This year has seen a huge increase in wasp numbers, having had a quieter few years which we in the pest control industry have put down to several years of wet springs and summers. The wasps have made a good come back and no doubt you have been pestered by these sometimes annoying insects, you may even have been stung a few times. Believe it or not they do a valuable job most of the time. Certainly in the early part of spring and summer the wasps feed on many pest species of insect catching and killing the insects such as aphids and then transporting it back to the nest for butchering and then feeding to their young. Adult wasps cannot eat solids but suck up food as liquids. The mandibles on the front are used in defence attack or as tools. As the summer moves on the diet changes to a more sweet demanding one and then the wasps become a pest to us humans as they move in on beer gardens, house gardens, picnics and other sweet food sources including my bee hives. At the beehives the bees bravely battle to keep wasps out of their hives. If a hive bees become weakened the wasps will move in and strip the hive of honey and young bees which will then become food for the growing wasp nest.
Wasp nests start in the autumn when mated queens seek the warm and shelter of any structure more often roof spaces to hibernate during the winter. In the spring she builds a small nest the size of a small light bulb which she hangs from a structure. She will make this a chewed wood to form a paper like material, she will lay a few eggs and then she will fly and seek food to feed her growing young. When a sufficient number of wasps have hatched and become independent she will then stay in the nest and her new offspring will seek more food for the eggs she will hatch. As the numbers grow so does the nest with layer upon layer of paper nest material over the layer before it and forming interlinking passageways. The structure is a truly beautiful thing of nature and we should respect wasps for their skill. A good queen wasp can lay 100 or so eggs a day, unlike a really good queen bee that can lay up to 1200 a day.
Towards the end of the summer and early autumn the queen wasp lays up to 1500 queen eggs and a number drones and these will fly from the nest and mate at special areas with others queens and drones starting the process again.
Most people are not allergic to wasp or bee stings, the sting just hurts and may itch for a while however if someone is stung and starts to feel unwell to do seek medical attention right away, don’t leave it. It could be the start of anaphylactic shock.
We can deal with wasps using insecticides and can supply various products to keep most wasps away from your gardens. Call us for free advice on any pest issue if you need to, see our advert for details.
Andy - First Choice Pest Control Ltd