Preventing Wasps in Beehive
by Jan Ray
I had a new colony of bees, went away for 5 days, came home to no bees and a wasp nest inside. What is a good way to prevent wasps from going in my hive?
Sorry you lost your bees. I hope you'll be able to replace them.
Unfortunately, I don't know of any way to prevent wasps from entering a hive. There's nothing you can do (so far as I know) to keep out wasps or to kill them that wouldn't also effect the bees.
My guess, though, is that the wasp nest you found in the hive had nothing to do with the demise of the hive. The wasps probably just took advantage of an ideal location for a nest after the bees were gone.
I've found wasp nests in abandoned/dead hives on several occasions. But I've never seen, or heard of, wasps building a nest inside an active honey bee colony.
Some wasp species are predators of honey bees. And some wasp species will sneak into hives to rob a bit of honey. But wasps don't generally do any great amount of harm to a bee colony - certainly not enough to do it in. That's my experience, anyway.
I've also checked my bee books, and don't find any mention of wasps being serious honey bee pests. If someone knows otherwise, or knows of a way to keep wasps from entering a hive, perhaps they'll use the comment form to let us know about it.
(As an aside, I did find an interesting reference to the defensive behavior bees sometimes use against individual wasps attempting to enter the hive. A number of bees will form a tight cluster around the wasp, preventing it from entering or leaving. They hold the wasp in the cluster until the temperature in the center of the cluster raises high enough to kill the wasp. The bees are able to survive the high temperature.)