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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.

Nik



Joined: 27 Jan 2009
Posts: 7
Location: Lancashire
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 11 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

We lost 6 hives last year so I can sympathise. Ours were not the strongest colonies but the wasps were very bad. They started at one end end killed off one hive at a time. This year we reduced the entrance by putting a piece of overflow pipe (20mm) into a board at the entrance. This was an idea put to us by the local bee inspector. They bees have the ventilation they need from the OMF and the pipe gives them some distance to fight off the wasps in a narrow space. Add this to lots of wasp traps, being very careful when feeding and the hard winter last years that reduced wasp numbers generally and we seem to have got through OK this year. Went in the other day to do oxalic acid treatment and one of the hives has bees in a cluster over 10 frames! Can't wait for the OSR to start - we might even cover some of our costs this year if the weather holds.

Dogwalker



Joined: 20 Mar 2007
Posts: 1231
Location: Mid Wales
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 11 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

7 degrees here this afternoon and a few bees flying

meggy



Joined: 11 Jan 2011
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 11 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

We also lost hives last year although they got through the winter to about March (2010) - it seems the badgers were really hungry by then and raided them, scattering everything around and eating through the combs. This happened even with several brieze blocks weighting down the hives. It was so upsetting. We've only got one hive at the moment (at least we hope we have). Hope you get a swarm or two this year to replenish.

blossom



Joined: 06 Dec 2010
Posts: 100
Location: Pays de La Loire, France
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 11 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

I'm interested to know what sort of hives you have. Langstroths? Warre? Peron? Sommat else??

Dogwalker



Joined: 20 Mar 2007
Posts: 1231
Location: Mid Wales
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 11 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

I've got Langstroths because that's what was abandoned in the garden of the house my daughter bought.

One colony and one spare hive. I'm going to try and make time to make a top bar hive for a spare but not sure if I'll be able to.

Nik



Joined: 27 Jan 2009
Posts: 7
Location: Lancashire
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 11 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

We run Nationals as we have quite a collection of parts from various sources and National components are readily available at a reasonable cost.

Lorrainelovesplants



Joined: 13 Oct 2006
Posts: 6521
Location: Dordogne
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 11 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Try cargo straps to hold your hive together if you have a badger problem - it works for us.

We have Smith hives - smaller and lighter for me with my back problems.

Mrs Baggins



Joined: 21 Sep 2008
Posts: 837
Location: West Kent
PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 11 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Blossom. I've got Nationals. And I had the entrance blocks in.

I can't TELL you the animosity I have towards wasps now. I've always been live and let live and never understood why ppl hate them so much. Now I want them all to die. My poor, poor bees...

And the bar stewards ate all our honey as well. I hope it gave them indigestion. Gits.

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