Ideal wasp trap or vespid torture?

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JamezF

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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.

I've been wondering about this for a while. Until the ivy flowers there doesn't seem much forage left at all other than gardens and there aren't really many of those around here.

James
 

Karol

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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.
As with all eusocial insects, the species survives through its sexual progeny most notably through mated queens. By and large workers sacrifice their own sexual reproduction in return for security within the nest and as such are 'ecologically' expendable. So once wasps enter the sweet feeding season post production and mating of their sexual progeny there is very little impact on the species in eradicating sweet feeding 'nuisance' wasps. Depriving them of food would be nigh on impossible and would be counterproductive because it would simply concentrate wasp attacks on hives.

Best thing is to have strong robust colonies and wasp resistant entrances. If that doesn't work because wasp pressure overwhelms the hives then there are other integrated wasp management measures that can be taken.
 

Karol

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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
Wasps do serve a purpose. Populations do oscillate and when wasp numbers are high they do decimate local insect populations before their own populations then crash for lack of sustainable prey the following year which allows other insect populations to recover. The good thing about such population oscillations is that it helps keep diseases at bay because it tends to be only health and fit insects that then survive and by that I also include honeybees. IMHO wasps are essential in weeding out diseased honeybees and thereby help maintain overall honeybee fitness.
 

The Poot

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I understand your point and could almost agree with it if they stuck to “weeding out diseased honey bees” but they don’t - as you alluded to in your response to Amari - “wasp pressure overwhelms the hives” - referring to robust colonies with reduced entrances.
I know things are cyclical but it seems to me, every year is a bad year with wasps.....
 

Karol

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I understand your point and could almost agree with it if they stuck to “weeding out diseased honey bees” but they don’t - as you alluded to in your response to Amari - “wasp pressure overwhelms the hives” - referring to robust colonies with reduced entrances.
I know things are cyclical but it seems to me, every year is a bad year with wasps.....
Perhaps I didn't explain myself very well. I was talking about wasps when they are in their hunting phase taking solitary worker honeybees at flower heads. Wasps are ambush hunters and use a vertical assent and pounce technique. Healthy fit bees stand a greater chance of evading such predation than diseased bees which get weeded out. Not something I would suggest that most beekeepers see or think about.
 

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Wasps do serve a purpose. Populations do oscillate and when wasp numbers are high they do decimate local insect populations before their own populations then crash for lack of sustainable prey the following year which allows other insect populations to recover. The good thing about such population oscillations is that it helps keep diseases at bay because it tends to be only health and fit insects that then survive and by that I also include honeybees. IMHO wasps are essential in weeding out diseased honeybees and thereby help maintain overall honeybee fitness.
Do wasp nests in the UK ever survive the winter? They don't usually here, but when they do, (when warmer, drier, and more food) they can get very big. This one (in a museum here) is reckoned to be the world's largest subterranean wasp nest.
 

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Karol

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Do wasp nests in the UK ever survive the winter? They don't usually here, but when they do, (when warmer, drier, and more food) they can get very big. This one (in a museum here) is reckoned to be the world's largest subterranean wasp nest.
I'm not aware of wasp nests in the UK surviving into a second season but the occasional nest has been known to survive into February where there is a food source that they can draw on and where their microclimate has allowed them to continue to feed.
 

jenkinsbrynmair

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I would suggest leaving the supers open to the elements. That way the wasps will pick the supers clean for you.
what a ridiculous bit of advice - very telling that it didn't come from a beekeeper
 

Erichalfbee

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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.
Karol that’s pretty poor advice. There’s no such place considering the density of hives in the U.K.
 

Karol

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Karol that’s pretty poor advice. There’s no such place considering the density of hives in the U.K.
I never realised there was a hive every 50 metres or so over the whole of the UK. I've been educated. Thank you.
 

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I never realised there was a hive every 50 metres or so over the whole of the UK. I've been educated. Thank you.
You misunderstand me. Bees forage over two miles so placing open supers anywhere will attract more than wasps....
 

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We are still talking spare empty supers I presume? I suspect that not every beekeeper will bag their spare empty supers? Allowing wasps access will allow them to remove any residual hive parasites during the hunting phase and mop up any traces of honey during the sweet feeding phase. If the empty supers are placed downwind of the hives during the sweet feeding season the supers may be used to intercept wasps before they get to the hive. Personally I'd recommend placing a high efficiency trap at said location of the empty supers to help reduce the background population of wasps converging on the supers.
 

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And then the wind direction changed...........aaarrrrgh!
 

jenkinsbrynmair

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Personally I'd recommend placing a high efficiency trap at said location of the empty supers to help reduce the background population of wasps converging on the supers.
personally I'd recommend everyone ignore this absolute rubbish from a non beekeeper with an obvious slim grasp of bee behaviour in general, poorly disguised as advice
 

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personally I'd recommend everyone ignore this absolute rubbish from a non beekeeper with an obvious slim grasp of bee behaviour in general, poorly disguised as advice
I tend to agree. Over the years we have had some fantastically useful input regarding the life cycle and hunting habits of wasps which has given an insight so we can "know our enemy" . However moving out of this zone has raised my eyebrows a few times. Leaving wet comb uncontained and accessible to freeloading insects has dangerous implications for the spread of disease hitchhiking parasites and pathogens. It will attract your bees, your neighbours bees, feral bees, wasps, bumble bees, flies and every other flying sweet feeding bug in the area. Not going to happen on my sites
 

Karol

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I tend to agree. Over the years we have had some fantastically useful input regarding the life cycle and hunting habits of wasps which has given an insight so we can "know our enemy" . However moving out of this zone has raised my eyebrows a few times. Leaving wet comb uncontained and accessible to freeloading insects has dangerous implications for the spread of disease hitchhiking parasites and pathogens. It will attract your bees, your neighbours bees, feral bees, wasps, bumble bees, flies and every other flying sweet feeding bug in the area. Not going to happen on my sites
Who said anything about wet comb? Supers with comb are not empty supers are they!
 

jenkinsbrynmair

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Who said anything about wet comb?
Allowing wasps access will allow them to remove any residual hive parasites during the hunting phase and mop up any traces of honey during the sweet feeding phase.
As usual, talking rubbish about something he knows nothing about
We all remember 'the average wasp nest consumes a ton of garden pests in a season' when Professor Serian Sumner (a real wasp expert) heard that, she just rolled her eyes and burst out laughing.
 
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Had a number of wasps last evening hawking near two of my nucs so I took my fly electrocuter outside to deal with them. I could practice my backhand if nothing else.
Interestingly as soon as I switched it on, they shot off over the garage roof. Disturbed by the mild electrical charge maybe?
 

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