Thursday, 13 August 2009
Wasps - Hive under attack
The small nucleus hive in the hen run is under attack from wasps.It's quite common at this time of the year, when the wasps nests begin to break up and the adults go foraging for sugar. The stronger of the bee colonies can successfully defend themselves but the small weaker ones struggle to do so.
The bees do appear to be doing their best to defend the hive. Several have gathered around the entrance repelling any wasps attempting to enter.The fact that they are in the nuc. box with only a small entrance hole helps. The hive does seem to be busy with many bees returning laden with pollen, a promising sign that the Queen may be laying.
Typically my son is away and my computer is playing up making it difficult to find much information on the best way to deal with the wasps, but I have read all the books we have on bees and I have tried a few suggestions.
According to the Bee bible by Ted Hooper, jars filled with a mixture of jam and water will divert the wasp's attention and drown them without attracting the bees. It does appear to work as several have drowned so far, it was the last of my plum jam so it had better work !
I have also put out a couple of wasp traps made from coke bottles and filled with a mixture of orange juice, beer and vinegar, apparently bees don't like alcohol or vinegar, sadly it appears butterflies do, as straight away I caught two beautiful Red Admiral butterflies.
I have also placed some of the fondant made for the bees well away from the hive, in the hope that it may encourage the wasps away from the hive.. Not sure if this will work, hopefully it won't just attract many more !
What doesn't work are the grey bags supposedly representing wasp nest, on the market. I bought two and wasps just crawl all over them.