Yellow Jackets

I won’t be doing an inspection today, as I will be otherwise occupied getting things in order, and finishing up some projects I have been working on while K & B were out of town. They are coming back tomorrow – Hooray!

I’m taking a bit of a gamble, since I did not see any fresh eggs during last week’s inspection of East Hive. So if the Queen hasn’t been producing, letting it go another week might be asking for trouble. But I have been observing the hive, and activity seems normal. So I am hoping I just missed the new eggs last week, and everything is fine. Plus, so I’m telling myself, the fewer interruptions during honey-making season (right now!), the more I will get to harvest.

One thing I have been noticing over the past week or so, is the persistent presence of yellow jackets, hanging out flying low to the ground, right in front of the hives. Prime stepping-on-one-and-getting-stung territory. I really don’t like yellow jackets, or any wasps for that matter. Their sting hurts way worse than that of a bee, they can sting you repeatedly, and they will sting as an offensive attack, not just as a last resort.

Plus, they give honey bees a bad reputation. That’s because so many people will call any flying insect with a yellow and black striped torso a bee. It quite frankly blows my mind. But I guess we have the public school system to thank for that. I remember studying the difference between wasps, hornets, and bees for several weeks in Biology class in Germany. Bottom line, I have not love lost for wasps, and so their persistent presence is a nuisance to me.

I build a primitive wasp trap from a 2-Liter pop bottle (pictures to come), but so far, I haven’t caught many wasps. The trick is to fill it with something wasps like, but that bees dislike. I don’t want to catch (and kill) a bunch of my bees, after all. I also don’t want to use anything toxic that close to the hives. Apparently there is commercial wasp bait available (thanks Roman for pointing that out), but so far I tried a mixture of vinegar, sugar, and salt. Allegedly, the wasps like the sour smell of vinegar mixed with the sweet sugar, and bees dislike it.

Maybe I have the quantities wrong (I just read about the ingredients online, but it didn’t have a recipe). I need to experiment a bit, but maybe I should just break down and buy the commercial stuff.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, August 9th, 2009 and is filed under DanTheBeeMan. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.