A: Thin-skinned varieties of grapes are often susceptible to wasp and hornet damage in the fall. These insects usually create holes where the stem meets the fruit and are actually responsible for the initial fruit damage. Bees, opportunists that they are, then come along and are attracted to the sugary grape pulp. Once they find a source of sugar, they tell their friends and your trouble starts to multiply.
Unfortunately, you also need bees to pollinate your vines for grape production. Bees only live about 6 weeks, so killing them with insecticides doesn't work because more worker bees simply quickly replace the dead bees. The use of any insecticides on your grapes against wasps and hornets would have required applications at pre-harvest intervals and will do little good now that your grape crop is here. My suggestions is two-fold:
1. Search and destroy any nearby wasp or hornet nests. Check the trees, ground and outbuildings on your property.
2. Lure bees away from your vines by planting nectar-producing flowers away from the area your grapes are growing. Plan for blooms all season long-especially during the late summer when your grape crop is coming in (use butterfly attracting plants as your guide). Hanging sugar feeders may also work, but understand that you risk coming into contact with stinging insects while cleaning and refilling them.
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WE LIVE IN ALBERTA, CANADA, WE DON'T HAVE GRAPES BUT HAVE LOTS OF BEE'S. WE HAVE TROUBLE KEEPING THEM AWAY FROM OUR HUMMINGBIRD FEEDERS. WE MAKE BEE BOMBS
(MY SON INVENTED THESE AND THEY WORK GREAT)
TAKE A 2 LITER POP BOTTLE AND CUT 2 UPSIDE DOWN "T's" A LITTLE MORE THAN HALF WAY UP THE BOTTLE. MAKE THE BOTTOM OF THE T ABOUT 1" WIDE AND GENTLY PUSH THE FLAPS IN TOWARDS THE INSIDE JUST ENOUGH FOR THE BEE TO CRAWL IN. POKE TWO SMALL HOLES IN THE CAP AND THREAD A STRING TO HANG IT UP AND THEN POUR A CAN OF POP INTO THE BOMB AND HANG IT UP.
THE BEES CRAWL IN AND CAN'T GET OUT.
JUST HANG A FEW NEAR YOUR GRAPES VINES.
IT REALLY WORKS. TRY IT.
Just wanted to follow up and clarify that honeybees do not aid in grape flower pollination. Grapes self-fertilize, and this nearly always occurs before the flower even opens.
We have some wonderful thin-skinned grapes and last year the bees stripped the vines. I will NOT kill bees, especially as they are so necessary in agricultural areas and are just making a world-wide comeback now. Solution? I go out early in the morning and harvest everything I want. They are not around then.