Wasp Jobs for 2013
Income from wasp nest removals are a large percentage of all pest control companies (and Local Authorities) earnings. Last year (2012) was a disastrous year for pest control companies due to the absence of wasp nests. In July 2011 we were booking between 60 -90 jobs per day, by July 2012 this had dropped to 10-20. There are many reasons – some not understood – as to why wasp populations can fluctuate so much. The main reason is weather in spring and early summer. In 2012 March was warm and dry but by April and May it was wet and cold.
This is the crucial time for a wasp nest. The Queen has come out of a long hibernation and has to build a nest, lay eggs, collect food for the grubs and food for herself. Under ideal conditions the mortality rate for Queens is between 90-99%. Cold and wet weather makes foraging difficult and even impossible, with the availability of food massively reduced. The mortality rate increases so even if the Summer is scorching there will be no or very few wasps.
Wasps do actually do some good. Most people question the need for wasps, but they kill flies, grubs, caterpillars & other insects to feed their grubs (who turn into workers & later broods to new Queens and Drones). But they also do a great deal of damage to fruits when grub production ceases (late July/August) and their diet changes to fruit. One of the limiting factors of wasp nests in a completely natural environment would be the the availability of nesting sites. Man has removed this limiting factor by the construction of buildings which supplies unlimited opportunities for nest sites.
2013 will, if the pest companies are lucky, be an ‘average’ year. The reason for this (this is only guesswork and will probably be wrong) is that the weather cannot be worse than last year and that even if the weather is favourable there will not be many Queens about to start nests. We will have to wait and see. In the meantime, we shall just hope for a good summer.