For any bee keeper losing a hive is a sad time. I am lucky enough to keep the Japanese honeybee, a very sturdy honeybee. In fact the only time I really need to worry about my hives is during the autumn months when the giant asian hornet decides to turn it’s radar onto my hives.
It’s been well documented that Japanese honeybees can ward off attacks from these hornets, however I have found that if the hornets are persistent enough the bees really have no chance.
The beekeeper does have one weapon in their arsenal which uses the Japanese Hornets pheromones against itself. Using sticky paper they catch one Hornet, and then make it super angry (this is not hard to do 🙂 ) . After catching this hornet we then lay the paper in the path of the oncoming hornets and one by one they die to there sticky deaths.
Since spring have seen a few buzzing around but taking zero interest in the hives, Well the giant hornet that is, the yellow hornet (Vespa simillima) has be testing the bees defenses over the summer months but never attacking the hives in the great number.
Hornet Trap! Sugar, Vingar and Japanese Saké
Bees balling a yellow hornet
Armed with a fly swat I attempted to rid the hive from the attacking hornets. Not a brilliant plan, but the only thing I could do. Of course it didn’t work the Hornets turned their attention to me, luckily I was wearing my thick motorbike pants and jacket (I hadn’t planned fight hornets)
After killing about five hornets, yes five. I decided that my “swat and run” strategy was not gonna work and I was probably going to die. (note : giant hornets kill about 40 to 50 people per year in Japan).
Anyway not to tempt fate, I decided to go and buy the best weapon known to the Japanese beekeeper. No, not a flamethrower. A mousetrap, a sticky.. very sticky mousetrap.
Final result : 250 dead hornets, One hive lost. One hive saved but damaged, the hornets chewed through wood to enter the hive.
These bees are not doing well…. Maybe this hive can be a one of my test hives of see if I can move them into a different kind of hive. At the present they are in a 重箱式（じゅうばこしき Jubbako Shiki） “Traditional Japanese nested box style hive” which generally works well for Japanese honeybees.
Received my first hive from a local bee keeper today, The colony is an extremely big one and he also helpled me move it to apiary (well one day) at my friends coffee shop Fuku-cafe in Shitori on Awaji Island.
I have trying do this for the past three years and now I am finally making some baby steps.