Honey Bee Pests and Diseases

Varroa AFB

Threats to the Honey Bee: Wasps & the Wool Carder Bee

Honey bee
Common Wasp
Wool carder bee

Check out these photos of Honey Bees, Wasps and Wool Carder Bees

Wasps

The common wasps we see in our gardens are a big threat to Honey Bees and Monarch Butterflies. They will attack a bee hive, steal the honey, eat the bee eggs & larvae and kill the bees.

It takes up to 5 honeybees to kill one wasp. So get rid of wasps whenever you can.

Wasps will die out over the winter except for the Queen wasp. She will hibernate and wake in spring looking for a nest. She is bigger than a normal wasp, so if you see a large wasp make sure you kill it. Excellent article on wasps and how to eliminate them. Also check out this Waikato area Wasp Fact Sheet.

The size of a wasp nest will increase through Summer and reach their peak size in Autumn - they can reach the size of a beach ball containing up to 5000 wasps...

Wasp bait recipe

Take one small tin of fish flavoured cat food and mix in 2-3 drops of Frontline flea control (the cat or dog version but must have Fipronil as the active ingredient). To put out the bait - find a tree or fence post out of the way of pets. Get a normal size can and nail it into place. Place the mix into the can and squeeze the top shut leaving enough room for the wasps to enter. The idea is that the wasps take the bait and go back to their nest and die. The other wasps will eat this wasp and they too will die.

More Frontline in the mix is not better as too much means the wasps will die before they get back to their nest or unattracted to the bait. Bees are not attracted to this mixture.

Wasp Bait & Traps Links

Wool Carder Bee

Another new threat to the honeybee is the wool carder bee. This bee is relatively new to New Zealand. It was first discovered in Napier and Nelson in 2006 and since there have been sightings of this bee in Auckland and in the Waikato.

The wool carder bee is a solitary bee about the size of a honeybee. The female is usually seen foraging but can be seen ‘carding’ fibers from plants to use as nest material - hence the name. It is very visible with its bright yellow colour. The male wool carder bee is extremely territorial and will defend the floral resources by attacking the visiting honeybees. The males have 5 sharp spines on their abdomen that are used to attack.