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European Hornets Nest in Apiary - Any action required?

 
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Mark Young
Scout Bee


Joined: 27 Jan 2011
Posts: 277
Location: High Weald, Kent, England

PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 2:56 pm    Post subject: European Hornets Nest in Apiary - Any action required? Reply with quote

Seems that I have a European Hornets nest in my apiary in a disused hive. They are eating a number of bees at the hive entrances while I watch which is worrying. Seem to be picking on one particular hive too; which, unless they know something I do not, isn't a weak colony. There is a lot of them and im not sure what to do. It looks like they are eating bees one after another relentlessly.

I dont like the idea of killing them but cant decipher whats fact from fiction on the internet regarding their impact.
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

you need to contact and report them to DEFRA for a start

then your next action will depend if you want to stay being a bee keeper, as not killing them will mean you will loose all your bees to them,
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CeeBee
Foraging Bee


Joined: 16 Jun 2013
Posts: 104
Location: UK, Cambridge, Milton

PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dexter's shed wrote:
you need to contact and report them to DEFRA for a start...


But he said they were European hornets, by which I assumed our native (in the UK) Vespa crabro, mainly yellow with some black markings, and isn't reckoned to be a major bee predator. I believe I saw one take one of my own bees the other day.

That's as opposed to the Asian hornet, Vespa velutina which is mainly black with just a single wide orange/yellow stripe across. This isn't supposed to be yet present in the UK, but will presumably arrive sooner or later as it's in e.g. France, and is supposed to be a far worse predator of honeybees.

Here https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/beebase/index.cfm?pageid=208 is the BeeBase page on Asian Hornets, and here https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/beebase/downloadNews.cfm?id=123 is the FERA/BeeBase identification leaflet. No doubt more info on there.

So, I guess depends on (assuming just the native hornet) whether they are really catching enough bees to make any difference.
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah, my bad, speed reading,lol
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Mark Young
Scout Bee


Joined: 27 Jan 2011
Posts: 277
Location: High Weald, Kent, England

PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most definitely Natives, quite fascinating to watch and not at all bothered by my presence near the entrance. I can observe noticeable size variations and I cant wait to get some photos.

For now I have moved the hive being picked on and reduced entrances slightly to improve defence. Going to observe and hold back on any rash actions. May even watch a hive for 30 mins and track hornet visits/bee deaths although I suspect a lot are taken on the wing rather than at home?
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Lacewing
Guard Bee


Joined: 08 Sep 2012
Posts: 96
Location: Powys, Mid Wales

PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you think it would be feasible to erect a net around the vulnerable hive - with mesh small enough to discourage/prevent the hornets entering? - Or would mesh that small cause trouble to the flying bees as well? (Have never had to try it.)
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1487
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before too long, they are likely to not be content with taking bees by the entrance. Narrow down entrances on all your hives so that they are easier to defend or as their taste changes to wanting sweet things in the autumn they will start robbing out hives.

This assumes you do not want to destroy the nest which I admit is a thing of beauty. Is there somewhere you could move it to?

And, does anyone know what the hornet equivalent of the less than three feet or more than three miles rule is. Shocked
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1567
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would have been inclined to move the hive containing the hornets nest, to a different location one evening when they were all at home, rather than moving the targeted bee colony, but I'm probably a bit late with that suggestion now.
Hope they don't cause too much of a problem and you are able to leave them to it.

Good luck with them

Barbara
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Lacewing
Guard Bee


Joined: 08 Sep 2012
Posts: 96
Location: Powys, Mid Wales

PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes. Surely to move the hornets if at all possible makes more sense! The problem is going to get worse during the autumn before it gets better, isn't it...
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Mark Young
Scout Bee


Joined: 27 Jan 2011
Posts: 277
Location: High Weald, Kent, England

PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The TBH they are in isn't my best example of joinery and my other site is a fair distance away so moving them is going to be an obstacle I can't see a way around.

I have been watching them and feel they are taking way too many Bees, Its a constant flow of hornets bringing dead bees back to their hive so I'm not really left with much in the way of options...
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1487
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dress up and at night with a rear (red) bike light, pop the nest into a plastic bag and remove it.
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Mark Young
Scout Bee


Joined: 27 Jan 2011
Posts: 277
Location: High Weald, Kent, England

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

catchercradle wrote:
Dress up and at night with a rear (red) bike light, pop the nest into a plastic bag and remove it.


Its a paper nest; most likely supported by being fixed to the sides and top of the top bar hive. So it's fragile and cemented in place.

Hornets are also nocturnal hunters so...

But thanks for the suggestions they are all appreciated.
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MikeRobinson
Foraging Bee


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

PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dealt with that earlier this year ... by burning the hive-box. Salvaged all the parts from it and put the rest into the fuel-box for winter.
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