Author Topic: Yellow Jackets And Robbing  (Read 381 times)

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Offline Jen

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Yellow Jackets And Robbing
« on: October 29, 2018, 02:27:05 pm »
What are yellow jackets after when robbing a hive? Yellow jackets are actually wasps but are often called 'meat bees.' I know that they pick up dead or lone honey bees and feed them to their babies and I guess themselves. But if they are robbing a hive, are they after the honey? or the larvae/pupae?


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Offline neillsayers

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Re: Yellow Jackets And Robbing
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2018, 03:03:50 pm »
Jen,
Yellow jackets are meat eaters. They feed insects and meat to their brood and the brood excrete waste that is sweet and the adults eat it. At the end of the season when no more brood is being raised, they get desperate for something sweet and will rob a beehive empty stinging any bee that objects. At least that is how I understand it their life cycle to work. It's not hard to literally trap an entire colony at this time of year with sugar syrup traps. I believe only the queen survives winter, so it's key to get her and she won't look a lot different from the rest of the YJs.

If I got anything wrong here someone please jump in. :) 
Neill Sayers
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Offline Jen

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Re: Yellow Jackets And Robbing
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2018, 04:39:24 pm »
Neil, so if yellow jackets go into a hive this time of year hungry, then they will go for the honey, but sting the bees who are trying to defend. If a hive was robbed by yellow jackets and all of the honey is still there... what did they go in there for?
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Offline riverbee

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Re: Yellow Jackets And Robbing
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2018, 08:46:40 pm »
jen,
yellow jackets are going for any 'protein', and our hives are full of protein.... bees, larvae, brood, bee bread, and honey. when it comes to yellow jackets, anything in the hive is pretty much 'open season'.
not sure what the purpose of a yellow jacket is cuz they sure can create all sorts of problems, and they are quick to sting without provocation.
here is a short article on YJ's from bee informed partnership:

YELLOW JACKETS
i keep wild things in a box..........™
if you obey the rules, you miss all the fun.....katherine hepburn
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Offline neillsayers

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Re: Yellow Jackets And Robbing
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2018, 10:58:52 pm »
Thanks Riverbee,

That is a very informative article. Where I live they don't really become a problem until right before the first killing frost. If the hive is weak they will wipe em out. This time of the year you can find them in dumpsters, trash cans, anywhere food and sweets are located.
Neill Sayers
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Offline Jen

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Re: Yellow Jackets And Robbing
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2018, 12:32:12 pm »
Good informative thread here! Thanks guys!
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Offline riverbee

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Re: Yellow Jackets And Robbing
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2018, 10:22:31 pm »
neil, i typically don't have problems with them buggers until fall even though they can be pesky all season long. in fall months they are looking to get in to the hives. i have yet to suffer a weak hive succumbing to a yellow jacket invasion.

this year, for some reason, the yellow jackets drove me crazy, they were all over a pine tree next to my deck and on my deck the past couple months harvesting wood off my deck furniture (wood) and flying around. my hives, the bees pretty much defended and drove them off.  i got stung a time or two, just from minding my own business hanging out on my deck.  found two nests and destroyed them.

and jen btw, you are welcome
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Yellow Jackets And Robbing
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2018, 05:28:41 am »
I never saw a yellow jacket until last week.  I had some extra 2:1 sugar syrup so I sat it out for the bees.  I was quite attractive to the YJ.   >:(

Offline Jen

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Re: Yellow Jackets And Robbing
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2018, 10:00:05 pm »
As far as I'm concerned, the very best yellow jacket treatment is blue jays, or stellar jays that nest right near your yard. Man! They come in and knock down every yellow jacket nest and feed the larvae to their babies. We've had this two years in a row, and jump for joy when the blue jays swoop across the grass and snag those vermits.
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Offline neillsayers

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Re: Yellow Jackets And Robbing
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2018, 10:29:12 pm »
We love wild birds for that reason. Bats also, anything that eats a mosquito is my friend. The yellow jackets we have here are ground nesters-their worst enemy is skunks. I have a mixed feelings about them.

This thread has made me rethink the hives I lost last year. I assumed yellow jackets and hornets were to blame but now I think they were just part of the equation. In the end I think feral bees robbed them out.
Neill Sayers
Herbhome Bees
USDA Zone 7a