Wasps in Lofts
Queen Wasps are often mistaken for hornets as they are much larger than ‘normal’ worker wasps which are commonly seen during the Summer months. Wasps in lofts are not usually a major problem, although it is not unknown but fairly unusual for Queen Hornets hibernate in lofts. Lofts are actually not good places for Queen Wasps to hibernate in. The reason is that especially when Winters are mild the temperature in lofts is greater than the natural hibernation sites outside which would be under trees bark or any natural cavity tucked away from the weather, dampness and predators such as mice which will eat hibernating Queens. As well as higher fluctuating temperatures (when the central heating goes on and off) they can be disturbed by artificial light. It is not just temperature that effects hibernating Queen Wasps, daylight length also indicates to the Queen Wasps when to come out of hibernation and these two factors combined don’t make lofts an ideal place to hibernate. Saying that though loft spaces are dry so although not ideal they do work and are frequently used.
Any treatment for Queen Wasps in an attic space is much more difficult than treating a nest in the Summer. For a start all the Queen Wasps are acting individually instead of as ‘a nest’. All the Queens will be hibernating as individuals and have no contact or behave as if in a nest as there are no active nests in the Winter.
Treatment may involve applying a residual insecticide and/or applying an insecticide fog. Treatments of Queen Wasps will reduce but may not eliminate the problem. As the metabolism of hibernating Queens or Queens emerging from hibernation and/or low temperatures means that wasps will take longer to absorb any insecticides and so take longer to die so dining wasps may be seen some time after treatment.