6.2 Honeybee Safety

The WaspBane wasp trap can be used relatively safely in the immediate vicinity of bee hives. However, certain precautions must be taken to avoid the unintended capture of honeybees.

1. Make certain that no raw honey becomes trapped in the WaspBane bait chamber green safety seal. Honeybees are attracted by honey and if honey is accidentally spilled into the fins of the safety seal then honeybees may be attracted to the trap. Do not follow the assembly instructions shown in the WaspBane assembly video. Instead, add the contents of the activator sachet to the bait chamber. Then prepare the bait liquid in a bucket or or other suitable container and if using honey, make sure that the honey is completely dissolved in the bait liquid. Insert a funnel into the bait chamber and then pour in the bait liquid making sure not to spill any of the liquid into the fins of the green safety seal. The funnel will protect the safety seal during filling.

2. Do not exceed 100g of honey. The bait system adulterates the honey so that honeybees are not attracted to the bait. However, if too much honey is added then the honey will overwhelm the bait system and may then attract honeybees. Supplement the honey with maple syrup up to 150g – 200g if so desired. Alternatively, if you have concerns then try using a jam instead but please be advised that WaspBane cannot guarantee the performance of the trap if jams are used instead of honey.

3. Take down the WaspBane wasp trap after the last of the ivy has flowered. Ivy is the last source of nectar before winter and honeybees may be attracted to the WaspBane wasp trap out of desparation if they are hungry and not properly fed. If you need to protect your hives into November and beyond then please ensure that the honeybees are properly fed to avoid honeybees coming to the trap for food. Some bee keepers have used the WaspBane wasp trap as a barometer to check that they are providing enough food for their honeybees to see them through the winter. If such bee keepers see honeybees entering the WaspBane wasp trap they know that the honeybees are starving and do not have sufficient food stores. However, using the WaspBane wasp trap as a barometer in this way is not something that WaspBane is qualified to recommend.

4. If placing WaspBane wasp traps directly on top of bee hives then it is suggested that the trap is additionally secured to prevent it from toppling in strong gales. Double sided velcro or sticky pads may be suitable.

Extensive field studies have been performed on the WaspBane wasp trap when used to protect bee hives to assess the impact of the WaspBane trap on honeybee safety.

When used in the immediate vicinity of a bee hive, either when placed directly on top of the hive or directly in front of the hive entrance, then a small number of honeybees may be unintentionally caught. However the number of honeybees caught should be small and should have no impact on the health of the hive. There are four reasons why honeybees may enter the WaspBane trap when used in such a way:

1. The occasional honeybee has been observed ‘stumbling’ into the WaspBane wasp trap just because of the shear volume of honeybee traffic around the hive.

2. Sentry honeybees have been observed entering the WaspBane wasp trap to attack wasps caught in the WaspBane wasp trap.

3. Honeybees have been observed entering the WaspBane wasp trap where care has not been taken to avoid entraining raw honey in the fins of the green safety seal or when too much honey has been used in excess of the recommended limit of 100g.

4. Honeybees have been observed in late November entering the WaspBane wasp trap after the last of the ivy has flowered. It was discovered that the honeybees were hungry and that insufficient food (fondant) had been laid down for them. When properly fed the honeybees ignored the trap.

In routine garden use, no honeybees have been caught in any of the field studies.