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Author Topic: Are Bald Face Hornets a preditor of honey bees....  (Read 5810 times)

Offline dsj21

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Are Bald Face Hornets a preditor of honey bees....
« on: August 22, 2004, 09:44:23 PM »
I am keeping two hives of Italian honey Bees, with everything going real well. I mainly have the bees for pollination in my rather large berry patch. The bees are in their first summer, the berry patch is in it's second.
   About 3 weeks ago, the bees started pollinating  the fall crop of Red Raspberries. Really working it good. There were also some wild Bumble and Carpenter(I think) bees working too. About 2 weeks ago I noticed 2 Bald Face Hornets. I'm not a big fan of hornets, but I don't like to just randomly kill things. There's usually a yin and a yang to most of God's creatures. So I just left them alone. But as the number of BF Hornets has increased(25-30 at a time now), the honey bees and other bees have disappeared, with much of the raspberries still blooming. So my question is, " Do BF hornets eat Honey bees, either mistaking them for a fly, or just as a matter of that's what they do .

  From the "Die bad bees die" thread, I followed a very interesting link left by Evindm to a page that said this... "Bald-Faced-Hornets take mostly live prey; they prefer to feed on flies and other insects." So I got to thinking, if they love flies, maybe they love bees too. I can't think of another reason 30-40 honey bees would just up and leave a very rich and very unfinished source of pollen and nectar.

  So I thought I'd ask here to be sure. If my suspicions are true, I will have to get rid of them. I vaguely remember someone posting a picture of a wasp trap, with some lure in it that they would be drawn to, but not bees. I'd greatly appreciate it if someone would re-post that for me.

  OTOH, in May/June and part of July, deer flies are absolutley horrible here. And I don't want to needlessly kill off an insect that would drastically cut down the deer fly population.

  BTW, just checked both hives today and they are both doing great. Their numbers are still very high. It's not an over all drop in the amount of bees from a swarm or other calamity.
Thanks for any help.
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Offline Kris^

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Are Bald Face Hornets a preditor of honey bees....
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2004, 10:58:40 PM »
I have seen a bald-faced hornet attack bees.

Last week I noticed a lot of drones wandering about on the pallet and the grass in front of the hive.  For whatever reason ("tossing"?), there were a couple dozen total, and they weren't really flying about -- they seemed injured.  The colony seemed agitated, too.  I saw a large black and white wasp, which I later indentified as a bald-faced hornet, buzzing around the hive.  Every once and a while it would dive down at the bees out front; mostly at the drones.  When it went toward a worker, it was warned off  or repulsed somehow, but it sure engaged the drones.  It would land on them, attack them, roll and wrestle them to the point of injuring them, then fly off, to eventually attack another.  The result was a slew of drones hobbling around in front of the hive.  

Eventually, the hornet engaged an injured drone in a battle-to-the death.  After a minute, I couldn't tolerate watching the carnage any longer and dropped a board on the death struggle.  When I returned 15 or 20 minutes later, the colony was much calmer.  I don't know if that hornet did anything to the workers but work them up, but it sure had it's deadly way with a bunch of drones.

-- Kris

Offline eivindm

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Are Bald Face Hornets a preditor of honey bees....
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2004, 07:00:41 AM »
The hornets eats bees, but not that many.  As your hive has 60000 bees or more, a few bees lost is not a problem.  The article I linked to in the "die, bees, die" thread  states that even though the hornets eats a few bees, they do a very important job killing wax moths and other unwanted insects.  That's why some bekeepers actually moves hornets to their apiary as they think the benefits can justify the small bee loss.