[Tweeters] Bee communication, slightly off topic

Wally Davis wallydavis3 at gmail.com
Wed Jun 29 17:17:56 PDT 2016

Interesting observation. As a bee keeper for 30 years I can't remember a
case where another hive in an apiary got upset even though the hive I was
working on was totally agitated. Bees use an "alarm" pheromone to
communicate agitation.

Wasps also use an alarm pheromone and the death of a wasp will trigger
response from the nest. Nevertheless, pheromones would be my guess as to
what happened with you, but it is surprising that the death of wasps in one
nest would trigger an alarm from those in another.

Unlike wasps, domesticated bees have been bred for gentleness and I
occasionally look into my hives without any protective equipment. Perhaps
more than 100 years of selective breeding is why bees and the wasps you had
to deal with behaved differently. For those of you who immediately jump to
the African bees, they aren't domesticated and likely evolved the aggressive
behavior in response to constant predation including from the Bee-eaters
Mary wanted.

Personally I wouldn't tolerate a nest of yellow jackets anywhere on my
property. My favorite approach is to put a solution of 1 cup ivory liquid
to a gallon of water into a garden sprayer; it will drop even flying wasps
instantly. The soap kills the oil generated surface tension that keeps the
trachea open when the animal gets wet. If you have yellow jackets in the
ground, go out at night and pour half a cup of ivory liquid in the hole then
retreat till things settle down. Then put your hose on trickle and let the
water run into the hole - end of underground nest without hard chemicals.

Wally Davis


From: tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu
[mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of mary
Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2016 11:34 AM
To: Alice; Tweeters Tweeters Bird Chat
Subject: [Tweeters] Bee communication, slightly off topic

Went out a bit ago to clean off the east deck and get started on staining
it. For over a month there has been a steadily growing yellow jacket ball
over the front door just under the peak of the eave. I leave them alone,
they leave me alone. As I took the 'CK Voss' of my dad's sign off the deck
step I found a small paper wasp/yellow jacket nest behind it. There were
four wasps in it and I was able to immediately euthanize them all. I had
to go inside for something and when I came back out to try to work the wasps
were in an uproar. I was able to finish sweeping the deck all the while
with wasps bouncing off me and trying to crawl in my hair. I went back
inside and came out again when they settled down. I was able to get the
board closest to the wall stained before a wasp stung me through the knit
part of my right glove. The rest of the hive was buzzing ominously so I
decided it was time to give up on the deck. There was plaintain close at
hand so I got some and put on the sting and it immediately stopped the
stinging. I headed for the back door and got a couple more plaintain leaves
on the way in. I made a poultice and have it under a bandaid and the
stinging and swelling is minimal.

My question is, how did the the hive 12 feet up on the wall find out I had
killed the other wasps??? Were there ultrahigh frequency screams I couldn't
hear??? Death pheramones sent out? Bee ESP? Hopefully the bee funeral
will get over soon so I can get the deck done.

Where are the Bee-eater birds when you need them???

For those not into herbal lore, plaintain leaves are great for bee stings.
Crush them and apply them to the sting site immediately. It will take away
the sting and greatly reduce any swelling. Of course if you have a bee
allergy stick with your regular post sting treatment. Plaintain is seen as
a weed by most folks. It's found throughout the US and often grows in your
flower bed without your permission.

Mary Hrudkaj


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