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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here.Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Cannibalism in the Bee Yard

Today the bee-eaters were out in force.  At this time of year I often see the European hornet in the beeyard, looking for bees to feed their young.  One such hornet has camped out on the post to the stair railing of my deck, keeping her eyes on the comings and goings of the bees in my nearby hives.  While she is large and fierce looking, she is not so much a danger to me as she is to the bees.  She grabs bees and whisks them off to feed her babies.

Although I caught her on this shrub, most of her time she spends on my deck stair post.


From this vantage point, she has a great view of the bees as they come and go.  She didn't like my presence and although she didn't sting me, she dive bombed my hair as she did the day before.  It worked.  I moved.   

Although I didn't get a shot of it, I saw a bald-faced hornet struggling with a bee.  The hornet finally won the battle and carried the still-fighting bee off to feed its family.

I think I've gotten a photo of the bald-faced hornet in its cannabalistic glory every year so I'll have to watch over the next few days for another opportunity to capture its image.


  1. We don't have the European hornet in Oregon thank goodness. However, we do have our share of yellow-jackets and they are picking off the old bees that land on the ground in front of the hives. I usually have a few bald faced hornet nests around but they don't seem to bother the bees. The bald faced hornet by the way is not a hornet. It is a variety of yellow-jacket.

  2. The bald faced hornet, the European hornet, and the yellow jacket are all wasps unlike the honey bee which is a bee. Wasps have thin waists for example while bees do not

  3. I imagine that most people finding your blog know the difference between wasps and honey bees. Most however, probably are not aware that although the common name is "bald faced hornet", it is not a hornet.
    To clarify: The baldfaced hornet is an ‘aerial yellowjacket’ - one of 7 or 8 species in the genus Dolichovespula in North America. However, it is not a ‘true’ hornet – it is a yellowjacket. The only hornet in North America is the European hornet, Vespa crabro, and it is an accidentally introduced species. All of the yellowjackets in the genus Dolichovespula build nests in bushes and trees (sometimes on the outside of buildings), and produce the characteristic football shaped, grey papery nests.
    Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
    Order: Hymenoptera
    Family: Vespidae
    Subfamily: Vespinae
    Genus: Vespula
    Species Dolichovespula maculata

  4. Fascinating. Thank you for the info and for all the effort !

  5. bizde sizdeki eşekarısının daha büyüğü var.kovanlara hiç rahat vermiyorlar.özellikle ağustos -eylül ayında en fazla oldukları dönem.karton üstüne fare yapıştıcısı sürüyoruz.birkaç parça tavuk eti serpiştiriyoruz.eşekarıları ete geliyor ve yapışıyor.kovanların korunması için bunu yapmak zorundayız.

  6. You are nicer than I am Linda. I guess I get overprotective of my bees and I kill any spider or wasp I see near my hives! The hive tool comes in handy =)


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