Most of us are inclined to make a run for it when we see a wasp approaching and it would appear as though we’re not the only ones. While bees may seem like the bigger and scarier of the two insects, it is in fact very common for wasps to kill bees. Why exactly is this however?
They’re Looking For Something Sweet
Early in the year, wasps collect meat and carrion (including dead bees) which they chew and then pass on to feed their larvae in the nest. The protein helps the new bodies to grow and the larvae in turn excrete a sugary honeydew which satisfies the wasp’s sweet tooth. By the late summer/early autumn however, the larvae have hatched and the adult wasps have to get their sugar fix elsewhere and this is when they start attacking beehives.
Wasps such as the Bald Faced Hornet are particularly lethal to honey bees because they will bite off their heads and abdomen and then fly the thorax back to the wasp nest to feed it to their larvae.
Unbeknown to many, wasp larvae are meat eaters and they therefore very much enjoy the bee parts that are supplied to them. They reward the foraging wasp with liquid that an adult wasp can digest and it’s this reward system that keeps the cycle going.
They Target Weak Colonies
Wasps will attack a beehive if they believe the colony is weak enough to make it worth their while. They try it on with most hives at some point but will persist in numbers if they have success.
Wasps normally start with weaker hives and then continually test its defences. The wasps fight with the defending bees but if there are enough wasps, they will eventually kill the bees at the hive entrance.
The main reason for this is because the wasps are after the honey or protein (the brood). Even for the bees that weren’t killed during the initial attack, chances are that they will starve to death after the wasps have taken all their food.
How To Stop Wasps From Killing Bees
Whether you keep bees yourself or are trying to protect a nest in your garden, there are a number of ways you can try to stop wasps from attacking them:
• Remove any rubbish bins or other sources of abandoned sugary substances from the beehive
• Check there aren’t any fruit trees nearby because this is bound to attract wasps
• Narrow the entrance to the hive because this makes it easier for the bees to defend themselves. Do make sure there’s enough room for them to remove any dead bees however
• Wasps defend the territory around their nests very aggressively which means that they tend to avoid each other’s area. A pretend nest can be a great way to deter them from coming within range of any bees
If you think that you have a wasp infestation and would like help treating it, please feel free to get in touch with Prokill today. Our accredited experts will be happy to provide you with a free, no obligation quote.