Wasps versus bees


This summer is one of the worst we have had for wasps, pest controllers have said, because of the hot weather. The worst wasp behaviour is yet to come, according to experts, with a warm autumn expected, which will cause a longer lifespan for the stinging creatures. Telegraph.

Colonies of honeybees can be stressed by wasps; they tend not to forage while wasps are trying to enter, and once past guard bees, the nurse bees will not challenge wasps, who then rob continuously.
I have moved a small colony away to a safe location. Reducing the entrance enables bees to forage and defend. I have experimented with wasp traps near to hives or far away,  and I find that with a lure which is not attractive to bees the best place is close to the hive.

The trap can fill quickly and it needs to be replenished, yet I find that the traps become more attractive once some dead wasps are in the mix. The jar in the picture after a few days looks like the wasps are fighting to get in!
Strong honeybee colonies will defend well, but not smaller colonies, and we could have weeks to go.

Punch a few holes in the metal lid using a Philips screwdriver about 6mm diameter; this leaves a smooth external entry hole and a jagged internal exit hole. My mix is a teaspoon of jam (I use strawberry) a tablespoon of vinegar, all in a jar half full of warm water; slosh this about at first, place out of direct sunlight, check regularly. I am doing this now in conjunction with a rapid feeder under the lid for this years splits.

Barry Griffiths
September 2018