How do I know I have a wasp nest?
If you see wasps entering & leaving a hole in the ground, a wall, roof or any other part of a building between May & November then you probably have a wasp nest. You may be getting ‘unexplained’ wasps inside a room which may indicate a nest nearby. In the Autumn as the days get shorter wasps get attracted to lights inside building which they confuse with sunrise.
Do not be tempted to block the hole up, this will make them angry and aggressive but will not kill the nest, they will find another entrance & may even come inside the house. Some species of wasps will build outside in bushes and trees. You will see a grey or brown structure made of a paper mache type material. Wasps are aggressive and will sting readily if they think the nest is in danger.
Why should a wasp nest be treated?
If you don’t treat a wasp nest it will eventually die out but before this happens the nest will produce approximately 100 fertile Queens that will hibernate and start nests the following year. A nest will get larger until the Autumn & it is the Autumn & early Winter when they are at their most aggressive & dopey. This is when they are likely to sting people. The workers have finished their job of nest maintenance & collecting food for grubs & now are feeding on rotting fruit (this makes them drunk & more aggressive). Wasp nests can stain ceilings and even eat through them in some instances.
Every year there are deaths from wasp stings. Although they do some good by feeding on flies, caterpillars and other insects the wasp numbers are probably artificially high because buildings supply unlimited nest sites which in purely natural conditions would be restricted to caves, hollow trees and other natural cavities. They cause massive amount of damage to fruits in the Autumn.
We treat the nest or the entrance of the nest using an insecticide called 'FICAM D* which contains the chemical Bendiocarb 1% w/w. This is a modern biodegradable insecticide that is not highly toxic to mammals, but is extremely so to the hymenopterous group of insects (Wasps, Bees and Ants). The entrance to the nest or the nest itself will be treated using this insecticide.
What do I need to do afterwards?
After treatment the nest will remain in a hyperactive state for up to 3 hrs, but usually Wasp activity ceases much sooner. Keep people & pets away from the area until activity has ceased. Close windows & warn neighbours to keep away.
The 3 main points to remember are:
- A treated nest cannot ever be reused.
- A Wasp nest cannot move its location, once started it is there for the duration of its life (7-8 months), nor can Wasps move from one nest to another.
- All nests start in the Spring, never later than May but the expanding populations are not often noticed until much later in the year. The population expands from 1, when the nest starts up in the Spring, to around 10 000 in the Autumn.
The nest itself is made of a substance similar to paper mache, which will not rot or smell, so it is quite safe and hygienic to leave where it is. If the nest is accessible and you do decide to remove it, wait for at least four weeks as this will ensure that no one will get stung by any larvae that have hatched out after the queen has died, occasionally scratching may be heard from the nest during this period but as long as outside activity has ceased, don’t worry as this will soon die out. If the nest is treated in the Autumn dying wasps, Queens and Drones may still appear for up to 20 days after treatment. Never block the entrance to a nest unless you are quite sure the nest is dead e.g. Wasps are not flying in and out of the entrance.
Wasp Nest Removal
It seems to be common sense to remove the wasp nest after treatment but the removal of a wasp nest is not necessary. Firstly if a nest was removed as soon as the treatment was carried out then the wasps that were out foraging would return, find no nest & attempt to rebuild the wasp nest. When they return & find a treated nest they either get contaminated by the insecticide or exhaust themselves by flying around the nest in a state of panic. They only attempt to rebuild the nest if it isn’t there. Secondly a wasp nest can never be re used. So if you want to remove the wasp nest then we recommend you wait at least 4 weeks before doing so. In a lot of cases the wasp nest is not accessible. The nest may be in a cavity wall or a soffat that cannot be seen.
The treated nest(s) are guaranteed never to be used again and the actual location of the treated nest(s) guaranteed not to be reused by other Wasps for the remainder of the calendar year.
Wasps - General Information
Wasps are probably one of the most familiar and generally feared groups of insects. They belong to the order of insects called Hymenoptera which also includes bees and ants. Most of these posses stings which mainly used against other insects but can be turned against man with unpleasant results.
Types of Wasps Found In U.K.
- Common Wasp (Brownish/Creamy colour nest* with whirls)
- German Wasp (Grey nest*)
- Tree Wasp, Very aggressive not common
- Norwegian Wasp, Not found in southern England.
- Cuckoo Wasp
* Nest colour only differs once the workers take over nest building. Queen built nests are grey.
The common and German wasps are the two species likely to be found during domestic treatments.
The queen wasp (somewhat larger than the worker), emerges from hibernation in the spring and build a round nest 2-3 ins. in diameter from chewed wood pulp which is obtained from dead trees, fences, etc. This nest will contain a small number of cells into which the queen lays her eggs, one per cell. The eggs hatch into larvae and are fed by the queen fragments of insects (the Queen herself feeds on nectar). The cells hang downwards and the larvae are prevented from falling out by keeping part of their bodies in the egg cavity which was glued to the ceiling of the cell when laid by the queen. After pupation workers (sterile females) emerge and take over the running of the nest from the queen who devotes the rest of her life to egg laying. This occurs late June to early July. The nest can grow considerably during this time and may at its peak, contain 10-15,000 wasps.
Towards the end of the summer, special larger cells are constructed to provide drones and queens for the next season. In these are reared drones (males) and the queens (fertile females). They fly outside and mate (usually with drones/queens from other nests), the drones, workers & original Queen die off with the approach of colder weather, the new queens seek out sites for hibernation. It is not hibernation as in the mammals sense as this can take place as early as September when the weather is still quite warm.
The wasp community resembles that of the bumble bee in being annual and never producing swarms. Nests are never recolonised the following year, but a special favourable site may be used again and new nest built each year.
Populations of wasps tend to be low in years when the weather is cold and wet in May and June. This is attributed to queens being unable to forage frequently enough to sustain themselves and the brood, their small abandoned nests are a common site in lofts. Lofts are ideal places for nests to thrive. A natural controlling factor before man built buildings would have been the number of dry cavities available for wasp nests to be built. Along came man and the availability of these sites is now almost unlimited.
Unlike bees, wasps do not store food (honey) and so need to forage daily in order to meet the dietary requirements of the colony. Whereas the grubs require a largely protein diet to maintain healthy growth, the intensely active workers need mainly energy foods i.e., carbohydrates. It must be remembered that wasps do not grow once they have emerged from the pupa stage and their size is often determined by food type and amount of food fed to the grubs by the workers.
The food of the workers consists of the nectar of certain flowers, e.g.,cotoneaster and ivy, and a variety of other sweet substances including fresh and processed fruits. It is when seeking for sweet foodstuffs that wasps into close contact with man and become a problem.
Very young grubs are fed the sweet carbohydrate diet to start with then onto a diet mainly of other insects, portions of which are first masticated by the workers, but fresh and decaying meat and fish are also used. Workers will also kill the grubs of other nests for food especially towards the end of the year when some nests die out before others leaving them unprotected. There is also an exchange of foods between the grubs and the workers feeding them, as the grubs secrete a sweet fluid which is eaten by the workers. This exchange may help to ensure that the workers tend the brood adequately.
The Queens, when confined to the nest, are fed by the workers on a liquid mixture of nectar, fruit and meat juices. Males in the nest also obtain food from the workers but once outside, probably feed only on plant juices.
Wasps change their eating habits in August. The workers normally collect
protein, such as flies, and take it back to feed the larvae in the nest.
The larvae secrete a carbohydrate which the workers eat. In late August,
the queen stops producing larvae and the workers start looking for sugar
outside the nest, so it is usually at this time that wasps are of the
greatest nuisance, when their numbers are at their peak and searching
for sugary food.
They (the workers) have time on their hands and are consuming rotting fruit which can lead to more aggressive behaviour. The time spent in the nest is less as there are no grubs to feed. In the Autumn the nest starts to die out.?