Wasps And Hornets

Wasps and hornets belong to the insect family Vespidae and like bees, of the insect order Hymenoptera (in fact, it is believed that bees originally evolved from wasps!).

They are natural predators of bees, and for this reason, they are generally disliked by beekeepers.

However, it should be said that they are natural predators, and to some extent, honey bees have developed ways to ward them off. They may not always win the battle, however!


So how do bees deal with wasps and hornets?

New research suggests honeybees send warning signals to predators to hornets that they have been seen!

The study: “An ‘I see you’ prey–predator signal between the Asian honeybee, Apis cerana, and the hornet, Vespa velutina “– by Ken Tan, Zhenwei Wang, Hua Li, Shuang Yang, Zongwen Hu, Gerald Kastberger, Benjamin P. Oldroyd - published February 2012 in Animal Behaviour.

The signal involves the guard bees simultaneously vibrating their abodomens to create a ‘shaking signal’. In effect, what is produced is a ‘Mexican Wave’ of shaking honey bees, which warns the hornet to back off. If, however, the hornet should land too close to the entrance of the honey bee hive or nest, about 500 guard bees will pounce on the hornet, and kill it.

So how do hornets respond to this signal? They retreat! However, it’s not all great for bees, since the hornets then target single bees in flight! Read more.

The two lovely photographs of a hornet on this page were sent by Valerie Ferman, and were taken in France in Autumn 2011.

And what about wasps? It’s down to numbers. A single wasp will be dealt with by a colony of honey bees very easily, however, if the wasps outnumber the honey bees, the wasps will attack and kill them.

Some beekeepers make wasp traps in order to protect their bee hives from wasps, however, one of the best forms of protection is prevention. A Waspinator is a device that can deter wasps and hornets, by mimicking a wasp or hornet nest. Some beekeepers have had good success with several, placed nearby the hives.


The best way to deter wasps from making a nest is to use a WASPINATOR.

They do work!

Waspinators can be purchased from

Waspinators mimick wasp nests, discouraging actual wasps from making a nest (they're very territorial).

More links:


Wasp Life cycle
Learn about the fascinating lives of social and solitary wasps.

Wasp Pollination
Wasps are important pollinators - in some cases, they are the exclusive pollinators of some plants. Learn more here.

Wasp Nests
What should you do if you find a wasps' nest?

Prevent Wasp Stings
How to prevent and treat wasp stings.






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The best way to deter wasps from making a nest is to use a WASPINATOR.

They do work!

Waspinators can be purchased from

Waspinators mimick wasp nests, discouraging actual wasps from making a nest (they're very territorial).






Not many people like wasps, but they have an important role in the ecosystem!

Read more