Its such a relief to finally have some sunny weather after the last few months of winter! We’re all desperate to get outside and enjoy the Great British outdoors. Lots of us will get the barbecue flashed up and be enjoying beer gardens and picnics in the sun – who cares about a wasp nest? But, whilst we’ve been dreaming about the warmer spring weather, wasps and other insects have also been emerging. Bees, bumblebees, hornets and wasp nests have all been preparing for the warmer weather.
May is the traditional month for calls about honey bee swarms. These can sometimes be confused for wasps but trust us, they’re honey bees. Wasps never swarm. The air will suddenly fill with insects and you will get a large medicine ball-sized clump of insects on a wall or hanging on a tree. It is the classic swarm of bees. All the insects just cling together. Don’t worry though, honey bees are usually quite relaxed when they swarm so they won’t normally attack. Its extremely rare to have to kill a swarm of bees. We normally get them ‘re-hived’ with a beekeeper. Experienced beekeepers often don’t wear gloves when dealing with swarms.
The Wasps are back!
So, compared to a swarm of bees, a wasp nest is a different kettle of fish. Its a structure made of paper mache. The wasps live inside it. A swarm of bees is, as we’ve said, just a lot of bees together. This week we’ve started helping and advising people with early wasp problems and even early stage wasp nests being found in lofts! This is the time of year when wasp queens are coming out of hibernation and looking for good places to build their nests. In a couple of months time they’ll have powerful and established colonies.
Wasp Nest – What to look out for
There are many different wasps in the UK but the main species identified as the seasonal public health pests are:
Tree Wasp (Dolichovespula sylvestris)
Common Wasp (Vespula Vulgaris)
German Wasp (Vespula Germanica)
They all have differing markings but we reckon that if you’re being chased by one, you won’t be hanging around to look at its facial markings and make a positive identification.
Wasps usually establish a nest in April time and because they’re so well camouflaged or choose a quiet area, most colonies won’t get noticed for a month or so. We often have people find them in August and swear blind that the wasps nest wasn’t there a week ago. Unfortunately it was – they just didn’t notice it. Seriously, why would they? Besides, wasp nests are so well camouflaged. Who looks for a wasp nest? It can be a very unwelcome surprise to go into the garden in June/July/August time to prune a shrub and then find yourself sprinting down the garden to avoid getting stung! They can be anywhere- even under the ground.
Not all Wasp Nests need Removing…
Give wasps a very wide berth and they’ll not threaten you. Unfortunately a wasp nest in a normal suburban garden, a beer garden or near a footpath in a country park may be too close for comfort and pose a risk of stinging. The problem is that wasps are hunters and, compared to bees, naturally aggressive. So, if they feel that you’re getting a bit too close, they’re going to come and have a go. Whether its Leicester City centre or a pretty Northamptonshire village, the wasps will just get on with foraging and if you disturb them…well, you’re going to get stung
If you’re at all unsure about whether you have a wasp nest, give us a call and we’ll come out to assess the situation. We’ll check it out, tell you what the problem is and what your options are. You can then make an informed decision as to what you can do about it. Generally, killing wasps, bees and hornets is the last resort. We will avoid killing anything but sometimes wasp nests and hornets nests need eradicating to protect people and animals. You can always ask us anything on FaceBook