Advice for Controlling Wasps

Are you worried about wasp stings? Have you found a wasps’ nest? Learn all about wasp nest treatments in our ultimate wasp pest control guide. Get rid of wasps for good with ‘Advice for Controlling Wasps’

If you’ve spotted lots of wasps and you’re worried about getting stung, we’ve put together a guide all about Britain’s most annoying BBQ guest.

Pest controllers get thousands of call-outs to treat for wasps every year – so if you’re having wasp issues, you’re not alone! Whether you’re thinking about doing some DIY wasp pest control, or you’re looking to enlist the help of a professional pest management company, this guide’s for you.

Queen wasps emerge and start working on new nests in the Spring, as the weather gets warmer. By the Summer months, wasp nests are working overtime, with up to 300 eggs being produced every day and up to 5,000 adults feeding grubs and building the nest structure.

In the UK you’re most likely to come across (Vespula vulgaris) and German Wasps (Vespula germanica). Both species are yellow and black striped, and have painful stings that can cause allergic reactions.

The dangers: why we control wasps

One of Britain’s most feared and potentially aggressive pests, wasps are known for their nasty stings and seemingly unprovoked attacks.

In reality, wasps will usually only attack a person if they feel threatened. The problem is a social wasp in distress emits a pheromone that sends nearby colony members into a defensive, stinging frenzy.

That’s right – scare a wasp and it might call for backup.Wasp stings are at best painful, and at worst fatal.

If you’re sensitive to wasp stings then they can send you into anaphylaxis – a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.

Children, elderly people, those with allergies, and household pets are particularly sensitive to wasp stings.

If you’re worried about a large amount of wasp activity around your home and family, or business, talk to us today.

Treating wasp stings

If after a sting you have difficulties breathing, dizziness or a swollen face – you need to seek immediate medical treatment.

If you’ve not had a severe allergic reaction, your sting will still be very painful.

To treat a sting yourself:

  1. Wash around the sting with soap and water
  2. Apply a cold compress, like an ice pack, for at least 10 minutes
  3. Elevate the affected area, if possible.
  4. Avoid scratching and don’t try any daft home remedies. Vinegar and bicarbonate of soda is probably going to make it worse.

Should all wasps’ nests be treated?

No. Wasps should only be treated if they pose a risk to public health and safety.

Wasps can be beneficial in gardens as they feed their grubs on caterpillars and other insects, thereby reducing these pest populations.

Signs of wasp nests

If you’re seeing a large number of wasps in and around your home or work, there’s probably a wasps’ nest or a substantial attractant nearby.

Wasp nests’ come in many different shapes and sizes. They’re amazing pieces of architecture that can contain up to 5,000 wasps during peak activity in late Summer.

They build their nest using chewed wood and saliva to make a papier mache material. The nest material is durable, lightweight and surprisingly waterproof.

Hundreds of wasps produce this papery material to build out their nest. Every wasps’ nest is both unique and shares characteristics with other colonies of the same species.

Wasps are likely to make their nests in sheltered spots. You’re likely to find wasps’ nests:

  • Under trees
  • In bushes
  • In wall cavies
  • Under eaves
  • In your shed or garage.

Characteristics of wasps

The queen wasp is larger than normal wasps (about 20mm).

She hibernates over winter, making a nest in the spring in which to lay her eggs. She feeds the grubs on insects until they develop into worker wasps, three to four weeks later.

Workers, all sterile females, forage for over a mile in search of food.

At the end of the year when the colder air arrives, and fruit starts to perish quickly, wasps start to starve or die of the cold.

The adult worker wasps start to die off, and the new queen wasps go into hibernation and emerge in the spring to initiate the process again, building completely brand new nests.

One nest may produce 3,000-8,000 wasps in a year.

What wasps eat

Wasps are natural pest controllers and tend to eat other insects.

At their peak in August and September with the youngsters reared, the workers turn to the sweet food they prefer and become a nuisance.

Wasp or bee?

It’s really easy for you to mistake bees for wasps.

The way we treat bees and wasps are very different.

Bee’s are an important, beneficial species rarely considered a pest. Professional pest controllers only treat bees nests if it’s a significant threat to public health as last resort.

Bees are hymenoptera, specialising in flowers, eating nectar for energy and pollen for protein.

Bees of all types are essential to our ecosystems, being the highest number of pollinating insect.

An estimated third of all crops are pollination-dependent, including those used in livestock feed, covering 70 different types of crop.

If you’re unsure about whether you’re looking at bees or wasps, contact a us, we’ll be able to help.

If possible and safe, take a photo to help with the identification.

OPC is committed to protected bees, as is the British Beekeepers Association, Bumblebee Conservation Trust and the Tree Bee Society.

Preventing wasps and their nests

Prevention is always better than cure. There’s things you can do to stop wasps invading your home or business.

Windows and doors

Simply keeping your home secure will stop wasps wandering into the house. Standard fly screens can help stop wasps getting in, while remaining cool in the hotter months.

Keep your bins shut

Open bins will attract greedy wasps looking for a cheap, sweet meal. Keep you bins away from the house and make sure the lid is on properly.

Check for nests early

You can check all the most likely spots of wasps each Spring when the nests are tiny and easy to deal with. They’ll be about the size of a golf ball. Check the loft, garage, shed and under eaves.

How to get rid of wasp nests

When wasps are causing a nuisance or endangering human health, we may have to destroy a wasps’ nest.

Treating a wasp nest can be very dangerous. Wasps inside the nest will feel threatened and often become aggressive. This could cause them to sting you and others as they defend their nest resulting in multiple stings. Unlike bees, wasps do not die after one sting, they can, and will, sting you quite a few times!

Remember, not every wasps’ nest needs destroying – so if it’s well away from a building in a rarely used part of the garden, you might want to just leave it alone.

Wasps abandon their nests after the Summer and won’t return to it the following year.

NEVER attempt to deal with a wasps’ nest if you think you might be allergic to stings.

If you’re worried about a large amount of wasp activity around your home and family, or business, talk to us today.

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