Hornets and Wasps

As we are getting back into the Frélon Asiatique frenzy again with the warm weather, does anyone know if hornets and wasps give off danger signals when they are attacked.

The reason I ask is because I have killed a couple of the big hornets recently and within minutes you can guarantee there will be another handful round to have a look what is going on. So I was wondering do they emit some kind of chemical that warns the others of an attack?

thanks Brian, will make sure the girls leave him alone then!

Solitary wasps, they bore into wood and stone. Our walls are always full of holes that I fill every couple of years. This year they got indoors and there were their little nest among my books! No damage though. They are fairly harmless and rarely attack unless really seriously threatened.

hmm I saw a wasp looking thing bore a hole into a beam outside? How weird. Wonder what it was.

No, their nests hang from branches, beams and so on. They have no equipment or jaws for boring through anything.

I would imagine so Nick, since bats live on insects like moths and these ladies are bigger and juicier - pure protein and carbohydrate no doubt.

I don't know Suzanne, but I would assume they can.

I recently heard that bats prey on the Asiatic variety.

can they bore through wood?

Oh yes, quite a few birds and reptiles take them, perhaps other animals. I have no idea how they deal with the venom, perhaps just digest it.

I just walked my dogs and found myself chuckling at a local story that I shall recall.

Our local dead-eye dick hunter Jean-Marie had shot down several nests, so was feeling smug about that. One day he was out with three other hunters at the beginning of the season and saw a nice big nest. He blasted both barrels into the nest. It dislodged, bounced branch to branch and splatted on the ground. Unlike previous ones that remained intact which they could quickly put a fire over (the nests burn well too), this one burst open. Outcome: hunters did not get away fast enough although their dogs did. All four found themselves carried away by the Samu with siren sounding, soon to be in the emergency department of Bergerac hospital under heavy sedation, covered in some kind of lint and being treated for anticipated anaphylaxis given the number of stings each had.To keep hunters out of our field, especially J-M, I have placed some hives on the edge of the adjoining wood, they no longer come into the field.

I am sure this story can be repeated hundreds of times across France. It is, above all, a warning about what not to try.

Does anything prey on the Asian hornets?

Impressed Jane, you must have been quite near a nest. I wish I could eradicate that many in a week!

My wife smokes (stupidly) but holding a recently drawn cigarette near any of the stings also helps. however, Jane draws attention to one important point. If one is out for the day, gets stung and does not have a magnifying glass, spoon and means of heating it or smoker handy, then if you have the stuff for all kind of stings then it is better than nothing. My OH always carries it, especially for our daughters who are both quite allergic to all stings.

We have the same idea but a bought one. We fill it with the juice from our bottled quinces. They love it, we caught thirty frelons in half an hour once.

My neighbour who is a bee-keeper advised me to heat up the back of a spoon and put it on the sting as hot as I could tolerate, same principle I suppose, but it also works when the sun is not out and you do not have a magnifying glass to hand.

Also, please everybody, remember that it you see a large nest and there are lots of the big ones around, go to your mairie and complain abou them, tell them exactly where it is. The pompiers used to clear them but since funding cutbacks and an increase in the numbers of the nests in most areas they have stopped. There is a duty to remove them, but accepting that maires are a law unto themselves so often, if it is not dealt with, go back and ask who the nearest beekeepers are. If they are not helpful, either use your yellow pages or ask around. If they are within a couple of kms they will be very interested in removing the nest. It it is knocked down it should be poisoned, burned or whatever there and then to ensure the maximum number of workers, the queen, drones, larvae and eggs perish. The nest are kind of coconut shaped, pointed toward where they are attached to the branch, beam or X. Make sure they are the Asian type because the indigenous ones are a necessary part of the predation chain.

Trapping helps but the blighters breed as fast as they are eliminated. So keep an eye out.

That's really good Ben - thank you! (Now I just need to Google translate some of it...)

I have placed some of them on my grounds, but only in the spring to catch the queens that are awakening and fly out to form their new nest. These ones are "selective" as in retaining the hornets in the trap whilst letting other species like bees get out again.

Here's a good example of a building instruction; forget the little outside take-off platform. Add 4-8 holes of maximal 6 mm instead on that level all around the bottle. Bees will find their way out, fall to the ground and take off from there LOL Due to the spongy material on the bottom they will not drown and have ample time to escape and your local beekeeper will love you for it :-)

I'm not taking credit for the above - a lady posted it on Facebook and it seemed (1) a plausible method and (2) another recycling hint for those plastic bottles. If it works, though, cheap and cheerful! Don't like the sound of spitting venom - sounds like me when I'm in a bad mood.

I can only imagine that eyes could be very nasty, as for the rest seems pretty low risk.

I was reading today that the asian chappies can throw their venom without even having to touch you. Don't know what effect that has though.

Oh please nail away, the Asian invaders do upset my little ladies which means all the less honey for me! Val, I've never tried but I hear than the maggots anglers use are fantastic bait because being carnivores their greedy little eyes see super food, go have a nibble then are stuck. Mind you, you'd have to lay bait every day so not time efficient.

Wish we had some plums for them to raid. Bad year this, eight trees and not even eight plums between them! That and missing apples, quinces and so on means that wasps will become a real pest soon, grrr!