Yellow Jackets Terrorizing and Robbing my Bees

Asked October 18, 2017, 5:12 PM EDT

I am a first year beekeeper and I am having trouble with yellow jackets. I have baited with some success all summer, but this fall the yellow jacket population has exploded in my yard. They have already stolen winter honey stores and my bees can't afford to lose anymore. As the bees and I were losing the battle, I put out some open feeding for them to at least take some pressure off my bees. I need to figure out how to control them though. I am especially worried about approaching colder weather as the bees cluster before the yellow jackets quit flying. They will be defenseless. Anything will be appreciated.

Larimer County Colorado

1 Response

There is no satisfactory answer to this situation, which is common as long as weather is warm enough to allow yellowjackets to fly.

If yellowjackets are capable of entering an active colony that is a very strong indication that the colony is very weak to begin with. A strong colony can normally fend off such attacks.

The best I can offer is to 1) provide a food source away from the colony to divert some (as you are doing) and 2) restrict the size of the colony opening to a minimum, or perhaps move the opening, so that the guard bees at the nest entrance are better able to defend the colony.

Soon, yellowjacket activity will cease, as colonies are abandoned late in the year and the wasps die out (only a few overwintering queens survive between seasons).