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Skipper Billy

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

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Thanks for your explanation @JamesF I definitely stop using non UK honey and research where it is harvested sympathetically to the bees.

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You're right about the stinger of a honey bee still working after the bee is gone.

When you're stung, it's best to scrape it off with your nail, or if you're a keeper, with the hive tool.

Pinching it between your fingertips, makes it a syringe which gives you the full dose

 

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11 minutes ago, maw lod qan said:

You're right about the stinger of a honey bee still working after the bee is gone.

When you're stung, it's best to scrape it off with your nail, or if you're a keeper, with the hive tool.

Pinching it between your fingertips, makes it a syringe which gives you the full dose

Quite so.  Fortunately I've not been stung on bare skin myself for quite some time.  Once in a while they do get through my bee suit and t-shirt (I wear a very thin suit and a t-shirt and shorts underneath as I get very hot otherwise), but then it's more of a prickle and doesn't bother me too much.

James

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Posted (edited)

Very interesting James, thanks for that.   

I knew about the poison sac left behind and how it works.  I got stung camping once as unbeknowing we had pitched not far from a hive of wild bees/hornets!!!  Boy that was painful and I was yelling at hubby and our friend to get me some tweezers so I could get it out.  Friend presented me with a pair of pliers which I knew would simply squeeze the poison in,  In the end I managed to get it out using a hairgrip which fitted underneath the poison sac.  

Carole 

Edited by carastro

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Ouch!!

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I've mentioned elsewhere that I'm melting the wax out of old comb from my hives at the moment.  I just found one set of frames in a box that I'd put in the wrong stack and forgotten about last year or probably the year before.  I must have put the foundation in for the bees to draw comb from and then forgotten I'd done it or something.  Anyhow, it looks as though less productive "friends" found it and moved in last Spring, so when I looked at it just now, this is what I found:

hornet-nest-01.jpg

hornet-nest-02.jpg

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The wooden frames are about 200mm deep by 400mm wide.  The smooth round-ish object about 50mm across in the last two photos looks like a wasp nest that was abandoned, possibly because the rest looks like a pretty big hornet's nest.

No wonder I've seen so many of them around last year and this...

James

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On 20/05/2019 at 11:47, carastro said:

Very interesting James, thanks for that.   

I knew about the poison sac left behind and how it works.  I got stung camping once as unbeknowing we had pitched not far from a hive of wild bees/hornets!!!  Boy that was painful and I was yelling at hubby and our friend to get me some tweezers so I could get it out.  Friend presented me with a pair of pliers which I knew would simply squeeze the poison in,  In the end I managed to get it out using a hairgrip which fitted underneath the poison sac.  

Carole 

Credit card works really well - use it like a knife to quickly go across the skin surface to get the barb out without squeezing it all in!

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On 19/05/2019 at 22:26, Jkulin said:

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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That's definitely Vespa crabro, the European Hornet (our native one) - the head markings and yellow down the abdomen give it away. They are enormous, impressive beasts!

(The invasive Asian one is smaller, much darker on the abdomen, and has yellow lower legs).

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22 minutes ago, JamesF said:

 The smooth round-ish object about 50mm across in the last two photos looks like a wasp nest that was abandoned, possibly because the rest looks like a pretty big hornet's nest.

No wonder I've seen so many of them around last year and this...

 

Oof! I just have issues with wax moth around my frame storage - luckily not this! Been a good year for my bees so far, had 17lbs of early spring honey off one hive (which has set quickly as rape seed in there), they have 2 mostly full supers now as well, and have had to do anti-swarm procedures twice already... Also caught a swarm (not mine!) last weekend, so rapidly running out of boxes, frames, space etc...!

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15 minutes ago, coatesg said:

Oof! I just have issues with wax moth around my frame storage - luckily not this! Been a good year for my bees so far, had 17lbs of early spring honey off one hive (which has set quickly as rape seed in there), they have 2 mostly full supers now as well, and have had to do anti-swarm procedures twice already... Also caught a swarm (not mine!) last weekend, so rapidly running out of boxes, frames, space etc...!

It's been odd, here.  I'd taken three swarms by mid-May which suggests that honeybees are doing well generally, but the OSR has been in flower for about seven weeks and is only just starting to go over.  Normally it lasts a couple of weeks and that's it.  A lot of the time I think it's just been too cold for the bees to want to be flying.

It's only really since the start of this month that I've seen significant activity around my hives -- they're all over the sycamore and hawthorn at the moment (the hawthorn has only just started flowering too; I reckon that's a couple of weeks late at least).

James

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58 minutes ago, coatesg said:

hat's definitely Vespa crabro, the European Hornet (our native one) - the head markings and yellow down the abdomen give it away. They are enormous, impressive beasts!

(The invasive Asian one is smaller, much darker on the abdomen, and has yellow lower legs).

Thanks Graeme Much appreciated

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Posted (edited)

I have only seen Hornets once, when on holiday in a cabin in Devon.

There was a large wasps nest in the cabin roof space above the door, which was disconcerting, especially for my wife who is allergic to the sting. I told reception about the problem, expecting to be told we would have to move to another cabin, but was told we would have to wait a couple of days for them to get a pest man out, to get rid of the rather large nest. We should just leave them alone and get on with things. Fine then, though It would have been better just to move us out, rather than kill the whole nest...

However, as we sat enjoying a glass of wine, we heard a loud; deep drone getting closer and closer and thought that is loud for a wasp. It was in fact the first of several Hornets which came in, entered the wasp's nest, after quickly killing off the wasps by the entrance, then proceeded to kill off every single wasp in the nest, then over what seemed like a short time, carted off all the larvae in the nest. They just ignored me, completely, even though I got very close to watch in fascination. They busily dismembered the ordinary wasps and carried some of the parts off too. The ordinary wasps did not stand a chance, even though they tried to sting the Hornets, they were just stung and dismembered in a short time. They flew of with their booty and we never saw more than three or four at a time, compared to hundreds of ordinary wasps.

Thing is, there were House Martins thereabouts too, which we had seen picking off the odd wasp etc., but we saw the birds swoop in on the Hornets, only to veer off at the last moment, seemingly recognising how dangerous they were! It was also shocking just how far away we could see and hear the Hornets as they flew quite high, unlike ordinary wasps. We were told a few days later by a local bee keeper that Hornets can in fact be a disaster for bees, as they are also quite partial to munching through their nests too. He said though that some bees have worked out how to kill the Hornets, indirectly by smothering  them with their bodies and making them over heat, as they exercise their wings. He also said that if you come across a Hornet nest, to not get close to it, because even though they are docile from a humans point of view normally, they can be extremely aggressive in defending their own nests, even to the point of leaving sentries around it, watching for intruders. 

Hornets are completely fascinating creatures, as are bees and even ordinary wasps. Ants are fascinating too, it's all the idea about the hive mind, as it where. I would love to keep bees myself... :D   

Edited by Greymouser
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I'm afraid I stay well away from anything that stings (or bites).

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Whilst looking for a documentary: Natural World: Buddha Bees and the Giant Hornet Queen, I came across this on You Tube:

I mean, interesting in a macabre way, but why? Oh yes, You Tube an 14 million subscribers...

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That bloke's an idiot!!

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Couldn't agree more, but with 14 million subscribers, he is earning good money being an idiot! :icon_rolleyes:

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On 20/05/2019 at 10:02, JamesF said:

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.

We keep bees at school. We're also an Ecoschool so have always tried to disturb the bees as little as possible, whilst still encouraging the children to take part as much as possible. We still treat for varroa and manage for swarms. We only take the "surplus" honey and feed as little as possible. Last year was a good year, we hadn't taken any honey the previous two years. We've National hives, a WBC and a Kenyan Top Bar Hive. We have Warre hives at home. Last year we cut comb and pressed the honey out. I hadn't considered that it makes the honey more expensive, but yes, the bees would need to draw out new frames. I'm hoping to make frame cages this year to preserve the comb. The other hives still function in the same way though. The frames are removed and spun in a centrifuge. There's no loss of comb then, even when using foundationless frames.

On topic! For the last two years, we've had wasp nests in the school grounds. One near the apiary and the other in a compost heap. They we're no trouble to children or bees! The one was fascinating, the wasps cut a tunnel down through a bramble patch to what we assumed must have been an old mouse hole.

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Not from the observatory, but in our new house we had some dead wasp nests in the loft.

I've just removed them and here are some photos, with my hand in one for scale.

Glad the large one was dead when we got here!

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From what I've read, the smaller golfball sized ones are the queen's beginnings then they grow into the large one.

The reason I've removed them now, is if any more appear, I know they're new - and I will certainly be keeping an eye out for any new ones!

We currently have about 10 bumblebees hanging around the top of an old half dead pear tree at the moment, but that's at the end of the garden, so not bothering us. They can stay for now as they'll probably be gone around September / October then the tree can be removed.

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The wasp nest I had in my garage a few years ago was about twice the size of your large one - up in the rafters.

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1 hour ago, bingevader said:

We keep bees at school. We're also an Ecoschool so have always tried to disturb the bees as little as possible, whilst still encouraging the children to take part as much as possible. We still treat for varroa and manage for swarms. We only take the "surplus" honey and feed as little as possible. Last year was a good year, we hadn't taken any honey the previous two years. We've National hives, a WBC and a Kenyan Top Bar Hive. We have Warre hives at home. Last year we cut comb and pressed the honey out. I hadn't considered that it makes the honey more expensive, but yes, the bees would need to draw out new frames. I'm hoping to make frame cages this year to preserve the comb. The other hives still function in the same way though. The frames are removed and spun in a centrifuge. There's no loss of comb then, even when using foundationless frames.

Nice to hear about schools keeping bees :)

I'm interested in the Warre hives, but I want to read up on Perone hives too, in particular whether the assumptions involved are likely to hold for the UK.  It's tempting to make one or two of both and then drop a swarm in at some point.  Foundationless frames are something I want to try, too.

James

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I found this in our loft when getting the Xmas decorations down - I'd been stung twice by queens in November, and dispatched another 16 in the house - couldn't figure where they were coming from until this point and didn't know it was there in the summer at all. Poor santa..

A 3 foot wasp nest makes for a good show and tell for the kids at school though!

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FB_IMG_1558509097044.jpg.7b399148dddba200f5275db494fbab73.jpg

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WOW that's a whopper!!!

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