In the last 5 years two particular traps for wasps and hornets have proved the most effective at trapping: Tap Trap with beer baits, to be used in spring for catching wasp queens, and Sfera Trap with protein baits, to be used in apiaries during summer.
In this article we explain the working of Sfera Trap: the first glue trap that is placed directly in apiaries to defend bees from predators such as Vespa crabro and Vespa velutina.
- 1 WHY A PROTEIN BASED WASP TRAP
- 2 HOW SFERA TRAP WORKS IN APIARIES
- 3 WHY USING SFERA TRAP
- 4 HELPFUL TIPS
- 5 USEFUL TIPS
WHY A PROTEIN BASED WASP TRAP
During the summer, the eggs laid by the hornet queen hatch. To feed the larvae, the hornet workers go hunting for protein rich food and bring it to the nest: this food includes bees, along with various other types of insects. We could say that during this period the apiary is comparable to a food supermarket for wasps and hornets.
HOW SFERA TRAP WORKS IN APIARIES
Sfera Tap is a spherical chromotropic glue trap. Its main attraction is the bright yellow color. The capture of hornets occurs via the glue spread on the surface of the trap before placing it.
To catch hornets and wasps in apiaries, the wasp-trap Sfera Trap must be used with a protein bait placed directly on the surface of the sphere (in our tests, the salmon flavoured cat food proved to be the most effective bait). The trap prepared in this way must be placed in strategic places between beehives: wasps and hornets, attracted by the scent of the protein bait, approach the trap to eat the food and remain trapped on the glue.
Here’s how to prepare the trap.
How to prepare the wasp trap Sfera Trap for the apiary
Sfera Trap is composed of two hemispheres that must be assembled to form a sphere of 25 cm in diameter, equipped with a latching ring for hanging, and with an internal LED light: this must never be used when using Sfera Trap to defend the apiary.
- Assemble the two hemispheres without placing the LED light inside.
- Wrap the trap with transparent plastic film that must be adherent to the surface: we recommend using reels of plastic packaging film, easily available in hardware stores, as shown in the picture below.
- Hang the trap on a mobile support to facilitate the transport, such as a vegetable box with a plastic tube (see recommendations at the bottom of this article).
- Spray a glue for insect on the trap. Other types of non sprayable glue can also be used (see recommendations).
- Add salmon paté for cats (easily available in supermarket stores).
- Place the trap in apiaries.
Where to put Sfera Trap in apiaries
Sfera Trap is a highly selective trap for wasps and hornets and must be used with very important precautions.
Sfera Trap can only be placed:
- Above the hive
- Behind the hive
- Between one hive and another
Where Sfera Trap must never be placed:
- In front of the hive
- Hanging from the trees around the apiary
- On flowering plants and shrubs nearby
❖ ❖ I M P O R T A N T ❖ ❖
To avoid the risk of the bees being trapped, it is extremely important that you never place Sfera Trap in front of beehives
How to use Sfera Trap in apiaries
- Sfera Trap for apiaries should always be used without its internal light: its nocturnal brightness would otherwise put bees at risk.
- The trap should be moved away from the proximity of beehives whenever it is necessary to open them or to perform any type of operation on them.
- To move Sfera Trap easily, we advise to build a mobile support – for instance fixing a plastic tube to a plastic empty vegetable box.
- When necessary, remove the cling film and prepare the trap anew.
WHY USING SFERA TRAP
- Because it can be used directly in apiaries, in the period in which the damage caused by the hornets and Vespa velutina is most substantial: the use of the protein bait is essential for the trap to be effective in reducing the pressure of these predators in front of beehives.
- Because it is practical: the cling film upon which the glue and the bait is placed can be easily replaced, and the plastic surface of the trap itself does not need to get dirty.
- Because it is versatile and can also be used for catching other types of harmful insects.
- Because it is reusable for many seasons.
- Because it can hang from a mobile support and can be moved when and where you need it.
- Because it allows us to count the hornets it captures.
- Because the strength of its attractant qualities is increased by the hornets it captures: this happens when, in the persistent attempt to free themselves from the glue, the hornets emit a substance that is strongly attractive to other hornets.
Very successful trials of Sfera Trap were carried out in Western Liguria, the part of Italy that has been particularly hit by Asian hornet
- Suitable entomological glue range from sprayable glue (the most practical of all), to tube mouse glue, and brush glue.
- Sprayable glue is the most recommended: in case of loss of adhesion, it will be easy to spray some other glue and reposition the trap, without necessarily replacing the transparent plastic.
- The cling film cover can be easily removed with a knife, as shown in this short video guide (with English subtitles), and can be replaced whenever you need it.
- The building of a mobile support is strongly recommended – with a vegetable box and a plastic tube for instance; this way it will also be easier to collect the captured specimens that fall from the trap, thus avoiding contamination of the apiary ground with the glue that inevitably remains stuck to the insects.
Hornets and wasps after the summer period
When the summer season ends, crabro wasps (European hornet) and velutina wasps (Asian hornet) no longer need protein food: what attracts them are once again the sweetest substances. Therefore, in that period and until the onset of the winter, the ideal wasp-trap to use are the ones with a beer-only bait or a bittersweet bait. We can therefore return to the same method of trapping already used in spring by means of Tap Trap.
Where to find Sfera Trap
- Sfera Trap against fly infestations
- Sfera Trap for stables
- Sfera Trap per for greenhouses
This article was written and edited by
Roberto Carello and Maura Rizzo
All photos, unless otherwise indicated, are Copyright Roberto Carello et Vanda Bellini.