Are Wasps Attracted to Honey?
If you’re a beekeeper, this question is of utmost importance to you. That’s because wasps are mostly carnivorous, and, aside from honey, they will also kill and consume bees and their larvae. So, yes, wasps are attracted to honey and other sweet foods and liquids.
Honey, however, attracts them even more due to the extra sweetness and excess of calories. As a beekeeper, one of your primary concerns would be to safeguard your bee colonies from rogue wasps and even wasp invasions that are known to occur.
Why do Wasps Like Honey?
Simply put – thanks to the taste. Wasps love anything sweet, including flower nectar, ripe fruits, sugar, cookies, soda, etc. Their food preferences often bring them in close contact with humans, which is why we often see wasp nests near human homes and gardens.
Once the wasps have identified the beehive, problems will begin to arise. Nothing will really stop them from entering the hive and causing carnage. Beekeepers need to constantly be on the lookout for wasp nests forming near their bee population.
Is Honey Good for Wasp Trap?
Yes, it is. Wasp traps are effective against a variety of wasp species since most, if not all of them, have similar food preferences. Some wasps are predators, others are scavengers, parasitoids, or carnivorous, but if there’s one thing that unites them, that’s their love for honey.
Setting a trap is rather easy, taking little time and literally 0 financial efforts. Here’s what to do:
Get a plastic bottle and cut it right below the tapper – To make sure the cut is straight, use a marker to draw a line where the cut would be
Separate the bottle into 2 parts – You can use a pair of scissors, a knife, or, better yet, a box cutter.
- Prepare the bait – You can easily use honey, as its distinct odor and taste will immediately attract wasps. Just remember to mix it with water to reduce its viscosity. You should also add some vinegar into the mix as a side note. This will make the bait unappealing to bees but won’t discourage wasps from trying it.
- Set the trap – After pouring the bait mix into the bottom of the bottle, place the top part which you’ve cut inside the bottom part. You will place it upside down and push it inside until the cuts overlap and seal the trap. Wasps will only be able to access the bait via the upside-down neck.
- Set the details – Make sure that the bottle’s neck doesn’t touch the bait mix. This will force wasps to stretch to reach the honey, causing them to slip and fall inside eventually. At that point, getting out will become impossible.
After you’ve set the honey trap properly, hang it around the area where you’ve seen wasps. You might need to regularly collect the dead bees inside the trap and reset it.
Also, if you see a lot of wasps swarming your bait, you might have a nest nearby. At that point, finding and destroying the nest should become your main goal. This is a more effective technique for wasp removal than the trap. Until then, however, the honey trap will work just fine as it’s ideal for removing rogue wasps.
Do Wasps Make Honey?
No, they don’t. Unlike bees, wasps don’t survive the winter, so they have no interest in making food reserves. Bees only make honey to feed themselves and their larvae through the cold season, while wasps simply die off when temperatures drop. Only the queen survives the winter, going into a hibernation state and coming out during spring to build its nest.
Despite not creating honey, wasps do eat flower nectar, which means they also contribute to pollination, although not as effectively as bees. If your goal is to produce honey, wasps are most definitely not the right choice.
Do Wasps Attack and Kill Honey Bees?
Yes, they do. Bees pose no danger to wasps since the latter are larger and more powerful and possess vicious mandibles that can kill and dismantle adult bees. Adult wasps feed almost exclusively on honey, nectar, and sweet liquids, but their larvae need protein.
This means that wasps invading a bee nest will not only steal the honey, but kill the larvae, eat the eggs, and execute workers to feed to their young. In many cases, wasps will also kill the queen, effectively neutralizing the nest.
The Asian Giant hornet, or the murder hornet, is a good example in this sense. Their name stems from their predilection to prey on honeybees. They not only catch the insects in mid-air and carry them to their nest (yes, murder hornets are eusocial insects), but they also raid beehives with horrific results.
Less than 2 dozen murder hornets can eradicate an entire bee nest, capable of killing thousands of bees in a matter of several hours. To make things worse, these hornets, once bound to Asian soil, have now made their way into various areas in Canada and US.
How to Stop Wasps from Getting Into Bee Hives?
Keeping wasps far away from your beehives as possible is essential to protect the bee population and your honey reserves at the same time. There’s no single method that’s 100% successful at repelling wasps, so you should rather rely on several.
Here are some useful tips in this sense:
- Wasp repelling plants – Wasps hate mint, eucalyptus, and citronella, among other plants. Plant some around your garden or beehive at a reasonable distance to discourage wasps from expanding their territory to include your property.
- Clean food residues – Most wasps are opportunistic scavengers, and they will find food wherever food can be found. This includes the garbage bin near your home or food scraps around the garden. Avoid leaving food leftovers everywhere to deprive wasps of potential meals.
- Consider a trap – Wasp traps are easy to build as they require little of your time and almost no financial investment. Build one or several, depending on the severity of the wasp invasion.
- Destroy nests – If you notice too many wasps around too often, they might have built a nest nearby. Assess the situation and only tackle it yourself if the nest is manageable. If it’s too large or contains too many wasps, call professionals for safety reasons. You don’t want to challenge a wasp swarm on its own turf.
These preventive measures and solutions should be enough to keep wasps far away from your property.
All wasps love honey, and all of them can kill bees in the process of getting it. Smaller wasps that are not interested in attacking bees will only eat the honey, kill the larvae, eat the eggs, and destroy honeycombs. The adults will remain, but the hive will be in ruin.
As a beekeeper, you should treat wasps with the respect and resolution necessary to protect your investment.