Wasps – Hive Under Attack

WP_20150906_011 (2)As we went to inspectWP_20150906_015 (2) the hive this week, we noticed several dead bee bodies around the front of the hive.  These dead bee bodies were joined by several wasp bodies.  Our bees have been under attack by wasps and have been defending the hive gallantly.  As we inspected the hive, we encountered a few wasps, which we made every effort to kill.

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Decapitated Wasp

We did see a couple of active battles.  There aren’t a lot of wasps, just a few at a time and the bees are winning, but it is taking a lot of their time and energy to defend and taking a big toll on our hive.

WP_20150906_008 (2)Wasps are more prone to attack weaker hives and our hive certainly has been through a lot this year with losing and replacing their queen and the effect that had of reducing the hive population.  Plus, wasps attack more docile bees and our bees are indeed docile.  They aren’t as aggressive or mean as some other bee species.  These conditions make our bee hive a prime target for wasps.

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Hive entrance fully opened up.

What can we do?  Narrow the entrance into the hive.  The bees can defend a narrow opening against wasps easier than a wide opening, so we narrowed the bottom opening to the smallest opening with this Hive Entrance Reducer.  Some of the bees are the guards for the hive and with this change, the guards have a smaller area to protect and can be more effective with less effort.


Entrance reducer in place.

Hive Entrance Reducer

Hive Entrance Reducer

Another observation from the hive inspection – we no longer see eggs and larvae.  It looks like our hive has lost another queen.  There are two queen cells with larvae in them in the hive, so the hive is working on producing a new queen.  The hive is already greatly reduced in the number of bees in its population.  We don’t know if they will be able to sustain during the time it takes to replace the queen.  On a good note, we didn’t see any mites.  At least the bees aren’t having to deal with parasites while they battle wasps and replace their queen again.

It’s tough being a bee!  Our hive has been through its share of troubles this year.  We are ready to start feeding the bees sugar water as natural food is drying up.  That is what is next for us as we keep an eye on the queen situation.

Best, Sheri


About sheribettine

I love gardens, bees and family. In this blog, I write about our experiences as beekeepers, organic gardeners, and the love of nature.
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