wasp attacks and winter feeding

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by cstephen, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. cstephen

    cstephen New Member

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    I’ve got a couple of problems going with my hives as we move into winter here in New Mexico. One hive is under attack from yellow jackets. Pretty substantially. ¼†hardware cloth does not work as the yellow jackets appear actually to be a little narrower than the bees and walk right through. I tried stopping down the entrance to one more easily defendable small hole. The yellow jackets still walk right in and the bees seem to have trouble figuring it out. However, less get in at a time now. I also put a wasp trap on top of the hive box. A few go for it, but most head for the hive entrance.

    The other question concerns feeding.

    We had a fairly severe drought this year and honey production was way down. I did not harvest from most boxes as stores were light. I’ve been feeding them 2 to 1 sugar syrup since September. They are still taking it, about a pint per week per hive. The hives still feel on the light side and inspection shows 8-10 bars of honey/pollen per box that are not close to full. The rest are empty. I’ve been told not to feed them in the winter, but no one told me when to stop. I’m guessing it’s when they stop taking it, but that hasn’t happened yet. Is there any general rule of thumb about this? Temperatures are just now starting to dip into the mid to low twenties at night.

    Thanks in advance for any insight and advice.

    Claude Stephenson
     
  2. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    A pint per week per hive is low intake. I have seen strong hives go through a gallon in 2 days or less. With your temps dipping down into the 20's at night my guess is its cooling off the feed and they will not take it if the feed temp is below 50 degrees. If they are light you might try a candy board with fondant or dry sugar on a newspaper.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    are you located in northern or southern New Mexico? the answer here would have an effect on the options you have for feeding.

    often time and in most locations a candy board or fondant are good feeding options for winter time <there is a link on another thread to Bjorn's web site in regards to fondant so you might wish to check that out. a pint per week is almost non existent uptake and suggest to me something is wrong either in the feed, the bees or the feeding mechanism.

    hopefully you have removed excessive space which may be at least part of the problem you are experiencing with yellow jackets.
     
  4. cstephen

    cstephen New Member

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    For what it's worth, I'm just south of Albuquerque, in the middle of the state. Neither north nor south.

    The bees were consuming a gallon or more a week per hive back in September and early October, but they've slacked off as the temps have chilled. So, when should I stop with the syrup?

    I was thinking I might supplement with fondant anyway.

    Now about those pesky little hornets.

    Claude
     
  5. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    The anti robbing screen should be 1/8 screen not 1/4. The yellow jackets wont go through #8 hardware cloth.
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    If they still need feed, I would switch to dry. Too much liquid in the hive is a killer.
     
  7. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    Wasps, yellow jackets, or hornets? :confused:

    It seems to me that if you could find and eradicate the nest, that would eliminate a good portion of your problem. [​IMG]
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    claude writes:
    For what it's worth, I'm just south of Albuquerque, in the middle of the state. Neither north nor south.

    tecumseh:
    at the north end of New Mexico where there is lots of elevation I would go along with Iddee warning. from the middle of the state to the Mexican border I would be less concerned about what I fed (ie I would suspect your conditions would be more aligned with what I see here).

    since hornets, wasp and such are not social insects in the same sense as honeybees I would suspect that problem is now a past problem and not a current problem. ie... wasp yellow jackets and such do not cluster and over winter like honeybees.
     
  9. Kennethaki

    Kennethaki New Member

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    Hi.
    You are very lucky with your temperatures. at 20 degrees I see no reason why your bees are not taking the liquid feed.
    Here in England my bees only come out now if the sun shines on their hives for about 2 hrs max.
    It is 8 to 12 degrees here.
    At these cold temperatures the bees have difficulty in reducing the liquid to put it in the cells. Too much water vapour is given of and can cause problems of mold and making the hive more difficult to keep warm.
    IT is recommended to feed Fondant which is pressed on top of the brood nest and covered with plastic to stop it drying out.
    Also you can put on a pollen patty substitute.
    A grease patty is also good for the winter feed.

    WASPS. PUT JAM JARS AROUND THE HIVE WITH SOME JAM AND A LITTLE WATER IN. mAKE SMALL HOLES PUSHED INWARDS IN THE LID.
    THESE JARS WILL FILL WITH WASPS WHICH YOU BURY AND THEN PUT IN MORE JAM AND WATER.
    THIS YEAR I HAVE EMPTIED FOUR JAM JARS THREE TIMES.

    I ALSO WHEN OBSERVING MY BEES I HAVE A FLY SWATTER IN HAND AND KILL ANY WASPS THAT HANG AROUND AND TRY TO GET IN THE HIVE.

    IN THE SPRING YOU PUT THESE JAM JARS OUT SAY IN FEBRUARY TO CATCH THE NEW QUEENS THAT ARE LOOKING TO SET UP NESTS.
    ONE QUEEN = HUNDREDS OF WASPS.

    THATS IT FOR NOW
    KEN
     
  10. BRASWELL

    BRASWELL New Member

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    Too much liquid a killer? My guess is the water will condensate in the hive this winter. So_ any suggestions to those who have been feeding this late in the fall. RB
     
  11. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Switch to dry feed and ventilate.
     
  12. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Braswell writes:
    Too much liquid a killer?

    tecumseh:
    as I previously suggested the answer to this question will depend on your location (I see you don't post your location????).

    here liquid is never a problem unless the feeder leaks or the top of the hive blow off just before a cold front blows in. at this location there is something of an upside of feeding 1 to 1 in that reducing the water from the feed generates a bit of heat as 'the girls' process the feed prior to placing it into cells. there is a marked increase in activity in those hives that are processing the 1 to 1 over those with no feed. at this location I have never fed 2 to 1 or candy boards <in a prior bee keeping life I have fed both of these but the reason had absolutely nothing to do with the extra water.