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Skipper Billy

Wasp's nest in my Observatory!! Help!!!

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Many years ago, my brother and I kept 25 hives of bees. Been stung many times and grew used to it, though didnt really like it. It was mostly during working or moving them.

Wasps seem to be much more protective of their "space". Encountered under ground nesting wasps when. A child and it was brutal for all those nearby. Had a friend who disturbed a similar nest while clearing land with heavy equipment and it nearly cost him his life.

They estimate he was stung over 1000 times.

I'll leave wasps alone, till they become a problem. Then I go to the nuclear first strike approach and have no mercy.

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16 hours ago, bingevader said:

That holds true for us as a species too then?! :D

That's another hornets nest! :grin:

1498324031_2019-05-0715_37_38.png.e8de755b9db669f574be999e4d5188e7.png

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As ever, plans for this evening went awry.  I have spent  the evening collecting two bee swarms.  I suspect it's actually the prime swarm (the first swarm to leave) and a cast (subsequent and smaller swarms when multiple queens have hatched) from the same colony.  I managed not to get stung, which does sometimes happen even through my bee suit.  They get seriously moody when you shake a few thousand of them out of a tree though.  They'd have been even less happy if they'd had to spend tonight out in the rain though.

I was genuinely surprised to get a swarm this early given how cool the weather has been.  It's been a relatively rare day when I've been able to stand under the apple trees and watch them working the blossom.  Even the bumble bees don't seem that keen to fly at the moment.  I was also surprised to see quite a few of them carrying pollen.  I've collected a lot of swarms over the years, but I don't recall seeing so many bees with pollen before.

Tomorrow I shall take them to a new home near some oilseed rape which they'll probably enjoy.  The OSR has been in flower for about a month now.  Usually it's all over in about two weeks flat, which shows how little many of the pollinators have been flying recently.

James

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Took the two swarms to their new home this morning, which was a bit fraught.  I'd just finished loading everything into the car when the heavens opened with a vengeance and I had to wait for it to clear.  Fortunately I ended up with an hour or so of clear weather to get the hives set up and so on, but it's been raining pretty much continuously since about ten minutes after I got home.  I'll give them a few days to get settled in and check how they're doing early next week.  They should be drawing out the comb by then.

James

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Kill them without mercy.  Respectfully, I can't believe folks would [removed word]-foot around about such merciless pests.  Just remember what are nuisance they are on a summer picnic.  Imagine it is your picnic.  We were at an outdoor wedding last year and the damn things nearly ruined it.  There is nothing nice about them.  Kill, kill, kill!

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On 04/05/2019 at 10:19, Jkulin said:

Cool, just as it should be!

Thank you. 

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When the nest is quite small I wait until the late evening when the queen is  inside and dislodge the nest inside a jam jar and take the nest and queen a couple of hundred metres away and tip it out. There's no need to kill the queen, its easy to deal with wasps nest if caught early enough.

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I don’t like wasps but wouldn’t kill them unless forced too, I killed one last year as I stepped on it bare foot on my lawn, it hit me with its sting right in the soft arch part of my foot, it kicked like a mule and I genuinely thought I stepped on a big rusty nail!! It really hurt...

Two weeks later I got stung again on the elbow and my arm swelled up for days! All this after going 44 years without being stung by nothing...

Still, live and let live I say..

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Had a small nest of little wasps last year living in the front porch roof space. Didn't bother anyone. The only trouble I had was when I was nailing dish cable to the eaves. I had to do a couple of taps and then step back while they came racing out to investigate. I finished the job with one sting and that was an accident as I walked into one that was returning from a foray. They disappeared in the winter and didn't return. 

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Hornets seem to be the issue here at the moment.  There were quite a few wasp queens about earlier in the month, still looking for places to set up home for the year, but now there seem to be hornets everywhere.  We've had four in the house in the last week.

James

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I had a large hornets nest in a villa I was renting in France. After discussions with locals in the village the fire brigade came out and removed it. I was surprised how big hornets were as I'd never seen them until then.

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My wife called to me last week as there was a massive bee/wasp in the lounge, indeed it was big, but I don't know if it was a hornet or a queen, any ideas?

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Hard to get a sense of scale from that photo, but a queen common wasp is probably around 25mm long.  A hornet is probably nearer 40mm long.  If you saw it and thought "Hmmm, that's quite a big wasp", it's probably a wasp.  If you thought "Hellfire!  That's enormous!" then it was probably a hornet :)

I think hornets (the ones we commonly see in the UK, at least) tend to have a browner throax than the common wasp, but again it's hard to tell from the photo.

To me, the hornet abdomen looks more angular than that of the wasp so in this case I'd probably plump for wasp if I had to, but I'm really not sure.

James

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Thanks James, there was no sting visible, don’t know if that makes any difference?

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That doesn't look quite right for a wasp to me but it's too small for a hornet unless that's a huge glass.

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Let it out to fly around a bit.

If it sounds like a V1 pulse jet it is a hornet.

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Posted (edited)
Quote

Took the two swarms to their new home this morning, which was a bit fraught.  I'd just finished loading everything into the car when the heavens opened with a vengeance and I had to wait for it to clear.  Fortunately I ended up with an hour or so of clear weather to get the hives set up and so on, but it's been raining pretty much continuously since about ten minutes after I got home.  I'll give them a few days to get settled in and check how they're doing early next week.  They should be drawing out the comb by then.

That was all very interesting about moving the swarms.  However just curious what you did with the captured swarms overnight, between capturing them and then then taking them to a new home the following day.

Carole 

Edited by carastro

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i had a boat about 15 years ago and after not visiting it for a few months i opened the cabin to see a wasps nest the size of a melon hanging in the middle of the roof, what i did was return at night with a old thick plastic bag and put around the nest and tied the top then cut the bit of the nest which was holding it to the roof and took it to the nearist wood and took the string off so the wasps didnt die because wasps are very important to the eco system. charl.

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40 minutes ago, Gina said:

That doesn't look quite right for a wasp to me but it's too small for a hornet unless that's a huge glass.

Yep, it was really quite strange it wasn't aggressive and defensive, that was a pint glass.

22 minutes ago, RichM63 said:

If it sounds like a V1 pulse jet it is a hornet.

I let it go at the end of the garden and it sounded like a Merlin Spitfire engine, a deep drone.😎

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If it's a pint glass and the noise from flying was quite deep, then I think that's much more indicative of a hornet.

James

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, JamesF said:

If it's a pint glass and the noise from flying was quite deep, then I think that's much more indicative of a hornet.

Thanks, I have only ever seen once a swarm of Hornets before and that was nearly 30 years ago in Norfolk, so not really educated on them otherwise.

Slightly off topic @JamesF there seems to be some controversy as to whether Bees are harmed when collecting honey, is that just with commercial operations or does it apply in all cases?

 

Edited by Jkulin

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, Jkulin said:

Thanks, I have only ever seen once a swarm of Hornets before and that was nearly 30 years ago in Norfolk, so not really educated on them otherwise.

Slightly off topic @JamesF there seems to be some controversy as to whether Bees are harmed when collecting honey, is that just with commercial operations or does it apply in all cases?

As they're managed in the UK, there's always a chance of harming one or two bees whenever a hive is manipulated because there are thousands of them running all over the place and it's difficult to make sure they're all out of the way when reassembling the hive.  Given that traditionally we're taught that hives should be inspected every ten days or thereabouts when the bees are active it's pretty much impossible to avoid completely no matter how hard you try.

Specifically when collecting honey, the only way I've personally seen it done by anyone is to place a sort of "one way gate" between the boxes containing honey and the main area of the hive, which usually makes sure there are no bees in them when they're removed from the hive so the risk to the bees is minimal.  I have heard that in the US where honey is often the by-product of a crop pollination service (honey bees are trucked across the continent specifically to pollinate industrially-produced crops), leaf blowers are sometimes used to blow the bees off the comb containing the honey.  I imagine the chances of injuring bees are somewhat higher if that is the case.

There are times when a bee-keeper might deliberately kill a bee during what many might consider "the normal course of events" however.  The queen is considered to set the general "mood" of the hive: some are very placid whilst others can be more aggressive (or more defensive if you like -- you're invading their home, after all).  Some bee-keepers will remove the queen from an aggressive hive (because it really is no fun working with a face full of moody bees all trying to find some way to sting you) and kill her, replacing her with a more docile queen.

Some people are looking at keeping bees in a more "natural" way, using different styles of hive and different methods of collecting honey, but I don't know if there's much interest in the UK yet.  It's certainly something I'd like to look into more.  I think it will work out considerably more expensive in terms of the unit cost of the honey produced because (as I understand it) there's no way to return the comb to the hives to save the bees building more for the next year.

James

Edited by JamesF
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1 hour ago, carastro said:

That was all very interesting about moving the swarms.  However just curious what you did with the captured swarms overnight, between capturing them and then then taking them to a new home the following day.

I usually catch the swarm in a box.  Once the queen is inside she'll generally stay there and any stragglers will fly to her, so I leave it upside down with one corner propped open, on an old sheet.  When they're all inside I fold the sheet up over the box and tie the ends together so they can't get out.  I'll take them to the apiary like that and transfer them to a hive as soon as possible -- immediately after capturing them if I have time, but when it's late at night it has to be done first thing the next morning.  As long as it's not for more than a few hours they're quite calm that way.  Sometimes they'll even start drawing out comb on the sides of the box.

Driving a car when you know you have a few thousand bees in the boot that you don't want escaping certainly makes you very aware of how carefully you're driving :D

James

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Of course I forgot perhaps the most likely way bees will be harmed when working the hives.  I'm extracting wax from old comb at the moment and remembered whilst I was putting the next set of frames in...

A honey bee's "sting" is a marvel of nature's engineering.  It's in two barbed longitudinal pieces that slide against each other.  When the sting pierces something, a barb prevents it coming out easily and the other half of the sting then drives itself in further against the grip of the first barb, so it gets a better grip and so on.  That's it for the bee really, because there's no way out without pulling off the end of its abdomen (which will kill it).  The part that remains contains the venom sac and all the necessary bits to deliver it through the sting (and they continue working even if the bee isn't there), so even if the bee does fly off or get brushed away, the sting is still delivering venom.  Very effective, brutal, and unfortunately deadly for the bee.

Even if the bee-keeper doesn't actually get stung at all a bee might sometimes attempt to sting through the gloves or bee suit.  There's not much you can do about that.

James

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