Beautiful summer day with the house hives in the background. Bees love poppies.
The carnage that was summer 2019. Yellow jackets had a devastating effect on bees. Some beekeepers didn’t even make it to winter as their colonies were destroyed by wasps. Yellow-jackets are looking for protein sources from late summer onwards – their biology is such that the parent nest produces queens and drones as the queens are the only ones that survive the winter. This of course requires a rich food source. Bee colonies are a rich food source.
One wasp can kill around 40 bees in about 1 minute. In the photo above there are 11 wasps trying to get in (that was just one of the screened off access points) there were hundreds of wasps in the apiary. When they get in they kill bees, eat the larva (your winter bees) and steal honey and nectar. This decimation of bee population also then sets the stage for a series of other bad things that can happen in the hive. Needless to say bee losses are very high this year, and the survivors that made it past February are not wildly robust colonies.
This spring is an “R and R” time – recover and rebuild. I do not anticipate any spring honey as the bees need to just use all their resources to rebuild nice strong and healthy hives.
It was awful and heartbreaking.
We’ve come up with gear and gadgets to keep the wasps out – this year will be the true test and once we are sure of the results we will post all info and methods up for all who want to see.