Adventures in Beekeeping: When bees attack

Posted by on May 31, 2013 at 9:28 am.

Part of my fascination with honeybees, like many of God’s creatures, is their intelligence…

Sure they’re tireless workers which is evident with the myriad of tasks that go into keeping a hive healthy and functional but they also use a variety of strategies to handle potential robbers. Sometimes they’re effective in keeping out uninvited guests by ruthlessly shutting down these potential thieves and other times they aren’t as fortunate.

 

Below is an interesting video of how the Asian honeybees tackle a much bigger visitor, the Japanese giant hornet.

 

And while it might not seem like such a big deal, since it’s only one hornet, you have to remember the hornet is much larger than these honeybees. One hornet can kill forty European honeybees in minutes. If they round up a few other hornets they could easily wipe out an entire honeybee colony

Which is evidenced in the above video, 30 giant hornets took out an entire honeybee hive. If it’s an established hive, that’s about 40,000 honeybees. Yep, hornets are no joke. They are ruthless killers in the insect world.

Above, you can watch the same video of hornets attacking the honeybees — but with “epic music.”

I’ve already known about the potential hive robbing, more than bears will attack a honeybee hive. I’m just sharing here since I find it fascinating.  Having your honeybee hive(s) wiped out is definitely not something you want to experience as a beekeeper. So it’s important to take precautions (although that doesn’t guarantee your hive(s) won’t be destroyed.  Part of my preventative maintenance is installing the  top bar feeders inside the beehive. Additionally entrance reducers have been placed to narrow the opening into the hive. I’m giving my honeybees every chance they can get to ward of potential risks to their hive.

A few years ago, I started seeing Japanese giant hornets in Maryland. No, they aren’t cicada killer wasps, I know exactly what they look like. We have those also. These were different than any hornets I’d seen in these parts and after a lot of research I was able to identify them as Japanese giant hornets. Earlier this week, I was bitten by fire ants in our garden. While I’ve seen (And felt their painful bite) while in South Carolina, I’ve never seen them here until now.

More news on my honeybees

My bee supplier updated their Facebook page, most people should receive their honeybees either today or tomorrow. And a few people will be getting their early next week. Here’s hoping I get them this weekend! I already told my daughter, if I get the call today, she can leave school early to watch me install the honeybees. I already informed her teacher about this and she seems excited for my daughter.

Slightly off topic

My daughter has done very well this semester. It looks like she will receive straight A’s. Which means she’ll have received honor roll every single quarter. She recently turned ten years old, I  can’t always expect her to  to study independently. Which is why I’m there to assist her, if needed, and help her understand difficult concepts.

2 Comments

  • suituapui says:

    I had bees infesting two fruit trees in my house compound once, local mango. The bees lived elsewhere…and would come during the day and go off in a big black cloud at dusk. I was afraid to let my girl, very small then, go out to play…and since I could not get rid of the bees, I got rid of the trees. Real sad as they produced really nice fruits.
    suituapui recently posted..Ginger…

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    Opal Reply:

    @suituapui, We have the hornet issue in the summer. The hornets love our fruit trees. We see them more than the regular bumblebee or honeybee. I’m guessing is the hornets don’t play nicely with others and will run them off. 😉 I can see why you’d be concerned though. I’ve wanted beehives for years, but decided to wait until my daughter was much older than an infant before getting them.
    Opal recently posted..Adventures in Beekeeping: Sometime this week, I’ll receive my bees

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