The Pests -Wasps The main wasp species in the UK are the Common or English Wasp (Vespula Vulgaris) and the German or European Wasp (Vespula Germanica). They belong to the order of insects known as Hymenoptera and are related to ants and bees.
Queen wasps emerge from hibernation in the spring and having mated in the autumn will commence building a nest in possibly a roof space, hollow tree, abandoned mouse or vole nest, rabbit hole, air vent, wall cavity, in fact almost anywhere. The nest is made up of hexagonal cells and built from chewed up, pulped wood. The queen lays her first eggs in the small, perhaps golf ball sized nest and when the eggs mature into grubs they are fed by the queen on protein based food such as small insects.
When the grubs develop into adult wasps the queen restricts her activities to egg production & the worker wasps take over the hunting/feeding duties of the growing colony, plus the cleaning, waste removal and building of further cells.
Towards midsummer the queen begins producing next years stock of queen grubs and males or drones, when these mature they leave the nest to mate. The new queens then look for somewhere to hibernate and the drones either die of starvation or are eaten by predators. Meanwhile back at the nest, the old queen will have stopped producing eggs and the number of developing grubs will have gone into decline, the worker wasps which have fed on secretions from the growing grubs all through the summer will begin to starve and this is when they begin making nuisances of themselves by gorging on ripening fruit, scavenging in rubbish bins etc and of course raiding picnics and barbeques.
In the UK at the height of summer a mature wasp colony can consist of up to 10,000 wasps, although the average is thought to be between 3 and 5,000. Unknown to many people, when a wasp is harmed or crushed it can give off a pheromone which triggers an attack mode in the rest of the colony. As a youngster I witnessed how dangerous wasps could be while out pigeon shooting one day. There had been little pigeon activity and I was sitting in my hide rather bored, with my dog at the time, a greyhound cross. I noticed a stream of wasps flying in and out of a hole in the bottom of a hedge bank and out of boredom and youthful devilment took a shot at the nest entrance with my shotgun. The dog, thinking he had a retrieve at last, ran in to the area of shot and began sniffing around. Suddenly the bank erupted where the nest entrance had been and a cloud of irate wasps spewed out into the air, the first thing they came to was the poor old dog and what happened next is etched in my memory.
The huge cloud of wasps locked on to the dog and chased him all round the field, being 3/4 greyhound he had a fair turn of speed, but he couldn't outrun those wasps. When I finally caught up with him some minutes later he was shaking like a leaf, very sorry for himself and obviously in alot of pain. There were wasps all over him burrowing into his short fur. I picked off those I could see then dunked him in a cow trough. The pigeon shooting had to be abandoned ( there were too many angry wasps about), and I went back for the decoys etc. later in the day when the dust had settled.
Needless to say I have never attempted to deal with a wasp nest since by shooting at one (its not an approved method!!) and it cured the dog from "running in".
Stings from wasps have a chemical mixture in the venom which includes histamene and depending on the victim's level of tolerance, usually multiple stings are required for fatal results, however certain people can develop allergies to wasp stings and as a result suffer serious anaphalactic shock which can cause death if not treated quickly enough.
Every year I see people who thought they'd save a few bob by treating their own wasp nests and the whole experience turns into an expensive and painful exercise. Big, mature nests that need treating are best dealt with by someone who knows what they're doing and has the right kit to do it. Not, as I encountered recently, by a chap with a torch on his head, two plastic bags on his hands and a can of spray bought at a DIY shop ( he got badly stung for his trouble). If access to the nest is possible, such as in a roof space or hanging in a bush, treatment usually involves the nest being injected with a chemical spray. If access to the nest is not possible a chemical dust is blown into the entrance hole & the wasp traffic in and out carries the treatment into the nest. By the next day there should be little or no wasp activity.
All my wasp work is covered by a free repeat treatment if the first visit fails.
Don't Get Stung This Summer !!! For Wasp Nest Removal in Bath,Banes area, Mendip or North Somerset
Call 01761 233 597
07749 896 541
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