This has got to be the most common asked question from my clients.
This time of year, the wasp population has reached its peak and just about every bin has a multitude of the yellow and black insects buzzing around it.
Well they are highly evolved killing machines which catch insects and caterpillars in huge numbers which they use to feed the larvae in the nest. They paralyse this prey with either an expert bite from sharp mandibles, or a sting in a precise area. The larvae always have live food to eat.
Wasps have been used to great effect as a biological control on certain agricultural pests as they are so efficient, this compared to mass use of insecticides is somewhat preferable in some cases.
The whole thing starts off in the spring when the Queen emerges from hibernation. She lays upto about 20 eggs in a nest she builds, but once the workers hatch, their sole purpose is to tend to the Queen and the nest. They will defend the nest at all costs, and very aggressively as well.
As the Queen goes into full production, the nest is increased in size to accomodate the eggs produced. The nest is built up of layers of honeycomb chambers, one on top of the other. The nest is made from wood pulp and can be either in the ground, free standing in a bush or tree, or in roofs, garages and sheds in more suburban areas.
The average nest increases in numbers very rapidly, they will grow to 5000 wasps in a very short period of time, with a large nest being 10,000.
As the season moves on, the queen slows down production, hatches her last remaining queen eggs and leaves the nest to hibernate. The problem is then the workers loose their sense of purpose, and slowly starve. This is when they are at their most annoying as sweet smelling things like drinks, sweets, ice creams etc draw them to humans.
The worst thing to do is wave arms about – but you try telling a small kid that! So what happens…they get stung!
At Rapid Pest Control, we like to deal with wasp nests quickly and advise our clients to call us so the nest can be dealt with whilst it is still manageable. We will “gas” the nest (which makes them pretty cross!) and in 2 hours its all over. larger nests make everything much more dangerous and cause more problems for the residents as the swarm is generally much bigger at treatment and lasts longer – so call us quickly as soon as you spot a nest!