Giant Asian Hornets

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.

aftermath of hornet attack
Aftermath of hornet attack, bees gone, honey intact, larvae eaten.

 

 

 

2016 First Harvest!

Happy Honey Harvest 2016!

Well it’s my first harvest of the year,  Lets hope the year brings a lot more honey. Yum Yum…. home for me!

Raw Honey
First Harvest for 2016

Hornet Attack!

I wasn’t ready for this! No, I should say I wasn’t ready to see two of my hives covered in the Japanese giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia japonica).

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.

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.

Autumn Honey Raid!

3kg of honey is a good amount for the Japanese honey bee (Apis cerana japonica)

The autumn wildflower honey taste has a mild sweet brown sugar favour to it.

3kg of honey

Troubled Bees

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.

I did get some beautiful photos.

First trap set

Time to start bee keeping, setting up an old hive from one of the local beekeepers.