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Author Topic: are yellow jackets harmful?  (Read 3596 times)
ayyon2157
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« on: November 04, 2009, 10:26:11 PM »

     This is probably a very dumb question, but are Eastern yellow jackets harmful to bees?

     I have an abandoned hive which has been taken over by what I believe are a species of Eastern yellow jacket.  They seem good natured, and come and go just like bees.  There is another hive four feet away occupied by bees, and although I ocassionally see one of the yellow jackets enter the beehive, the bees seem to ignore them.

     They don't seem to come and go regularly from the beehive like the bees do when robbing a strange  hive, or fly around the entrance.

     My preference would be to leave them alone and examine the inside of the hive after cold weather kills them, unless they steal honey or kill bees.  (judging from the "traffic" there seem to be about as many wasps as bees in an average colony)

     References seem to class this yellow jacket as a beneficial insect which kills other harmful insects.  Since they are attracted to sweet things, it would seem that they would be pollinators.

     Should I plug the entrance and kill them?

ayyon2157
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William H. Michaels
annette
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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2009, 11:14:58 PM »

I don't know, but if the cold weather is going to kill them anyway and they are not bothering your hives, I would let them die a natural death. Just make sure they haven't left behind any eggs or whatever in that hive because you don't want them around next spring.

Generally yellow jackets harass beehives and eat the honeybees.  They fly around all summer long on the ground in front of my hives waiting for my honeybees to land on the ground and then they pounce.  This summer they were actually coming up to the landing board and pushing the honeybees down to the ground and there would be a frenzy of yellow jackets eating the bees.

They were a big nuisance this year and I had to purchase a few traps to keep the population down.

I really hate them.

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JP
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« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2009, 05:06:09 AM »

They may very well die out this winter. I'm with you on this one. Check on them after a few very cold snaps.


...JP
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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2009, 08:01:26 AM »

Evil, nasty little things.  You do not want them around your bees.
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ayyon2157
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« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2009, 10:00:42 AM »

I don't know, but if the cold weather is going to kill them anyway and they are not bothering your hives, I would let them die a natural death. Just make sure they haven't left behind any eggs or whatever in that hive because you don't want them around next spring.

Generally yellow jackets harass beehives and eat the honeybees.  They fly around all summer long on the ground in front of my hives waiting for my honeybees to land on the ground and then they pounce.  This summer they were actually coming up to the landing board and pushing the honeybees down to the ground and there would be a frenzy of yellow jackets eating the bees.

They were a big nuisance this year and I had to purchase a few traps to keep the population down.

I really hate them.

Annette:

     Are we talking about the same kind of yellow jacket?  Could yours be the "other" variety? I believe mine are vespula maculifrons, are about 5/8 inch long and have smooth bands, not scalloped.  These will land among (mostly baby) bees on the landing board, walk around rubbing shoulders with the bees, sometimes go in and out the hive and leave, seemingly creating no excitement or concern.

     Here in Northern Indiana, these normally live in small holes in the ground, and their brood nest is made of paper resembling a sunflower head with the kernels removed and 6 inches or so in diameter and most of an inch thick.  They don't seem to bother people, but then again I stay away from them.

 ayyon2157
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William H. Michaels
JP
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« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2009, 10:07:59 AM »

They don't bother you until you bother them. There lies the rub. And bother you, they WILL do!


...JP
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« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2009, 10:13:23 AM »

yup.  don't bush hog them. 

they have been really bad at my hives this year.  the bees seem to be keeping them down, but i have found many dead around the hives and under the top cover.
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« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2009, 12:12:16 PM »

I don't know anything about your type of yellowjackets, but I would be leery of them if they can walk in and out of a beehive unnoticed.

I would think most yellowjackets would have a similar temperament and they all love to eat honeybees.  It is really best to keep them away from your hives.
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VolunteerK9
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« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2009, 01:29:54 PM »

I think there should be a year round hunting season on them with an attached bounty on their mean little heads. The hotter the summers the more painful they become.
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Cindi
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« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2009, 11:09:22 PM »

I would not tolerate any type of yellowjacket, paper wasp, anything like that around my colonies.  When you get masses of the nasties, they can decimate a colony pretty quickly.  The bees, even if they are a strong colony, if the wasps are in enough numbers, cannot combat them.  I say this from experience.

I noticed on my one colony (the only one left of 8 that died last winter), a couple of paper wasps entering the colony, the bees ignored them, I thought that rather strange and watched as now and then another entered. Scared the dickens out of me, because this was not normal behaviour.  I think the bees were overcome with weariness trying to keep them out and had given up.  I have good reason to say this.

I set out my wasp traps, which are comprised of beer and water.  Wasps of all kinds love this, especially the paper wasps that plague the bees and those freakin' bald faced hornets, real nasties.  Every day, for about a week, and I am not embellishing one little bit.  Those wasp traps were full of these predators, and I mean full.  Of course all drowned and dead.  I must have killed thousands and thousands of them.  It was a bad year for these nasties this year, the worst that I have ever seen.  So, picturing those thousands of creeps that I killed during that one week, I don't doubt for a single moment that the bee colony was terrorized.  I wondered why such a strong colony did not swarm, nor did I have to split it.  I know why.

Wasps are lovers of protein, they also love sweet stuff.  These paper wasps and bald faced hornets must have been having a grand old picnic in my single colony.  Thanking my lucky stars that it was as strong as it was and the loss of brood did not severely and so adversely affect it.  Actually, maybe the infestation was good -- it was a type of swarm control  Wink Smiley Smiley.  The only way to put a positive spin on it.

Those bad dudes are all gone and dead now.  This colony is still strong as the dickens of the dickens, and is going into winter with a massive cluster.  This colony recovered nicely from that attack of the wasps.

So, don't think that you see only one or two wasps entering a colony, that there may not be hundreds more that are within, doing their nasty thing.  You must protect your colonies, I don't care what anyone says, about "the bees protecting their own colony", I don't believe it for a minute, and I can be pretty head strong about certain things.  Have that most beautiful and great day, to love and live with greatest of health.  Cindi
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ayyon2157
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« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2009, 09:56:30 AM »

Hello Cindi and everyone else who responded:

     I plugged up the hive with the wasps this morning.  I haven't investigated very deeply, but right now it looks like the empty hive had attracted a new colony of bees, and that the wasps killed them and adopted the hive.

     From now on. I will make an effort to eradicate this kind of wasp. 

     I will have to check again the remaining strong colony which allows the wasps to come and go at will
to see if they have been robbed.  There was  much excess stores available recently when I last checked, but that doesn't mean that there still are.

     Both my hives had the oblong holes in the top cover sealed up; I now consider it likely that this was to keep the wasps out.

     Since I have wasps, I no longer seem to have bee moths.  Do the wasps kill them?  If there is a choice I suppose the wasps are the worst.

ayyon2157
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William H. Michaels
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