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Author Topic: Yellow jacket problem!  (Read 1805 times)
sweet bee
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« on: December 10, 2011, 02:43:00 PM »

My aunt has 2 top bar hives. She is having problems with the yellow jackets robbing the weaker one.  She has reduced the entrance to the smallest space possible and has installed a robbing screen but the yellow jackets still found their way in.  Does anyone have any suggestions on what to do next?  She is afraid that once the small hive has been wiped out, they will start to work on the stronger one.

~Angie
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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2011, 03:30:29 PM »

they will.  there's not much you can do to discourage them once they get started.  traps used early and often are the best thing i have found.  if she can get a few up in the area of the hive....not right at the hives, she may draw them away and at least kill a bunch.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
Shanevrr
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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2011, 07:48:32 PM »

i use the traps from lowes, works well
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AllenF
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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2011, 09:45:21 PM »

Take cans of tuna laced with sevin and place around for the yellow jackets, but out of reach of animals.   
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Shanevrr
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« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2011, 10:29:58 PM »

what if they eat tuna and then go into hive?
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kathyp
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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2011, 12:13:16 AM »

at this time of the year they seem to go for the commercial bait or the sweet.  i don't fine them going after protein much.  i recommend the commercial unless you can guarantee that your bees won't get into a sweet bait.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
FRAMEshift
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« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2011, 10:22:34 AM »

Can you mix borax with a sweet bait?  Will that kill YJs?
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AllenF
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« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2011, 10:40:11 AM »

Yes
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BjornBee
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« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2011, 09:16:21 AM »

Weak hives in December are for mainly two reasons. A failing hive, and a hive not prepared to go into winter. The failing hive there is not much more to do. The hive is failing...and you could say is lost. A certain number of hives simply run up against problems that if happening at other times of the year, the bees quickly correct it, like a failing queen, etc. I think statistically, 1 out of 10 hives, no matter the management, will be dealing with issues. (failing queen, etc.)

The situation of a hive being robbed in December, and weak due to it going into winter that way, is due to a beekeepers failure to follow age old advice concerning combining. Combining is something many beekeepers do not do. They simply try to "save" every hive with the mentality that we have the power to feed, medicate, and demand from ourselves, that every hive has a chance to survive. By having this "save everything" approach, also sets many on the path of tasks that need not be dealt with. Like yellow jacket control after the fact.

Nature abhors a vacuum. Setting out traps for yellow jackets just creates a vacuum that nature quickly fills. So it becomes a never ending battle. It's like killing a groundhog that has holes around the barn. You can kill them, and keep killing them, but with the food resources and dwelling still sitting there, ground hogs will continue to establish themselves in the holes. I've known some farmers to shoot 20-30 groundhogs a year from the same holes under the barn, yet never think to fill the holes, or find a way to deter them.

Of course we as beekeepers get upset when the neighbors decide to do way with the pesky visitor to the pool and lawn, by setting out baited syrup. Some would say they have every right since the honey bees are "trespassing" on their property. And yet, we discuss setting out baited tuna with the knowledge that some folks will simply say that since they do not have cats, there is no need to ensure the cans can not be accessed by other animals. I have wondering cats....and bees! And I don't need either being "baited" on someone elses property.

Not all pollinators (yellowjackets, hornets, etc.)  are sugar collectors or meat eaters. Many native pollinators will collect both, depending upon the season and availability. But all native pollinators, are beneficial in many ways. And many of the honey bee programs and supportive groups, are geared towards saving, utilizing, and respecting all native pollinators. It is sad when we as beekeepers seek chemical and poison  solutions, while knowing the impacts of chemicals in our own bee yards from others.

So when we  as a group (beekeepers) , can find no way better to deal with a pest of the hive, other than placing out baited tuna cans with sevin, or setting out traps that create vacuums to always be be filled, perhaps we need to slow down, consider the message, and ask ourselves if perhaps there are other options available. Like properly prepared hives able to defend themselves.

If you have hives not able to defend themselves, maybe there is something to learn from this situation. So it does not happen again. I know many beekeepers in the south that are successful and do not set out traps and baited cans of tuna. I think that is a kneejerk reaction to deal with a bad situation of a failing hive, or a hive not ready for winter, with the end result being a beekeeper doing something that they would never otherwise do.

If I have bear problems....I know I am smarter than the bear. And I can keep bees without killing every bear in the area. If I have a coon problems in the trash....I know I can come up with solutions of keeping them out of the trash cans without shooting every coon in the area. I know that yellowjackets can be a problem. So I make sure that the bees are strong enough to deal with the situation. I'm a bit smarter than bears, coons, and yellowjackets. It might take some extra effort, but I see it as far less than buying bait traps year round, setting out tuna cans, and having the mentality that the only solution in keeping bees is kill everything that could be a danger to a hive.

Just my two cents.
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2011, 09:38:42 AM »

I'm sure you're right Bjorn.  It's just that I'm still angry from an encounter with YJs this fall.   I was transplanting a pecan tree and stepped on a yellow jacket nest.  Within seconds they were all over me.  I was stung 30 times and they followed me into the house.  Yes, YJs are among nature's precious native pollinators.  But I just haven't forgiven them yet.   grin
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kathyp
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« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2011, 10:00:50 AM »

yeah BB, in a perfect word we would all live in peace with the nasty, stinging, critters.  i'll be the first to say IT'S NOT A PERFECT WORLD, and i'm not a perfect person.

it will always be my goal to kill those nasty bugger early and often with whatever means i can devise.   evil

FRAME, they were so thick here this year it wasn't even any fun to be outside for the little bit of warm weather we had.  after having been though a similar experience to yours a couple of years ago, i seem to have developed a flight response to sound of their particular buzz.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
BjornBee
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« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2011, 11:27:33 AM »

yeah BB, in a perfect word we would all live in peace with the nasty, stinging, critters.  i'll be the first to say IT'S NOT A PERFECT WORLD, and i'm not a perfect person.

We all have our faults. just like those that hate honey bees. Just want to make sure your "faulty" and not a hypocrite just the same.

it will always be my goal to kill those nasty bugger early and often with whatever means i can devise.   evil

FRAME, they were so thick here this year it wasn't even any fun to be outside for the little bit of warm weather we had.  after having been though a similar experience to yours a couple of years ago, i seem to have developed a flight response to sound of their particular buzz.

Killing as many as you can you say? Nature teaches us simply forces such as "vacuums" created by folks killing off such things as yellow jackets. They always come back. So how long you been killing them? Hows that working for you.  grin

Maybe you should set out twice as many tuna cans, twice as many traps, and spend twice as much money and effort this coming year. I mean, it's been working for you, right?  Wink

I could at least understand the misguided attempts to save a honey bee colony. But to outright stage war on something, is another topic altogether.

Personally, I spend a great deal of time trying to educate the public to embrace, understand, and work within the environment. Many call honey bees...nasty, stinging critters. And yes, to the dismay of others, I do live among them. I do happen to like my bees better than other insects, but I do see their role and benefit, and their place in nature.
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kathyp
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« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2011, 12:04:46 PM »

even if i can't kill them all, it make me feel better to try!  this was the worst year ever.  most years, i don't bother with traps because they are not a problem.  this year was a different story.  every time i emptied the traps, i did the happy dance  Wink
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
sterling
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« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2011, 01:11:48 PM »

Yellow jackets were bad around one my little yards this fall also. Being nice to them was not an option. They would not let me work my hives in that yard with out getting stung by YGs. I didn't trap but would kill them with a piece of flaming newspaper when they got thick in my hive top feeders that they could get into somehow. The hives were strong enough to keep them out with small reducers in place but had to fight them all day long. I got pretty good at flipping them with my fingernail when one would land on the side of the hive, kinda fun. evil
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sterling
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« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2011, 06:31:47 PM »

Bjorn, I just got to thinking after reading your post again. What do you do if and when you get mice in your house or roaches or recluse spiders? Do you follow that same thinking and let them live with you to keep from creating a vacuum in nature? grin
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CapnChkn
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« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2011, 11:05:33 PM »

Natural systems are best, and usually low maintenance.  If you live with the cobweb spiders, they kill and eat the Recluse spiders.  Live with a cat and the smell usually keeps the mice out.  Though I would say if you continue to trap the yellow jackets in an area, they will have to colonize that area, same as the bees.  Here everyone is discussing trapping the insects at the hives instead of trapping out the area.

Still, how many pest insects did the YJ's kill and eat?  If you trap out the YJ, you may end up with an infestation of a different kind.  According to Wikipedia, the YJ's drop brood production in late summer, so they wouldn't be actively hunting bees because they have similar nutritional needs.  Larvae and young wasps need the protein.

Adults live on sugars, and gain a kind of sugary liquid from the larvae.  With the loss in brood to get this "trophallaxis" they are looking for a meal of sugar, honey, or nectar, the reason you see them in soda pop cans and rotting fruit.  Only the princess and prince wasps stay in the nest, hibernating until spring.  The workers and laying queen die off this time of year.  So trapping them at this season is more management than eradication.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2011, 07:53:50 AM »

Bjorn, I just got to thinking after reading your post again. What do you do if and when you get mice in your house or roaches or recluse spiders? Do you follow that same thinking and let them live with you to keep from creating a vacuum in nature? grin

Here is my game plan.....

First prevention. Just like the beekeeper who knows there are mice out there, my house in no different than a beehive when it comes to mice. So I make my home mouse proof by filling any entry points. It would be like using mouse guards on the hive.

Internal control....Cleanliness. Keep food stores from being utilized by the mice. A clean home is essential. Having lived in the south for years, I need not detail the roach infestation for those with less than clean habits. And that equates to the hive also. Strong colonies, not being over extended to protect too much comb, are able to keep mice or yellow jackets out.

Now, do I kill an occasional mouse in the house. Yes. While my wife will collect and place them outside. Same with spiders, wasps, etc. I smashed many yellowjackets in the hive. I think the impact or vacuum is very small compared to the chemical warfare and approach of some, trying to kill every insect coming onto their property line.

But lets equate since you asked, the house compared to the hive. When I find a mouse in the house, do I dawn camo, chant a war song, buy traps and poisons, and build barriers or lines of defense positions every 50 yards around the house declaring death to every mouse in a mile wide area? Ok, perhaps that picture is a bit more than reality. But I want to show how absurd that would be to do for a mouse or yellowjacket in the house, yet some take these measures in regards to a beehive. I certainly think my house ranks just a tad higher on the concern level.

Yellow jackets are the same. I know they are out there. I use screen on my windows. When one gets in the house, it's no big deal. And it is no big deal when one gets in the hive. I kill it, or throw it out if I can. But I don't throw my hands up in the air, while leaving the backdoor wide open and go on a rampage of war on every yellowjacket in the neighborhood.

Have you ever chuckled from the person at a picnic that goes into hysteria over the mere presence of a honey bees or wasp flying in to check out the can of coke sitting on the table? The pure fear, pure hate, and perhaps even ignorance at how some panic and go way over board. Over an insect.

I chuckle when I read how others spend money on traps, use chemicals, spend hours dealing with, and how they handle an every day pest that has been around for eons. How ever did bees survive on their own all those years without beekeepers around to defend them? Poor babies! What we do, is create a sterile environment, then expect bees to live within the confines of our predetermined "box", that we see as proper.

Mouse guards (bees in the wild often propolise entrances down to a small opening), strong hives, and bees able to defend their comb....all the way it is supposed to happen, and often missed in these conversations. Why is the hive weak? That is the lesson to learn. But humans are programmed to think that there is a pill for every disorder, a chemical for every problem, a quicker more easier fix that can be bought. I understand that. Mechanical and practical solutions are oftentimes ignored.

Now if you excuse me, a bird just pooped on my car I failed to put in the garage last night. I need to start killing every one of those dirty birds. I'll teach them.  Wink I'll start by removing all the trees, burning the fields that supply food for them, and bait them in with tainted feed. Birds have no use in our society.  rolleyes
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