The Bee Space

Bees Under Attack!


One of my beehives was going crazy

Talk about unsettling! Two days ago I looked out of the window and saw one of my beehives going crazy.  I instinctively thought, “Oh no, they are going to swarm!”  Then I remembered I had just added another hive box, so there was plenty of room for them to build more comb.  What was going on?

I ran out to the hive and looked at the bees buzzing around the entrance.  I could see that some of the bees were fanning, which means only one thing…The Hive Is Being Disturbed!  Sure enough, at that moment I saw something yellow streak into the mass of bees at the hive entrance and grab a bee.  It was a yellow jacket.  There were yellow jackets attacking the beehive and eating honeybees!

A Yellow Jacket (Genus Vespula) - Source: Wikipedia

The honeybees fought back bravely. I saw two or three bees attacking one yellow jacket.  They rolled around on the ground in a ball, trying to sting each other…a battle to the death.  Then, another yellow jacket joined the fight and started to sting the honeybees.  Sadly, it was all over for the honeybees in that skirmish.  Two yellow jackets against two honeybees is certain death for the bees.   But, in this case it was also curtains for the yellow jackets.  I squished them with my boots. For the next five minutes, I stomped on yellow jackets.   I must have killed twenty or more.  The dying yellow jackets emit a scent which draws other yellow jackets to the fray.  I had a regular stompfest there in front of my beehive.

After a while, the beehive settled down, and peace once again reigned in the kingdom of Apis.  The bees returned to gathering nectar and pollen and I returned to my other tasks of the day.   Since then, I have been watching my hives more closely than before…still wary of the lurking yellow predators who want to eat my bees.