The problem with waps is they do like to feed on bees, larvae and honey

Yellow jackets can be very persistent in wanting to enter the hive, but the bees are usually a little ahead of them in building up their numbers and are able to defend the hive entrance.

If the hive is a little weaker or you find many wasps are easily gaining access to the hive (I wouldn't worry about the odd occasional wasp briefly sneaking in), you might consider reducing the entrance down to make it easier for the bees to defend.


In situations where it feels like a hive is really under attack, or it becomes impossible to perform inspections without large gangs of wasps appearing, wasp traps can gradually reduce the wasp numbers around your hive. I'm not proud of this, and dislike using them, so it's only something I've used reluctantly in situations where I felt it would prevent bees from suffering.

The trap in the video above is simply a water bottle top cut off and placed back into the bottle upside-down. This creates a funnel entrance into the center of the bottle. Any wasp that enters will have difficulty finding this entrance again. As the transparent bottle lets light in through the sides, this is where they search for an exit.

The bottle can be baited with a fermenting sugar or meat so wasps will be attracted but not bees.


A poster outlining distinguishing features of bees, wasps and flies. Click on the image to see it full sized.

The differences between bees, wasps and flies

This video shows a honey bee along side a group of wasps, and illustrates some of the latter's eating habits (warning this video is a little graphic):

Check out this citizen scientist pollinator monitoring guide for more details on the differences between bees, wasps, and flies.

There's also a great video here that offers a fascinating overview of the many different types of bees.

Photo credits:

Title : Honey Bee Macro by Karunakar Rayker (CC-BY-NC)3A wasp by Trounce/Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY)

Intro: Blue by Louise Docker (CC-BY)Native bee by Nuytsia@Tas (CC-BY-NC-SA)Female Metallic Green Bee by sankax (CC-BY-NC) Nomade -- Cuckoo Bee by Gilles Gonthier (CC-BY) After the heat by Jean and Fred Hort (CC-BY-NC) Large Cuckoo Wasp (Stilbum cyanurum) by David Cook (CC-BY-NC) Wasp in low light by jeevan jose (CC-BY-NC-SA)My best pose by Buddy Venturanza (CC-BY-NC-SA)

Anatomy: IMG_2996 by klaas de gelder (CC-BY-NC) European Wasp on a white background by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos ( CC-BY-NC)

Food: Bee by Trey Ratcliff (CC-BY-NC-SA) Abeille (me tirant la langue) sur une fleur de pissenlit by Thomas Bresson (CC-BY) Hungry bee by Jaume Tor´┐Żn (CC-BY-NC-SA) Metallic Green Bee_crop by mommamia (CC-BY-NC-SA) Thread-waisted wasp with prey by Patrick Coin (CC-BY-NC-SA)Meat Bee by Beej Jorgensen (CC-BY-NC)Blue Flower Wasp by Louise Docker (CC-BY)Apple eaten by wasps by metal213 (CC-BY)

Nest: oh, hi! by Rob Cruickshank (CC-BY)Bees Nest by Steve Harris (CC-BY-NC)Apis mellifera by Ernie (Public domain)Hylaeus emerging by Rob Cruickshank (CC-BY)Save the Habitat! by Karunakar Rayker (CC-BY)Paper Wasp (Polistes major) by Bob Peterson (CC-BY-SA)10 wasp nest by Sharon Brogan (CC-BY-NC-SA)Zeta argillaceum's nest construction process by Alex Popovkin (CC-BY)

Flies: Thick-Headed Fly? by Bob Peterson (CC-BY-SA)Sicus ferrugineus by Christophe Quintin (CC-BY-NC)Spot eyes by Jean and Fred Hort (CC-BY-NC) Marmalade Hoverfly by Goutam Gujjar (CC-BY-NC-SA)Florida Bee Killer (Mallophora bomboides) by Bob Peterson (CC-BY-SA)Hoverfly by Dendroica cerulea (CC-BY)