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jbr 

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I had a look at my hives 5 days ago and all seemed ok. A few wasps seen flying around, but probably no more than 4 or 5 at a time. The entrance block was in and the bees seemed to be doing ok.
I have been away since then and came back to a bee masacre! There were loads of wasps flying around and the bees were seen to be fighting them to the ground. I had a quick lift of the lid and saw 3 or 4 dozen dead bees on top of crown board. I took the entrance block away and drilled a new (smaller) hole in to try and restrict access.
I asked my wife tonight if wasps go home to their nests at night and she said that they do (being an accepting husband I know that she's always right!)
Anyway, after a few glasses of something that i know I shouldn't drink, I took the brave approach and nipped out to the apiary and had a look. No flying bees, took the lid off and then............all hell broke loose! I was swarmed by the wasps!! Before anybody says anything, no I wasn't wearing much - just a shirt and shorts (I wasn't expecting to see anything, I was just confirming my wife's superior knowledge and checking that the wasps had gone home for the night, it was dusk after all).

Does anybody have any bright ideas what to do with the wasps? I have put up wasp traps for about the last 10 days and they don't seem to have caught many.

I have reduced the entrance to a single small hole and the wasps seem quite happy to live inside.
 

tonybloke 

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have you an open hole in your crown board? if so, why?
 

Rosti 

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What size entrance?

Rightly or wrongly (and I'm sure I will soon find out by posting this!) I swat any wasp I can lay my hands on, I have what can best be described as a badminton racket with an electrified grid (cost £6). Originally bought for house and BBQ use. Zero tollerance. You dont need to be that accurate with the device and you can down a good number. Probably ineffective but you feel you're doing your bit.

How close are your wasp traps to the hives? could the traps be an attractant and the wasps have diverted to the hives? I would reduce my entrance further, congestion = protection.

What you do about the blighters which are already in there?
 

Hivetool 

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have you an open hole in your crown board? if so, why?
Please excuse my ignorance but why shouldn't there be a hole in a crown board?

I have three hives and all of them have open holes for fitting a porter bee escape. Surely it helps with ventilation. My hives are on solid floors.
 

tonybloke 

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Please excuse my ignorance but why shouldn't there be a hole in a crown board?

I have three hives and all of them have open holes for fitting a porter bee escape. Surely it helps with ventilation. My hives are on solid floors.
I also have holes in my crown boards, but keep them covered with a piece of glass during the summer when not needed for feeders or porter bee escapes. this helps the bees to maintain temperatures in the hive. I will remove the glass in the winter to avoid condensation problems. I also use solid floors. After all how many hollow trees have open mesh floors and open vent holes in the top?
 

Haughton Honey 

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Lots of Commercial hives.......
After all how many hollow trees have open mesh floors and open vent holes in the top?
Interesting point tonybloke. I presume that you just treat for varroa in the usual manner?

Back to the wasps though - I've just had two nearly full supers robbed out and the wasps are also all over my hives (with crown board holes covered over). It's probably the most frustrating thing that's happened in my first year of beekeeping!
 

Rosti 

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I think there is a distinction between a hole in a crown board that leads to a protected but ventialted roof and a hole in a crown board and an ill fitting roof that provides access.

My own view is that the roof area should not be routinely accessible.

I am using Canadian clearing and feeding boards as crown boards, the central feeding hole on these has a removeable mesh the same as in a verroa floor and a fixed piece of queen excluder. For feeding the mesh is swung back, for normal use it remains in place giving ventilation but not top access.
 

jon 

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You need to cover those holes in the crown board and close down the entrance as small as possible.
The bees will have guard bees at the entrance but nothing at the crown board so the wasps will just come and go as they please up above.
You will lose all the honey and probably the entire colony if you leave access through the crown board.
 
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I don't think it's the crown board that's the issue it must be the roof. Wasps shouldn't be able to get through the top even if you don't have a board. The roof should be a tight fit and ideally have a ledge which makes access impossible


On another point though I've heard a lot about robbing this year. Worth us all being vigilant
 
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oliver90owner 

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Two things noted on this thread.

First, I agree with Rosti - a roof should not allow access to the hive ... Not even a WBC lets in intruders by the back door.

and second, if the crown board is left open you will likely find the roof ventilators have already been reduced by propolis Bees do not like a lot of natural ventilation, don't usually have it in the wild, and can control the hive ventilatation better by active measures than having potentally excess passive heat losses.

Remember heat is being lost all the time (warm air rises). Heat is energy and energy expended on heat production to keep the brood area warm at night has a cost in honey. You might say 'money going up the chimney'.

Warm clusters in winter will consume less stores than a draughty brood nest. Simple physics and chemistry principles in operation here.

Regards, RAB
 

David P 

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After all how many hollow trees have open mesh floors and open vent holes in the top?
To turn it on its head in these times of Varroa how many hollow trees do you see with bees in them.
 

jbr 

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I can confirm that there are no access holes through the roof and that the crown board holes are covered over with a bit of glass.
This still doesn't overcome the origional problem, wasps getting into the hive. I have an entrance block in place that has a 16mm single hole in, although I am today going to be putting in a new block that I made yesterday that has a 6mm hole in.
I don't think there will be any honey stores left on the brood frames, so may need to feed using a frame feeder?
 
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I can confirm that there are no access holes through the roof and that the crown board holes are covered over with a bit of glass.
This still doesn't overcome the origional problem, wasps getting into the hive. I have an entrance block in place that has a 16mm single hole in, although I am today going to be putting in a new block that I made yesterday that has a 6mm hole in.
I don't think there will be any honey stores left on the brood frames, so may need to feed using a frame feeder?

Can you move the hive at all? Even if only a short distance. I know this will confuse the bees, but while the weather is so-so you could just move it a few feet, shut the bees in for 24 hours and put out some decent traps where the hive was, because wasps too will return to the same place. Rightly or wrongly because I was suddenly overcome with wasps in one area and had some robbing going on, I had traps with a jam/water mix but they ignored that, several traps were full of water from the recent rain so I tipped them out and put some bee syrup in as it was all I had (I know - I know - beeks everywhere will be groaning and holding their heads) but that was yeasterday, today 5 full traps, not a bee in them - all wasps and the odd hornet. Drastic but it has worked. I won't as a regular thing be using syrup in the traps - in case anyone comes now and tells me off :)

Frisbee
 

porterswoods 

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I too seem to be having a wasp problem. I have made sure that all the openings have been sealed, even tiny cracks as little 2mm will let wasps in.

I have then reduced the door so that only 1 bee can get in at a time. The idea is that it creates a build up of bees due to the congestion, that will fend off wasps when they attack.

The result is a lot of activity at the entrance block and a hord of wasps trying to get in.

I have then put traps outside to lure the wasps. if you need details on how to make them you can find them here http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/wasptrap.html

I have used the pipe through a bottle and it works well. You can use any empty pastic bottle, the bigger the better.

Don't be tempted to inspect or lift the crown board as wasps just come at you from all directions. If you do inspect you will need to do it early morning or late evening when wasps are least active.

These are just my experiences as we do have a big wasp population around us, this may differ where you are.

Hope that helps a little
James
 

Salkeela 

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Thanks for the info in this thread. I'm having a terrible time with wasps. I was away for a few days and the raspberries & redcurrants over-ripened and were heaving with wasps for a few days (now stripped bare!)

Now they are around the hives and really being a nuisance. I've put up some simple squash bottle traps and caught 40+ in the first afternoon.

I've seen a few bees & wasps in death wrestles but I'm not sure which won as they veered off into the hedge.

The hive the wasps are interested in is a young colony where the queen is only just starting to lay so I'm a bit worried for them. The entrance is only one bee wide. There were loads of honey stores when OH opened this hive 10 days ago.

The other hive is also small but the queen started laying there earlier and they seem less bothered. (The two hives were recently split off from one swarm and their boxes still sit stacked on top of each other.)
 

RosieMc 

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wasp attack

My wasps love Tropicana orange juice that has been allowed time to 'go off' in the wasps traps. The shop bought traps are the best, but supplemented with as many discarded plastic drinks bottles as you can get hold off (paint the hole you cut out with white paint, it appears they can see the hole better). Then sit by the hive with a strong fly swat and squosh the little blighters - hours of fun, even better than popping bubble wrap. Good Luck
 

Salkeela 

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Then sit by the hive with a strong fly swat and squosh the little blighters - hours of fun, even better than popping bubble wrap. Good Luck
:lol: brilliant mental image of your entertainment! :)

I'll try the tropicana thing and the white holes.... now where is that tippex
 

thurrock bees 

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try using strawberry jam in the homemade wasp traps, i find they are attarted to it better than any other type of jam.
 

merylvingien 

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I have to admit that i dont know much about beekeeping, but i deal with wasps on a daily basis, 6-8 nests a day normaly throughout the summer, if you are having problems with as many wasps as you are suggesting, the nest must be close by.
Probably within 2 or 3 hundred yards. Why not see if you find the direction that they are either coming from or leaving too, locate the nest and destroy it?

I must admit that i have never heard of wasps killing bees, hornets yes, hornets will kill wasp nests too. Was called out to a german wasp nest last week that hornets had found (good sized nest too) and there was probably 10 or 15 wasps left still alive.
 

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