European Wasps in the Canberra Region


#1

Recently at an apiary I noticed a significant number of insects flying in and out of a disused rabbit burrow and, as this was a rather unusual event, I took a closer look identifying the culprits as European Wasps in a very active wasp nest.

As European Wasps can be a major pest for honey bees, not to mention a royal pain in the butt to everyone else, I contacted a local pest controller and was told of a Canberra based entomologist who was after live wasp nests for his research and that he was happy to take these away free of charge where they as a nest can be exhumed from the ground. Please note that the researcher only removes European Wasp nests in the Canberra region that can dug out of the ground as his primary reason for exhuming the nest is to undertake further research on what he recovers.

Anyway, the images which I snapped of the Wasp Guru are:

1). Him pouring ‘ether’ into the entrance of the colony to subdue the wasps in the nest along with those returning to the nest. This tool about 15 minutes to shut down the flying wasp traffic returning to the colony.

2). The exhumed wasp nest which he seemed very happy with.

XCS Consulting who have the Wasp Guru, an actual entomologist no less, can be contacted at :
0416 115 255.


#2

Well, we spotted another European Wasp nest today in soft soil on private property within the ACT, the wasps were coming and going from their nest at a rate of 90 wasps per second which indicates that the nest should be around the size of two basket balls. The entrance hole to the hive was around the same size as a chicken egg with the grass around the entrance further removed to the size of softball. Presumably the wasps do this ‘garden landscaping’ to remove anything that would otherwise inhibit their flight path as they travel too and from the nest with food for their colony.

The Wasp Guru’s at XCS Consultants were again contacted and they will be popping out this week to exhume and remove this nest which is harassing the bees in an apiary not 50 metres away… XCS Entomologists exhume the nests for ongoing wasp research and seemed very happy to hear from us again, thank you again XCS.

So, just a reminder to stay vigilant for European Wasp attacks against your bees at this time of the year as they can cause significant damage to established hives as they kill your bees, guard bees included, and feed the dismembered bees to their larvae.

I will check what wasp activity remains at this apiary site this coming weekend post this second wasp nest being removed and provide you with further updates, fingers crossed this will see an end to their raiding of the bee hives and a return to normal activity for the bees as we slide very quickly into Winter here in Canberra,

Regards,

Eric


#3

Hello Eric

One less wasp nest in the apiary area!

Large one with heaps of queen brood (1.5 Kg) and workers combs (1.2 Kg).
Also lots of queen adults. Dissected a few and half were gravid - laying eggs in their own nest instead of feeding and building up fat body reserves prior to leaving for hibernation quarters – a unique Australian bit of behaviour in this species.

Thanks for your help – this nest is just what I needed!!

Cheers,
Phil

www.xcsconsulting.com.au


#4

Okay, please be warned the the images contained within this posting may distress some viewers who, like me, care greatly for honey bees…

So, in the apiary today happen to notice a few bees walking about looking rather odd until you have that light bulb moment and notice that they no longer have an abdomen. This is a classic first sign that European Wasps have changed their diet recently from carbohydrates that they collected as honey dew off aphids and the like to protein. This event happens each year though we appear to be a few weeks ahead this year than we were last year for this event.

The culprit?, well thats the European Wasps who will be circling your hives and attaching any bees that are walking from the hive. Soon they will turn their efforts to the guard bees attacking them in a similar way to then raid the bee colony for bee larvae that they will carry out of the hive for food for their rapidly growing and very hungry colony.

The wasp below, with its wing off at a crazy angle as a result of my size 110 Dr Martin shoe being planted with significant effort was one of a number of wasps circling the floor of an apiary in Weston Creek.

Keeping your entrances to you hives restricted helps the bees to defend against the wasps but it also pays to have a walk around your neighbourhood to find the wasp nest so it can then be removed.

Please be aware of the significant risks and associated fines of off license applications of pesticides that can be found if you google anything hard enough as these backyard voodoo wasp control recipes pose a significant risk to the environment and go a long way to damaging the good name of responsible beekeepers.

Be alert not alarmed, the world needs more lerts…


#5

Hello Team,

This one is under the category of ‘Crazy things that men Will Do’. I was in Bunnings Tuggers on Thursday to buy yet more stuff for my house renovation addiction. We all have a bug and at the moment that’s mine.

In the tool section, where the good stuff is, a man was in the process of buying some plastic sheet gauze so he could staple up a wasp proof suit. Then he was planning to mortein the hell of a European wasp nest, I bumped an aggressive native wasp nest with some WD-40 last week, just as an aside.

The three old dudes around, I being one of them, then opened up on how stupid an idea that was. I chimed in with ‘how much is your life worth?’ Another chap mentions he is getting in the specialist exterminator that day!0.

I mention that I’, a beekeeper and keepers are afraid of these wasps’. Actually as I type with my right eye nearly puffed shut from some stings, I am prepared to hence forth triple check visor integrity.

I think in Tassie they have killed nests which are regulation HUGE. Like a metre in diameter with several Queens doing the queen Alien trick at high speed. I had a some a couple of years ago, and they emptied the special wasp killer bait hanging thingy TWICE!

As the Sun is setting start looking for the wasps hanging around with intent around your hives. Then take safe action.

Cheers,

Roland