know that they could easily represent a serious threat to the bees that occupy several surviving hTBH's nearby. So, I want them to be g-o-n-e.
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Merinos
Foraging Bee


Joined: 12 Sep 2011
Posts: 163
Location: Brussels, Belgium

PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

errors:

destroying hornets with gasoline

destroying hornets during the day.

the result of this combination result in hornets surviving the fire...

Once you see a problem with wasp or hornets, first THINK &THEN ACT.

Such a nest should be destroyed at night. the flames are to be strong enough in e second (gasoline does it) but should stay strong in the first 5 min. until the center of the colony is burning. There you need straw or small branches.
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MikeRobinson
Foraging Bee


Joined: 01 Apr 2012
Posts: 200
Location: Upper Northwest Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I can assure you ... there is nothing left of the nest that used to be in that used-to-be wooden box. Smile

Checking again today, the hornets seem to have pretty-much cleared the area, but I am still keeping a close watch on that tree. Meanwhile, all of the honeybees appear to be undisturbed. I guess that the episode affected me much more than it ever did them.

Embarassed I do confess, this is the first time I've seen hornets in that pasture, period, and I frankly never dreamed that they'd take up residence in that hTBH box, let alone "to such a grand extent." I came back there, smarting from more than a dozen totally unexpected hornet-stings, wearing my full-suit and ... ahem. Twisted Evil "Flame On!™"

Tomorrow, I'll salvage the wood-screws and the handles, and maybe by this weekend I will have built a replacement. (Vivé la zero-cost beehives!) But, this will be a lesson-learned that, sometimes, other(!) insect species will take advantage of your preparations!
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