I live in a rural area of Japan and we have a lot of giant hornets. The native Japanese bees have a way of protecting the hive from this ravenous marauder (they surround them and raise the temperature of the hive which kills the hornets http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apis_cerana_japonica ), but their honey production is low. ‘Western’ honey bee hives can be destroyed in a matter of hours ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_giant_hornet ) Does anyone have tips for keeping these monsters at bay?
I have seen the problem and sympathise with you, they are indeed a major danger to your hive. Once a single hornet discovers the bees, this message is taken back to the Hornets Nest and within a short time there will be dozens of hornets. I noticed that the Japanese bee invites the initial scout hornets into the hive and they kill them there, this prevents the message getting back to the nest. The good news is that due to their size you could reduce the hive entrance to prevent the hornets from entering into the hive or put a grill over the entrance similar in size to a queen excluder but slightly larger so the drones can come and go, this will allow the bees to exit and re-enter the hive but prevent the hornets from entering and destroying the queen, honey and brood. Bear in mind that the hornets will still get your bees.
Thanks! I’ll install an excluder. I’m also going to put a bunch of the hornet traps that are sold in the hardware stores here in the trees near the hive. I tried them out last year to see if they captured bees or other pollinators, and didn’t find anything but hornets in them.
I guess I’ll just have to stick with Japanese bees…