Yellow jackets and honeybees are not friends because one is an enemy of the other, do yellow jackets kill honeybees, or do we just misinterpret them?
For new beekeepers, it is challenging and heartbreaking to have pests cause problems to your bees. One of the common pests is yellow jackets.
Yellow jackets are destructive pests that cause bee farmers lots of problems. If a beekeeper does not notice them early enough, they will destroy a thriving honeybee colony.
Bee farmers must know how to protect their bees from these invasive yellow jackets.
On the contrary, yellow jackets are also useful in farming so do not do away with them rather keep them from the hive.
So What Are These Yellow Jackets That Kill Honeybees?
Yellow jackets belong to the wasp and hornet family. They are invasive pests that attack honeybees.
These social insects mostly live in underground nests, on shrubs, in trees, and protected areas like the cavities. These insects are black and yellow in color. You can easily distinguish them by their thin waist.
These wasps are predatory and very aggressive. They fly in a characteristic side-to-side pattern before landing.
When food is in plenty, these wasps will not disturb the bees. However, if there is a shortage, they invade beehives in search of food. This commonly happens in autumn when the food supply goes low.
Yellowjackets adults feed on carbohydrates and sugar-laden foods while the young ones eat meat. The larvae of honeybees are a rich source of food for the yellow jacket family. These pests strike almost at the same time as robber bees attack, so beware.
These wasps can cause lots of damage within a short period. If a severe invasion happens, yellow jackets destroy your honeybee colony sending them all packing.
Beekeepers should protect honeybees from yellow jackets right from the beginning. Identify any yellow jackets and analyze if they are a problem and work on controlling their population around your beehive.
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How Do Yellow Jackets Affect Honeybees?
The yellow jacket wasps are notorious for eating honey and destroying honeycomb. As if that is not enough, they kill adult bees, eat the honeybee’s eggs and eat up all their larvae.
Yellowjackets even kill the queen bee as if they are just killing another bee in the hive. An invasion of the yellow jacket in a beehive brings quick destruction to the honeybee colony. The result of a yellow jacket invasion in a beehive is the quick destruction of the honeybee colony.
Within a few hours, the entire bee colony is left without brood with all its honey reserves eaten up or destroyed.
An invasion causes the honeybees to abandon the beehive in search of a new place to rebuild the colony.Check out
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What Attracts These Yellow Jackets To Kill Honeybees?
Lack of food is the major problem that causes these destructive pests to invade the beehives. The smell of honey attracts these insects from afar due to the pheromones produced by bees. This chemical gives away the location of a beehive to these pests. They can smell it from afar.
To try to keep these pests away, clear all the dead bees so they are not noticed by the yellow jacket near the beehive. When noticed, the yellow jackets will attack the beehive without mercy and terribly destroy your honeybees.
Your honeybees feeding stations outside the hive could also attract yellow jackets and direct them to a nearby beehive.
During autumn, place the feeding stations inside the beehive instead of outside to tame these pests.
Keeping Yellow Jackets From Your Beehives
Beekeepers have several measures they put in place to prevent yellow jackets from accessing the hive. They include
1. Have Fewer Entrances. Keep your beehive entrances few and properly covered to keep these wasps away. Fewer entrances are easy for bees to guard and provide increased effectiveness for honeybees guarding the entrances to the beehive. They are also able to protect the young ones and newly installed honeybee colonies.
2. Use Baits And Traps. Baiting is another effective way to prevent yellow jackets from accessing the beehive. Use traps that are baited to kill yellow jackets or hold them captive. It’s not advisable to kill them, however, if you notice their population is too high around your hives you can move them away or kill them. If you freeze them overnight, you will kill them. Set your traps around your beehive or near a yellow jacket nest. Once caught, you can empty the trap and set it again.
3. Use Soapy Water. The soapy water solution traps the insects leading to their death from exhaustion. This trap kills these wasps and a good number accumulates at the top of the solution. The floating mass of dead wasps may provide a warning to the other yellow jackets. It is important to check your soapy solution time-to-time and empty the dead wasps. As you inspect, you can add a bait or replace it if fermented. The soapy water is homemade and should be wide at the top to prevent amassing of dead yellow jackets. The traps are highly effective in catching hundreds of these wasps within a short time. Use meat in your traps as an attraction. Chicken meat is the best meat to use as it attracts these wasps from afar. It draws these wasps into the trap and they fall into the soapy water solution yellow jackets into the trap as they try to bite the meat. They eventually drown in the water.
Every farmer’s dream is to keep honeybees because they are becoming rare in America and they are highly beneficial to your garden. Not forgetting the abundant healthy honey they give us.
You don’t want anything destroying all your efforts to keep your honeybees no matter what. That’s why you will always stay vigilant to watch out for the yellow jackets wasps that could finish your hive in a day.
When you notice even one wasp, be sure to use traps to eliminate them before they invade your hives.
All the best in your bee farming!