Pest and predators of honey bees

This photo of a skunk(Mephitis mephitis) was taken when it was leaving my apiary this spring.

Skunk feces with bee parts in it is a good indication the skunk has been feeding on bees.  Another sign is digging/scratching in front of the hive entrance.  The bees are sometimes ornery from skunk feeding on them at night

As the weather starts to warm and flowers start to bloom, honey bee colonies start hoarding pollen and nectar to rear brood. At the same time, honey bee pests start to awaken from their winter slumbers or eclose from an egg. What are these pest interested in? Most pests feed on the bees themselves, bee brood (for protein), sugar/corn syrup or pollen patties. The chances of these pests attacking hives are higher when food is scarce or when there are large apiaries of 40 or more hives. Some beekeepers use electric fences in hopes to deter some of these pests (image below of an electric fence). Others use carpet tack strips near the entrance or other deterrents. It is amazing to see how wily these pests can be when they are hungry and are in competition with each other.

Bear fence set-up.
Toads will often sit by hive entrances to eat bees at night in warm weather.
Lizards also sit around hive entrances to eat bees.

I have included different images above of some honey bee preditors I have photographed over the past few years. There are descriptions below the image explaining a little more about each photo. There are a few pest I did not have pictures of mice, ears, raccoons and opossums. Pest will go after top feeders, inside feeders and nucleus colonies. Please share any pest stories you have in the comment section.

Unfortuanly many honey bees fall prey to other arthropods.
A spider wrapping a honey bee in web.
Jumping spider(Salticidae) waiting to attack a honey bee.

…to be continued.


22 thoughts on “Pest and predators of honey bees

  1. Does anyone see birds that catch bees in the air? What is the name of the birds that do catch bees? I have seen bees caught in the air by a type of bird and do not know the name of it.

  2. Do Guniea Fowl present problems as predators if they are allowed to move around the hives? I understand that they are very good at keeping insects such as ticks removed.

  3. ive noticed a large number of red wasps around our hives.
    the bees seem agitated by their presence.

  4. Wasps will kill bees and get into hives I put the reducer on when I see them. I also try to kill those bad boys…

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  9. Hi, I discovered a nest of what I thought were yellow jackets. I found the nest located in a low bush one day when cutting my lawn. They really did not bother me as long as I did not stick the lawn mower near their home!

    Well today, I found what looks like the remains of their honey comb. I also detected the gamey smell of some kind of animal – quite frankly, it smells like a ground hog. I do not think ground hogs bother bees nests, so I am thinking a racoon or skunk.

    I took some pictures and would welcome any comments.

  10. I have a solitary bee house that had about30/35 bees housed, when I came home the other day( November 8th) I noticed that all of them had had their leaves removed, as if they had hatched, didn’t think this was possible in November, could they have been attacked by something? Please help.

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