Here’s a photo and text that I’ve copied from a beekeeping journal I maintain for myself. It’s a more detailed entry than I normally bother with, but it’s a summing-up sort of entry, setting the stage for what I’m dealing with going into winter. I’ve also added a few more details for my legion of Mud Songs followers.
1401 (in the back): 3 deeps + a honey super. (All of my honey supers are full of drawn comb, as are most of my deeps.) Approximately year-old naturally mated queen. Good layer and the most docile bees I’ve ever seen. Colony was used to create splits in July. Not likely to get any honey, though I did see nectar in some honey frames the last time I looked. No inner cover. Empty moisture quilt for ventilation. …
The best method I’ve discovered for killing wasps is to go out and buy one of these wasp traps:
Add a dollop of some sweet jam, pour in some water sweetened with sugar and then hang or place the trap some place where wasps are known to congregate. I put the trap out this morning and when I came home from work, it was full of wasps — hundreds of them.
I’ll continue to monitor the trap over the next week or two. I’ll stop using it if too many honey bees get trapped in it. Judging only from the first day I had the trap out, I’d say there’s one honey bee for every 100 wasps that get trapped in it. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the latest results. …
I had a foundationless deep frame full of honey put aside in our shed to give to one of our colonies before winter, nicely sealed in plastic so it would keep. Then some wasps got in the shed, found a hole in the plastic and obliterated the frame of honey. Check it out:
We’ve had entrance reducers on all our hives for the past few weeks, and it doesn’t look like we can remove them any time soon because the wasps (a.k.a. yellow jackets) are everywhere. They’re constantly trying to get into the hives. Here’s a photo showing about six wasps blocking a ventilation hole (most of the screened holes in our ventilator rims are filled with wasps):
The next photo isn’t pretty. You’ve been warned. …
It’s November 2018 and I deleted this original post from 2010. Here’s the deal with wasps (or yellow jackets as they’re sometimes called):
They start showing up around mid-August and can get pretty bad by September, but the peak of their badness can depend on a variety of factors. By bad I meant they’re attracted to the sweet smell of honey coming out of bee hives and will try to steal that honey any way they can. They’re also attracted to the sweet smell of syrup in external feeders such as Boardman feeders, so Boardman feeders aren’t such a great idea (they never were). The wasps will attack and kill honey bees, decapitate the bees, battle with the bees until they’re dead, eat the bees — all kinds of fun stuff.
A strong healthy colony can fend off wasps most of the time, so most of the time it’s not a huge concern. But if things start to get nasty, for beekeepers or the bees, the simplest solution is to reduce the hive entrances where the wasps are trying to get in, and then set up a wasp trap like this one.
Read more about this on my post, How To Kill Wasps. Wasps play their part in the natural wonder of the world and should be left to live in peace most of the time. Just not all the time.