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Hornets v Bees - no contest

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Rosti 

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By way of explanation I am in Northern Spain on business at the moment.

I am astounded at what I have just witnessed!

On way back to hotel this evening came across some honey bees feeding on a spilt sugar source, of course I stopped for a look. Actually what I saw were bees feeding on sugar, hornets feeding at will on bees. Huge in comparison perhaps 4/5 times the size? Swoopping in, chop off head carry thorax/abdomen away - with ease. The bees seemed oblivious? Impressive but scary efficiency, if it were a hive I suspect the bees wouldn't have stood a chance.

I thought hornets attacked and killed bees to over-run a hive for honey and larvae, apparently not in this case? I hope hornets prosper, but not round my hives. Wow!
 

Hivemaker. 

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Yes the hornets will take the bee's from anywhere....back of my truck where there are sometimes bits of fondant which attracts the bee's,which in turn attracts the hornets to nab the bee's and disect them.
 

Chris Luck 

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Masses of Hornets here and to be truthful Vespa crabro the European Hornet isn't really that much of an issue, I have several nests in relatively close proximity, nearest about 100 metres from the hives. Incidentally all European Hornets are the same species and same size.

Yes they nick bees from in front of the hives - protein food for their larvae, but it isn't enough to worry about AND they never try to enter a hive. Bees are taken or die all the time, in fact crab spiders probably kill far more Honey bees than Hornets do.

The problem that we do have here is Asian Hornets Vespa velutina nigrithorax. These also take bees from in front of the hive and will cause serious problems including the total destruction of the colony if they are present in sufficient numbers.

The difference between the two species is that European Hornets will take any insects as prey. The Asian Hornet specialises in Honey bee colonies and also communicates to the other members of their colony where a "hive" is.

I have an Asian Hornet nest somewhere in the area but so far I'm only killing one or two a day, I suspect I'm at about the flying limit for their nest.

Chris
 

susbees 

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Incidentally all European Hornets are the same species and same size.
If you mean hornets in Europe then that is incorrect, but I don't think you did. Anyway, Vespa orientalis (Oriental Hornet) occur in Italy, Greece, Turkey etc. Got some pics on my HDD somewhere from Turkey.

However, it would be correct to say that le frelon (European hornet) is many people's first hornet encounter on a French holiday! The European hornet is protected in Germany...I wonder how they minimize predation on their bees?
 

Chris Luck 

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Quite so susbees, I wasn't thinking of southern areas, Greece, Turkey etc. None the less the European Hornet doesn't cause any real problems for bee colonies as I said in my post, unless I suppose you had a colony that was on its way out anyway, but this has never been my experience and I do have large numbers of them roaming the apiary on a constant basis.

Facts and experience are always better than imagined threats.

These on the other hand are an issue, although fortunately as I said, I have very few so far and it's managable.



Chris
 

MMJ100 

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Chris Luck,
Thank you I gain much conficence from your comments. I just hope you are right.

I have for the past couple of weeks, approx 3/4 hornets around only one of my 5 hives all the time.
They seem to have varing degrees of success but do take bees regularly.

Actually last weekend I seemed to have a problem with bees outside this hive (reported on another thread - Which went away) and they seemed to prey on the weak bees.

What I find incredible is that now the bees love to sit on the door step in quite a large group and this seems to defeat the hornet somethat.

So far here near Nice I have not seen the Asian hornet - thank "the bee" god.

Michael
 

Norton 

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Vespa orientalis is a major pest here along with the european bee eater (Merops apiaster) at this time of the year.
Best regards
Norton
It's hot in the south east.
 

MJBee 

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My traps are producing a ratio of 2 European to 1 Asian. I must have an Asian hornet nest near me but as they are usually high in trees (more than 20 metres) they are invisible until the leaves fall and by then the damage is done. So far I have not had a mob handed attack, just individuals who, when seen were despatched via badminton racket:smash:

As if that was not enough, I spent 10 minutes watching a spotted flycatcher who had worked out the flight path of the bees and was sitting on a post then flying vertically to grab an incoming bee. Tough on the bees but a lovely bird to watch.
 

blackbrood 

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thanks Chris, thats look similar to wasp traps and easy to make.
 

Rosti 

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Hornets Taking Bees

As previously mentioned this is in Northern Spain rather than Northern Yorkshire I'm pleased to say. Another instance of hornets taking bees, this time I had my camera with me. The second take is so 'casual', at one point the bees looked like they were 'mobbing' one of the hornets but it didn't phase it at all. In total 8/9 hornets were taking turns and being replaced by others as they flew off with bees. R

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdotiJQL6aQ"]Hornets taking bees[/ame]
 
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