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Yellow Jackets and Common Wasps


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Just checked it out myself, and according to Wikipedia 'the common wasp, Vespula vulgaris, known in the US as the yellowjacket, is found in much of the Northern Hemisphere and has been introduced to Australia and New Zealand.'

 

I hadn't realised our common wasp was the same thing as a US yellowjacket.

 

I just (literally 5 mins ago) found a german queen building a nest under the house. I saw her heading for one of the vents last Friday and tried to squash her but I guess I missed. Poked my head under today and there she was making a start on a nest. Needless to say she got the flyspray treatment.

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Hi Paul,

I opened one of my hives just an hour ago and I found 2 of those just above the queen excluder.

Great - they got the squish treatment!

I also just called 'tech rentals', as Grant suggested, to hire one of these 'Thermal Imagiag Cameras', and they want - $478+Gst per day. Sadly not in my budget. I will go hunting again tonight before sunset.

Cheers

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I thought it might be expensive. But offset that against the loss of 26 hives and it may suddenly seem not so. You could try asking a local university if they

  • have the equipment to lend you
  • have a research student/department interested in wasps or bees that would help you locate the hive

 

but I think your best bet would be a maf/council approach for nuisance based on the suspected number/size of the nest.

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Yep, council is my next approach - I also thought about insulation companies. Somebody will help, I am sure.

I am sortof lucky, as I build all my own gear and all I needed was the queens - which I got from Daykel. I was down to 4 hives this spring and I am slowly building up. At present I have 7 hives. I hate to say it - but I am not a 'rich' beekeeper. I will be in a few years if I succeed!!!!

Thanks guys for helping - really appreciated!

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I was hoping to make a few more dollars as I am only a farmhand. Sadly there is not much money in organics either. More a lifestyle choice? The farm went organic on the first of September this year. Now I can't use Carbaryl anymore. So I went and bought these Waspinators. Supposed to work like a scarecrow for wasps. Yeah Right!

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  • 1 month later...

Thought I'd carry on with this thread rather than start another.

Still seeing the odd queen wasp around! Spotted one nosing around the open roller door to the bee gear shed yesterday, managed to close the door with it on the inside. Grabbed some flyspray and went in the other door. Had to wait a couple of minutes to see where it was then gave it a blast.

 

That makes three queens I've killed now. One was making a nest under the house...

 

Saw another normal size wasp today which managed to get itself stuck in a cobweb so I had the chance to kill it.

 

Comparison of a queen next to a normal wasp. Both german's. Seeing the worker wasp around means I now have to go hunting for a nest :(

Wasps.jpg.bb9a6a7d51a27beaf2f298cfd69db985.jpg

 

Or put up a trap... the red stuff near the top is some raw mince I smeared in there. The water in the bottom has a little detergent to act as a surfactant so they down.

I'll be keeping an eye on it, and if it's catching wasps I'll make a bunch more and put them around the place. Of course, I should have done that months ago to get more of the queens before they settled down to breed.

Wasp-trap.jpg.3ca65cc092b0ba2a898c39bdfa63afee.jpg

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I killed two 'GERMAN' wasp queens today. When I was inspecting my hives this afternoon, one was sitting inside the hive and had just killed one of my queens, poor girl was on the floor barely moving.

The other one was just about to enter another Nuc. It was a fresh split I did this morning preparing for new queens.

These 'critters' have NO respect!

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Gosh, I didn't realise they would single out the queen of a hive like that. I also would have expected this sort of activity later in the season. Our school hives have regular wasp visitors and now you have me slightly worried.

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Gosh, I didn't realise they would single out the queen of a hive like that. I also would have expected this sort of activity later in the season. Our school hives have regular wasp visitors and now you have me slightly worried.

Hi Grant,

Wasps are a great problem in the Waitakeres. Hence I do my daily rounds, to check on my hives. I use entrance reducers until the hive is strong enough to fend for itself. In the winter they have 40mm entrances, spring and autumn 100mm and when the flow starts I take the reducers away completely.

Wasps themselves will not go for the quen, but a wasp queen will kill a bee queen to have a honey hive as unlimited food supply.

I am still looking for the nests on or around the farm. To my knowledge, wasps travel a great distance to gather nectar and protein to raise their brood.

Wasps in a way are good too. They clean up around the hives and there are no dead bees on the ground. They are also selective in picking their pray. They will only take bees that can't fend for themselves. More often they will take home coming bees that are tired and rest on the landing boards. Those that enter the hives will take honey. When a hive is weekend by Varroa, they will also take brood - more protein for their brood - until the bee-hive collapses.

I have seen it last year. They can desecrate a hive in days - depending on their numbers. I would not at all be surprised if Wasps distribute Varroa that are hitching a ride. If a wasps enters a varroa infested hive and a mite catches a ride, this wasp could be the distributor of one of our most dreaded enemies. But that is my 'theory' and I would love to hear opinions and experiences from more experienced beekeepers.

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  • 3 weeks later...

'The Wasps are back' - with a vengeance!!!

Over the last month or so there was the odd wasp here and there. Some hanging around the hives, some getting into them, but nothing to worry about, I thought. Thursday and Friday we had heavy rain here in the Waitakeres and I suppose the wasp could not go foraging. So when I went on my round yesterday morning, fine weather, I found hundreds, if not thousand, of wasps in the buckwheat. Hardly any bees were in the buckwheat, just wasps.

So I went to my bees and I found 'MAYHEM'!!! Wasps have anyalated my two latest splits. When I opened both of them 'hundreds' of Wasps came racing out of the hives and started attacking me. So glad I was in a suit!!! My assumption is that because of the bad weather they were pretty much out of feed, the rain has washed the pollen and the nectar out of the blossums and so they went for my hives. No queens left, no bees, no brood, no honey...all gone!

And the weather has turned to custard - again! Which means the wasps will be aiming for my hives again. I was going to go out this afternoon and follow the wasps and hopefully find their nests. But the weather is not in my favor. They can't be that far away as there were literally hundreds of wasps fighting each other for - who gets in first for a free feed.

My next mission is 'Search and Destroy'!!!:devil::devil::devil:

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I have no experencewith this, but maybe someone else has used a tunnel enternce to deter wasps and would like to let us know if they are any good. It is from the Pratical Beekeping in NZ book. It looks like a piece of thin metal sheet that runs about a third of the way back from the enterance and covers the width of the floorboard. Makes a 10mm high tunnel to travel down to get to the brood box. Aparently the wasps will not readily enter this. Good luck Pbee with your search and destroy.

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Oh god sorry to hear that Pbee! That must be so heart breaking rh? I hope you can get out next time we see a bit of sunshine and use their numbers to trace them back to their nests and hit em with a bit of diesel or something... I have heard of tunnel entrances also, think I mentioned them when we spoke....

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Oh god sorry to hear that Pbee! That must be so heart breaking rh? I hope you can get out next time we see a bit of sunshine and use their numbers to trace them back to their nests and hit em with a bit of diesel or something... I have heard of tunnel entrances also, think I mentioned them when we spoke....

Yep, is like a kick in the guts. I will have a look tomorrow early morning, but they are better to spot late afternoon. All weather depending.

Diesel don't do nothing, nor kerosene. I have some really 'nasty' stuff that kills the whole wasp-hive in a matter of hours.

The challenge is in 'finding' the critters. I hope they drown with all this rain!!!:mad:

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  • 2 weeks later...
Have a look at the following link - have not trialed the sugar/vinegar mix yet so am not convinced that it won't attract bees'.

http://completegarden.wordpress.com/2008/09/11/bee-safe-wasp-trap-how-to-make-your-own-for-free/

I have tried this mix and it works. Trouble is though that I have almost more wasps than bees on the land.

8 of these bottles around the hives I had to empty almost daily - without making a significant dent in the wasp population.

In the end the wasps won and took out 26 of my hives.

After talking with Alastair, I have come to the conclusion I must have 100's of nests on and around the farm.

Last season I killed 16 nests and thought I was on-top of things. But the remaining wasp-colonies have feed their way through winter from my hives and have come back this spring with a vengeance.

My hives are ailing. Upon this weeks inspection I have brood in most of the hives, but no stores. Plundered by the wasps.

I envy those who are taking off their first boxes of honey and are putting back on wets to collect Pohutukawa and Manuka honey.

Non if which I will enjoy this year.

My final option is to move the hives onto a new site. Further away and with increased cost of travel and time. Which means more working hours and less time for me. The bees are required for pollination of the farm, so I will attempt to keep one hive on the land, and will probably sacrifice them in the attempt.

The Pohutukawa - and Manuka trees are in full flower - but I can only see wasps going for the nectar.

It tears my heart out!

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It sound like search and destroy is your only real option. Not sure if you have already tried this or if someone else has suggested it but using a compass to locate nests is highly effective. First thing in the morning or last thing at night stand by one of the hives that is being attacked and take a bearing of the wasps flight path (obviously there will be several as you have many nests). Note the bearing/s and then move to a hive that is a few meters away and take a bearing/s of flight path/s. Do the same again at another hive (as far away from the first 2 as possible. Where the flight paths triangulate should be where the nest/s are. Obviously with many nests in the area the accuracy of this method is compromised as 2nd and third bearings may be taken of wasps from varying nests , but once you get down to the last few it is extremely accurate.

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I find jam and frontline is the best control measure that works but you must keep at it

 

I live in an area with bush covered cliffs that are impassible, so tracking wasps is impossible. At times , the wasp activity around the honey house is like standing in a swarm of bees taking off

 

If you are worried about the organic status set the bait station up on the council land

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It sound like search and destroy is your only real option. ....using a compass to locate nests is highly effective.

 

Simple, brilliant suggestion to find the nests. Galileo and more latterly John Harrison would have been proud.

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my view is that the wasps need to be first prevented from entering the hive and then look at where they are coming from.In this light I have made up a simple cheap hive guard,if the spacings could be such that a bee can get through but not a wasp whalah!would be better wider than a queen excluder as they slow bees down,so measurement would be critical,does anyone have an idea what this measurement should be??I guess trial an error could be a last resort.This guard could be put on when attack period starts rather than anything permanent.DSCF0284.JPG.b034e65c35d8931eb5fad0d2f30a67d3.JPG

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