Ideal wasp trap or vespid torture?

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Amari

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My main apiary of eight hives is 800m from home. I have two cabinets there for spare CBs, QXs, clearer boards etc but have to store my BBs and supers in the open a few yards from the hives. Most times I can keep the stacks robber-proof by careful positioning.

This has been a shocking year for wasps, and being smaller than bees, they will find the smallest crack between the worn surfaces of elderly boxes. Driven to desperation two days ago I deployed some mattress covers that I'd purchased for a bad wasp year some time back. Each cover extends to ground level.

Today this is what I found. I could not see where they were entering. I couldn't help feeling an ungodly schadenfreude.
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enrico

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That hi
My main apiary of eight hives is 800m from home. I have two cabinets there for spare CBs, QXs, clearer boards etc but have to store my BBs and supers in the open a few yards from the hives. Most times I can keep the stacks robber-proof by careful positioning.

This has been a shocking year for wasps, and being smaller than bees, they will find the smallest crack between the worn surfaces of elderly boxes. Driven to desperation two days ago I deployed some mattress covers that I'd purchased for a bad wasp year some time back. Each cover extends to ground level.

Today this is what I found. I could not see where they were entering. I couldn't help feeling an ungodly schadenfreude.
View attachment 33159
That is horrific!
 

Amari

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Crikey Giles. I’ve hardly seen a wasp here. One or two in the insectocuter.
Crikey Giles. I’ve hardly seen a wasp here. One or two in the insectocuter.
Yes, every beek around here has been inundated. The omens were bad in spring with numerous Q wasps. I have had a few calls from folk finding wasp nests on footpaths. 2008 was the previous worst year when wasps spoilt a 'street' party in our lane to mark the 60th birthdays of SWMBO and two other residents.

Where does one draw the line? On the one hand maybe we should all be disciples of Jainism: BBC - Religions - Jainism: Jainism at a glance
Surely wrong to kill all living things, including bacteria? Penicillin is evil? Spare a thought for varroa mites being vaped with OA. As for culling asian hornet nests, well.....

On the other hand, are wasps sentient? If not and they 'selfishly' attack the wellbeing of fellow insects and food production of humans then maybe it's in order to dissuade them in the apiary?
 

Erichalfbee

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Much is made if not killing wasps. At this time of year the nests have matured. Their function in rearing the next generation is done. I guess everything is dispensable in the end.
 
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Yes, every beek around here has been inundated. The omens were bad in spring with numerous Q wasps. I have had a few calls from folk finding wasp nests on footpaths. 2008 was the previous worst year when wasps spoilt a 'street' party in our lane to mark the 60th birthdays of SWMBO and two other residents.

Where does one draw the line? On the one hand maybe we should all be disciples of Jainism: BBC - Religions - Jainism: Jainism at a glance
Surely wrong to kill all living things, including bacteria? Penicillin is evil? Spare a thought for varroa mites being vaped with OA. As for culling asian hornet nests, well.....

On the other hand, are wasps sentient? If not and they 'selfishly' attack the wellbeing of fellow insects and food production of humans then maybe it's in order to dissuade them in the apiary?
Are you certain that's a bee hive? Someone needs to tell the wasps they're not bees!

Maybe, you saved them from a lingering death from starvation!
 

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No, that's a stack of stored supers and brood boxes covered with a poly-bag.

So the wasps appear to have been targeting the stack based on its physical form and have been caught in the bag?

James
 

Amari

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So the wasps appear to have been targeting the stack based on its physical form and have been caught in the bag?

James

I doubt if wasps care about a physical form - they'll investigate anything and everything.

On reflection, I'm not sure if the wasps pictured have found a way to get into the bag (but can't find any way out) or whether they were already within the stack in hundreds and can't find a way out of the bag. I now suspect the latter.

In previous years the bags have trapped small numbers of wasps day by day.
The bags are removed at the end of the wasp season and many years, eg 2021, are not deployed at all.
 

The Poot

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In that you’ve had a severe drought, has the ground cracked under the boxes, thus allowing entry? Here, on clay, there are cracks galore and also wasps galore and I’ve not been able to find a nest, other than a small one (now dealt with) in a bait hive.
 

Amari

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In that you’ve had a severe drought, has the ground cracked under the boxes, thus allowing entry? Here, on clay, there are cracks galore and also wasps galore and I’ve not been able to find a nest, other than a small one (now dealt with) in a bait hive.
Good thought but no: each stack sits on a hive roof.
 
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The Poot

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Much is made if not killing wasps. At this time of year the nests have matured. Their function in rearing the next generation is done. I guess everything is dispensable in the end.
Lots of wasps this year, doing what they do....taking grubs, caterpillars, ladybird larvae etc etc. Noticeable here that there are hardly any butterflies or moths, no ladybirds at all and bats flying in the early afternoon - a sign they are desperate for food. I really question the value of wasps
 

Karol

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I doubt if wasps care about a physical form - they'll investigate anything and everything.

On reflection, I'm not sure if the wasps pictured have found a way to get into the bag (but can't find any way out) or whether they were already within the stack in hundreds and can't find a way out of the bag. I now suspect the latter.

In previous years the bags have trapped small numbers of wasps day by day.
The bags are removed at the end of the wasp season and many years, eg 2021, are not deployed at all.
There are two reasons why wasps will go after supers. As a source of wood earlier in the season which is when the supers need protecting and during the sweet feeding season after traces of sugar/honey when the supers don't need protecting.

If you have a location far enough from people and hives to be safe, I would suggest leaving the supers open to the elements. That way the wasps will pick the supers clean for you. Then just before use give the supers a quick wash with a solution of soda and rinse off with clean water.

One warning though. Make sure the supers are far enough from any hives and that wind direction wise the plumes they eminate don't complement those of any nearby hives otherwise the supers will draw wasps to your hives. Not good.
 

Amari

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There are two reasons why wasps will go after supers. As a source of wood earlier in the season which is when the supers need protecting and during the sweet feeding season after traces of sugar/honey when the supers don't need protecting.

If you have a location far enough from people and hives to be safe, I would suggest leaving the supers open to the elements. That way the wasps will pick the supers clean for you. Then just before use give the supers a quick wash with a solution of soda and rinse off with clean water.

One warning though. Make sure the supers are far enough from any hives and that wind direction wise the plumes they eminate don't complement those of any nearby hives otherwise the supers will draw wasps to your hives. Not good.

Unfortunately the stacks are only a few yards from the hives. The apiary is in the corner of a large fallow field so I could stack the supers c.80m away but that would add a cumbersome transport shuttle. Two dwellings are 100m distant.
As Dani says above (post 6), the wasps have finished brood rearing so presumably we should do everything possible to deprive them of food - otherwise they'll live on for several weeks.
 

Erichalfbee

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Lots of wasps this year, doing what they do....taking grubs, caterpillars, ladybird larvae etc etc. Noticeable here that there are hardly any butterflies or moths, no ladybirds at all and bats flying in the early afternoon - a sign they are desperate for food. I really question the value of wasps
Do you think that’s down to wasps
Every year we get masses of caterpillars on the nettles. Nothing this year.
Have seen few butterflies of any kind, not even Meadow Browns.
 

The Poot

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Do you think that’s down to wasps
Every year we get masses of caterpillars on the nettles. Nothing this year.
Have seen few butterflies of any kind, not even Meadow Browns.
Everything seems to go in cycles, so not just down to wasps. I just think the “food bugs” are more valuable for birds and bats than wasps!
This year it seems things are really out of sorts. I reckon we’ll need to feed early this year with next to nothing flowering for the bees through August - most stuff has already finished and the drought is forecast to continue. Wasps here are definitely into sweet stuff now with the hives under attack. Entrances are reduced. I have up to seven wasps at a time in my garage sniffing round the stored supers, all double bagged and stacked with boards top and bottom. Hedgehogs are out and about very early evening - well before dusk. Everything seems under pressure to find food this year.
Other than that it’s all good😜
 

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