Wasp Traps

As July heads toward August you should start thinking about protecting your bees from wasp attacks and that means protecting your hives and trapping as many wasps as you can. Wasps are a particular menace to bees from late August through the autumn with weaker colonies and NUC’s being most vulnerable. You can help your colonies by preparing now and I’ve got some tips to assist you.

Get some Wasp Traps out now and start catching as many wasps as you can by placing them in a defensive circle around your hives. You can make a simple trap from a 2ltr plastic drinks bottle as shown in the pictures below, the only negative is these traps fill with rain water so need emptying after a down pour and re-baiting.











Baiting your traps is very easy. Cat food + apple juice is a good recipe earlier in the season. Sweet things such as jam, cola a good choice from August onwards. I don’t know what it is about strawberry jam, but I always seem to catch bees when I use strawberry jam, so possibly a flavour to avoid. Sugar mixed with cheap beer is apparently another good recipe for baiting traps with. Whatever you do, don’t use a watered solution of honey or sugar syrup as bait as this will also attract bees.

The object of the exercise is to catch as many wasps as possible to: A) reduce their numbers, and B) to prevent as many scout wasps locating your hives in the first place. The more traps you use will result in greater odds for your bees. Your final defence is to reduce your hive entrances from Mid-August. This will make it easier for your bees to defend and harder for the attacking wasps.

What to do if you discover a hive under attack. If you are able to prepare in advance, then do so by running a hose pipe with a sprinkler attached to the site. If you witness an attack underway switch the sprinkler on to disperse the attacking wasps. This will only provide a brief rest bite; the wasps will be back, so you should consider moving the hive. If you are unable to have a sprinkler on hand at the site then suit yourself up and go in and close the hive entrance off so the wasps can’t get in. Once the wasps have gone, and it may be a while before they give up, they might even turn their attention to another hive so beware, wait until dusk and relocate the hive to another site beyond the 3-mile radius. You’ll be able to return the hive back to your apiary after a month.


Varroa Control Treatments

It won’t be long before you’ll be applying your summer Varroa Treatments. I’ve looked around at the suppliers to see what deals are out there and in every instance, I’ve found to be offering the best prices, with the exception of Apivar, a new treatment which claims to be 99% effective in the treatment of varroa. Apivar is available exclusively from Thornes in packs of 10 strips, enough to treat 5 hives, and has a shelf life of 24 months. Apivar treatment takes between 6-10 weeks, and the treatment cost per hive works out to £6.20.

Most beekeepers will be familiar with Apiguard. Again, this comes in packs of 10 trays, enough to treat 5 hives, with a shelf life of 24 months. You will need a treatment eke to use Apiguard, which carriers an additional cost, but once you have it (or made your own) you won’t need to purchase again. Apiguard treatment takes between 4-6 weeks, and the treatment cost per hive works out to £3.50.

Api Life Var is an odd one to my way of thinking. It comes in a 2 wafer pack, and yet it is recommend you use three strips per dosage, so why sell it in 2 wafer strips? Three applications are necessary, which will require 9 wafers per hive. It has a 12 month shelf life, and Api Life Var treatment takes between 3-4 weeks. If you only have one hive the treatment cost works out to a staggering £8.75, for two hives that drops to £7.88 per hive.

MARQS – people have mixed feelings about MARQS. It is pretty potent stuff, and there have been reports of it damaging queens and wiping out colonies. On the plus side, it can be used during the honey flow and there is no need to remove supers. For those in favour, here are the details. You can currently obtain a two dose pack of MARQS from bee-equipment for £11.43. However, the expiry date is August 2018, so you’ll need to be quick. MARQS treatment takes 7 days, and the treatment cost per hive works out to £5.72.

So, to the pros and cons:

If it’s a quick treatment you are after the MARQS wins hands down by treating a hive in just 7 days – there is nothing out there that can beat it. It also has the added bonus that it can used with supers on, a huge bonus for many. If you are worried about it being so potent and the reports that it may adversely affect your colony, you could increase the ventilation in your hive by lifting the super along one edge with a couple of matchsticks for 24-48 hours. Personally, I’d be reluctant to use it on a weak colony, but a strong colony with brood and a half or double brood box, especially if it had a couple of supers, I wouldn’t hesitate, but it comes at a price under normal pricing.

Apivar makes a fantastic claim of its 99% success rate, but personally I wouldn’t want a treatment that was going to take up to two and a half months and at £6.20 it gets a big thumb’s down from me.

Apiguard is a tried and tested treatment. It’s price competitive that’s only let down by the fact that treatment can take up to six weeks.

Api Life Var might be the second quickest method of treatment of the four I looked at, but still gets a big thumb’s down from me. One site I visited recommended treatment in strips of three, another suggested two strips. It could be argued that a weaker colony may only need two wafers, whereas a strong colony needs three. That should be made clear from the off set, but either way, it’s pretty expensive even if it takes up to 4 weeks to treat a hive.

Whichever way you decide to go, do make sure you read the instructions carefully before purchasing.



Below is a link to a list of Pollen and nectar rich plants for your garden




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