bees and wasps

Asked July 27, 2015, 8:12 PM EDT

My neighbor claims that wasps (like yellow jackets) kill bees and will attack a bee hive. This is news to me. Is this assumption accurate? Please let me know. Thanks, Carolyn

Denver County Colorado wasps

1 Response

The western yellowjacket (Vespula pensylvanica) will rob hives that have in the end stages. They cannot successfully attack a healthy hive which can easily fend these off. So I would say they are not a significant threat to honey bee colonies since the only honey bee colonies they impact are very likely at the end of their life, probably with no queen.

(And, incidentally, this year the western yellowjacket populations in eastern Colorado are very low in 2015, as they got hammered by the extended, cool wet weather in spring that coincided with the period when overwintering queens attempt to establish new colonies.)

There are some other wasps that will prey on a few workers - the bee wolves - but they are minor in importance and infrequently seen in Colorado.