My hives have been suffering from Asian hornet attacks - we live in Japan. Although in one hive there are still a lot of bees their activty is VERY low - hardly any around the front of the hive entrance. Should this be expected - a change in their behaviou to limit their exposure to the hornets, or is it probably a sign the colony is it serious trouble?
Asian hornets can empty a hive in a couple of days. I would inspect and see what is going on inside.
I have inspected and some frames are much lighter - so seems they’ve been eating their stores. The numbers of bees is still quite high but as I mentioned, little or no action in the entrance/outside.
OK, sorry I didn’t understand properly. Did you see the queen? Any brood?
I would try a hornet defense entrance on the hive in any case. The hornets have probably killed off a lot of foragers, and as you head into fall, you may need to consider feeding the hive if the forager numbers are still low. As hornets tend to swoop straight at the entrance, you may find that a robbing screen helps, but I think the French beekeepers who have bad Asian hornets have a different solution. Here is a blog article about it:
Dawn: Thank you for the link and invaluable feedback. As you may have guessed I’m new to beekeeping. It makes a lot of sense that the foreger numbers would be greatly reduced. I have a feeder now inside the roof and they are using it and yesterday there was a lot of activity outside the hive for an hour or so.
The numbers of hornets attacking has fallen but we have killed clsoe to 200.
A great tip I was given and that is working is to use sticky pads (for catching mice/rats). Place an alive horet on a pad then others come and get trapped. After 4 days the pads have caught about 40 hornets and it means we don’t have to be there so often to defend the hive.
The best thing I can think to draw the hornets away, is one of those hanging traps, away from the hives.
Although in this video, he hangs them right near his hives:
I’ve also seen a similar thing for SHB.