Zero-bycatch : How to use the red & orange nozzles



Each Gard’Apis kit comes with red and orange/yellow-coloured nozzles that fit to the cones.  These are designed to all but eliminate bycatch.

The red nozzles are intended to allow the entry of queen asian hornets and so should be used from early spring to early summer and again in autumn.

In spring the queens emerge from hibernation and build a small nest to raise the first batch of workers themselves, therefore every queen killed at this point will lessen the number of nests that go onto full hornet production.  At this point the queens are looking for both protein for the larvae and carbohydrates for themselves.

Queen European hornets are also about and the discrimination brought by the use of the red nozzle will prevent these from entering the trap.

Other, smaller insects that enter the trap through the mesh are free to come and go.

Once the primary nest is complete the queen and her workers leave this to go and set up the secondary nest.  She will not leave this to forage herself and all food collection is now undertaken by the worker hornets – and they are smaller than the queen.  This is the time to move to the orange nozzle to prevent the entry of worker European hornets.

This changeover typically occurs late spring to early summer but is weather dependant.

In the late autumn the hornet nest, before dying off for the winter will produce queens for the following year – often up to 300!

Selective trapping at this time is paramount and is the best way of lessening the hornet impact.  The queens will be looking to take on carbohydrates into their fat reserves, as will the European queens, so now it is time to get the red nozzles back on.

Some by-catch may occur particularly around the time of changing from red to orange to red nozzles, but if the trap is carefully monitored this may be easily dealt with – see our instructions on emptying the Gard’Apis trap.