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Mrs Baggins



Joined: 21 Sep 2008
Posts: 837
Location: West Kent
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 11 5:35 pm    Post subject: Sad news... Reply with quote
    

We lost our bees this year. All of them. We are both really gutted about it.

The wasps got in to one hive and made light work of them. It was horrible. We did everything we could to save them but they didn't make it. Then the wasps went for the 2nd hive which defended really well but then the next time we went up to inspect them - they were all gone.

We've got a little honey that we'd taken off earlier in the year but the wasps got by far the most of it.

So we have no bees. SIgh. We plan to get some more.

What a pity, eh? You hear stories of ppl losing their bees and how upsetting they find it all but you have no idea until it happens to you.

SandraR



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 2346
Location: Devon
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 11 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Oh I am so sorry. Best of luck with your new hive.

windyridge



Joined: 03 Oct 2010
Posts: 2732
Location: Up the garden from Henry
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 11 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Sorry to hear that Mrs B. Poor little bees.

Mrs Baggins



Joined: 21 Sep 2008
Posts: 837
Location: West Kent
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 11 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Thanks guys. I haven't even put my name on the swarm list yet as I have been so sick about it. Nor have I told bee group yet. Haven't even been up near the hives since we found the last colony gone. Horrid.

I hate wasps.

SandraR



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 2346
Location: Devon
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 11 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

The year before last we had a small nuc. hive that was constantly pestered by wasps, awful to watch.

The year just gone wasn't too bad for us re. wasps.

I agree - since having bees I also hate wasps.

Dogwalker



Joined: 20 Mar 2007
Posts: 1231
Location: Mid Wales
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 11 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Sorry to hear that.
My big worry is mine won't get throught he winter. So far they're alright but I have to keep going to listen to the hive to reassure myself.

blossom



Joined: 06 Dec 2010
Posts: 100
Location: Pays de La Loire, France
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 11 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Oh that's so sad. I had no idea that wasps were such an awful threat. I'm glad that you shared your news though as I will be a new bee keeper this year and will know to watch out. Is there anything you can do to prevent the situation happening in the first place?

T.G



Joined: 13 Sep 2009
Posts: 7280
Location: Somewhere you're not
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 11 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Aww Mrs B, that's such a shame

Barefoot Andrew
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 21 Mar 2007
Posts: 22780
Location: In the 17th century
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 11 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Duff news Mrs B, sorry to hear so.
A.

oliver90owner



Joined: 11 Jul 2009
Posts: 85

PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 11 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Is there anything you can do to prevent the situation happening in the first place?

A few things, apart from checking around for very close nests.

First, only run strong colonies for later in the season - any splits should be early, or really strong ones. Reinforce colonies or unite - better to save one than lose two.

Get the entrance reduced well before the threat materialises. Running with OMFs certainly needs less than 100 x 20mm entrance and perhaps as little as a couple bee-ways can be required to deter a bad attack. My Dartingtons have only an 8mm entrance and I reduce that to about 100mm, or less, if wasps needed to be seen off - and that is with resonably strong colonies.

Putting a grill over the full entrance, to reduce the effective area is apparently a good method, especially if the bees then need to go along a tunnel just inside the grill to gain entry into the box - the bees find their way in and out but the wasps spend a lot of time trying to find an entry where they can see bees in the entrance area, but cannot nip in due to the mesh.

Keep the brood nest close to the reduced entrance (I prefer warm way for the frames and would leave the entry point in the centre - as close to the brood nest as possible, so reinforcement bees are close at hand if a wasp gains entry and needs to be subdued, before throwing out the corpse. Certainly do not position the brood nest at the back of a box!

Preventing entry is far better than attempting to stop the attack after the wasps have gained entry.

I only deploy wasp traps when the wasp problem is actually around the hives - no point in attracting wasps to the apiary. Trapping the queens early in the season before her nest hatches the first worker wasps will reduce the potential for later attacks.

Avoid leaving any attactants around - honey comb, feed spills etc.

Wasps have a part to lay as scavengers so are good on balance. They only change into a nuisance when the nest has peaked and the number of worker larvae reduces (they are fed on a 'meat' diet and exude a sugary food for the worker wasps feeding them)

Running several colonies is a definite help as one cannot unite if you only have the one hive, nor can one move across frames of hatching brood, to reinforce a weaker colony, unless one has sufficient depth of reserves. If I needed to unite a couple of colonies I would not be reducing my colony count by anything like 33 or 50%!

If it is one wasp nest where the attack is coming from, dusting the wasps with flour or icing sugar can help to locate the offensive nest.

Hope that gives a few helpful pointers. I have lost colonies to wasps but these days I know what I need to do to prevent the carnage, so have not had any trouble these last few seasons.

Regards, RAB

darkbrowneggs



Joined: 14 Jul 2010
Posts: 663
Location: Worcestershire
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 11 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

So so sorry to hear that - I lost my 4 hives last spring, when one of the local farmers sprayed for pollen beetle and it drifted over my land.

I really missed them over the summer, the garden seemed so quiet.

Sue

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8407
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 11 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Sad news.
Are you sure they weren't weakened by another cause prior to the wasp attacks.
Strong colonies, as has already been said, rarely have a problem.
Have you sent any bees for analysis?
IMHO I would be wary of putting bees back in the same hives without scorching the woodwork & replacing the frames & wax.

Lorrainelovesplants



Joined: 13 Oct 2006
Posts: 6521
Location: Dordogne
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 11 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

agree with both the last posts....

most strong colonies can fight off wasps....and keep all bits of brace comb etc away from hive(I put it in a tin and remove).

To all with hives, also - far too early to be checking your hive.......any bees showing any life right now will be weakened by disturbance as they use up a lot of energy getting riled.....

leave till march or at least till you see bees flying and then give a feed.

Mrs Baggins



Joined: 21 Sep 2008
Posts: 837
Location: West Kent
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 11 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Thanks everyone.

Yes they were a huge colony and seemed to be defending splendidly at first but the it all went horribly wrong. Which all adds to the shock and disappointment.

We did everything right and even got the local bee inspector involved but it wasn't to be.

We had a bluff in front of the hive last year which got moved in an apiary tidying exercise and never got replaced. We think that made all the difference. We'll be putting that back in place in future.

We were going to shook swarm this year anyway so were planning to scorch the stuff they were in anyway. It's a no brainer now.

Still really sad. I have been avoiding going up there as it feels so quiet and empty without them. Sigh.

alison
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 12918
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 11 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Very sorry for you.

It is horrible loosing a hive.

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