Monday, 7 October 2013

Bees under attack

Back to that wasps nest I mentioned.

No photos I'm afraid, as that would involve taking my life in my hands!

Our poor bees have been having a right torrid time. We've still got three healthy colonies, which is a fantastic situation in which to be approaching the winter. But they have been under heavy attack from battalions of wasps, not just stealing their honey and damaging inside the hives, but engaging in struggles to the death. My early interventions (squashing any that landed with a flat piece of wood) made little dent in the wasp numbers. So jamjar traps were deployed, cheap jam luring the wasps into a sticky, watery death.

Despite catching maybe 100 wasps every day, they just kept coming, until one day I came across a tiny hole in the ground over in the corner of the goose paddock. I noticed that insects were flying in and out, and as I approached I realised that I had located a wasps nest. They had set up home just around the corner from a very handy honey restaurant!
Much as I resist using poisons and chemicals on the farm, pragmatism was called for here so we duly called in the wasp man and the nest was eradicated. We've not got rid of all the wasps, but the bees are now firmly back on top.
Whether it was because of this or not, the three hives have got very low on honey. Nowhere near enough for the bees to make it through the winter. So for the last ten days or so Sue has been engaged on a morning and evening chore of feeding as much sugar syrup to the bees as possible. We purchased a couple of frame feeders, which are placed in the hive and filled with sugar solution. The bees have been devouring it and turning it into winter stores, which they have now started to cap with wax. So far Sue's given them 35kg of sugar. That's what I call a sweet tooth! Not that they've been very grateful to Sue, especially in the evenings when they have proved most tetchy!

2 comments:

  1. Living in a farm looks fun and adventurous, except for those wasps. Have you tried the other natural way of getting rid of them all? Just recently found those safe and effective wasps prevention and control method at waspsgone.com. And let there be cheers upon the bees

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  2. It would be great to find natural methods to keep the wasps away from my bees, but I don't really want to pay for an e-book which I can't preview at all. Also I'm not sure if methods will transfer from one country to another. Sorry, but not a fan of comments left on blogs which link to sites trying to sell something.
    Have you purchased the e-book, Jenee and had any success clearing a wasp's nest. Maybe you could let us know how you did it?

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