Oh, fun


#1

#2

Wow.

My neighbor asked me to see if my honeybees had taken up residence in the ground by their shed. I thought, honeybees do do that! But went to be nice and take a look. It was yellow jackets. While I was looking at them, one stung me through my shirt. That gave me cellulitis. I had to take two weeks of antibiotics.

I’m not looking forward to murder hornets!

I wonder if they can be trapped by the same bait as yellow jackets. I must have trapped a hundred of those. They eat my figs to the point where if I don’t trap them, I don’t get figs. Plus, they tunnel through fallen fruit, making for bad surprises during cleanup.

I hope murder hornets don’t do that!

Edit-
Another story - this isn’t our first risk for murder hornets!

Another one. Apparently in Japan they kill 30 to 50 people a year!


#3

“Killer Bees” got more attention in the press than these hornets.

Where’s those stories go? Where’d the death rates go?


#4

Well then, try this for a little balance:


#5

And here’s another: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/11/18/murder-hornets-danger-invasive-species-bruce-beehler/?arc404=true

But the author confuses me by saying this in one paragraph:

" More worrisome is the species’ possible impact on the honeybee-reliant commercial pollination systems in agriculture, which could potentially cause billions of dollars of economic harm. Think of the Mediterranean fruit fly’s depredations in California, Florida and Texas."

and then this in his closing:

“Hysteria over a potentially invasive species is understandable, but it’s not a basis for good policy. Most invasive species, once established, can’t be eradicated. We need to focus all our energy on containing those exotic species that pose the most threat. Murder hornets aren’t one of them.”

Anyhow, worth the short time to read and consider.


#6

Actually, I have an answer! Human selection against aggression. The American Journal of Beekeeping recently had an article that said (I’m greatly simplifying) aggressive africanized bees have been culled for several decades now and are far less common. They are still present, but humans have selected against aggression. Aggressive hives are noticed and get exterminated. More docile hives are not noticed or aren’t concerning and get left alone to swarm and spread their traits.

There were some numbers from exterminators, I don’t remember them but it was a huge decline in calls for aggressive bees in the past 20 years. Additionally, beekeepers will catch africanized swarms or cutout colonies and replace the queen with one of desired genetics, eliminating all africanized bees in a couple months by attrition.


#7

You’re advising a guy that used to have 85 hives of bees, and came in second place 4 years in a row with exhibits at the Kentucky State Fair.
My little brother came in third the last two of those years, and he still keeps bees.
And I used to report monthly for Kentucky to both American Bee Journal and Gleanings in Bee Culture.

So, my question on killer bees was retorical…not a request for information. :grin:


#8

We keep bees too, and relocate problem colonies. Some can be under the shed in the yard for YEARS before due to different geneics, or having more to protect, the disposition of the colony changes. Then people out mowing get an unplanned trip to the ER or graveyard. We hear about deaths from bees. Maybe because we have ears for that news. We have ex’td a few colonies that were just too hyper aggressive. The risk is just not worth it at that level, but I’m talking about the sort that start stinging when you are still 100 feet away. Dem be bad news bees!


#9

Well, I’m not advising anybody, if that was directed to me! I just found the information interesting and, well, informative, and thought it worth sharing. And I appreciate your experience and perspective, so thanks for providing it.


#10

Around the early 1980’s my grandfather had about that many hives. I would help he and my dad work in them. Usually I was the one carrying a heavy super of honey down a steep rocky hill to the house… There was one hive he had that just happened to have two hive bodies painted red (he used whatever paint was available and they were all a patchwork). I refused to work in/around it… Walk past it and they would attack. Even though I was suited up and they couldn’t sting me, it was just disconcerting and I didn’t want any part of them.

No idea if they had African or European or even Japenese honeybee genes… I just know they were mean :slight_smile:


#11

What bait is the one that you used? I had a lots of yellow jackets this summer but didn’t know what to use! I didn’t want to harm the honey bees.


#12

There are some chemical attractants that are good at drawing in yellowjackets. The predominant species in the Western US moreso attracted to a particular substance than the Eastern ones I think. But then they’re meat eaters, they for the most part are not attracted to the same things honeybees are.

My idea of a good defense against yellowjackets, is a good offense. I actively “hunt” them in the spring. Once you get attuned to their foraging pattern they can be seen or heard fairly easily. Fairly… I carry a hand pump spray bottle with water and some dish detergent. When I spot one I hit it with a continuous stream to knock it out of the air and then put a boot heel on it. Then snap a pic for proof :wink:

Killed 62 YJ and 1 hornet queen last year. A few more I couldn’t find the bodies of… Each queen that is killed before she lays 5 to 10 thousand eggs, is 5 to 10 thousand stinging SOBs I don’t have to deal with that year! Saw VERY few YJs around the house/yard/orchard this year…

Photo album of the 63:


#13

I’ve heard that caterers use smoked turkey or some such as an attractant.


#14

Probably the German black bees. They were mean…especially if the weather wasn’t perfect.


#15

It’s been a few years but I do remember them being fairly dark. So yeah, probably…


#16

I used the Rescue brand. The traps are 10 feet from my beehive. They caught lots of yellow jackets and zero honeybees.


#17

I also have used the Rescue brand type traps. When the attractant ran out, I used pieces of old meat(chicken). The traps worked well and kept filling up with yellow jackets.