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Wasps

Wasps can be beneficial insects as they kill an enormous number of other ‘pests' e.g. flies, caterpillars etc. Due to their high-energy needs, wasps also feed on nectar from a variety of flowers and are important pollinators in gardens and orchards.

They do act as a pest. When gathering woody material for nest-building, they can chew and damage the timbers of both fences and buildings. They strip the bark of trees causing die-back of branches and young shoots and in late summer they can do significant damage to fruit crops.

When wasps nest in high traffic areas or near homes they can become a nuisance and about 3-5% of people can have a potentially dangerous reaction to stings.

Vespula vulgaris

Common name: Common Wasp

Length: Approx. 10 – 20mm long at adult stage.

Colour & description: Distinctive black and yellow coloration. Noticeable narrow waist between thorax and abdomen. Very similar to the German Wasp but lacks the 3 distinctive dots at the front of the head.

Habits & habitat: Social insects which form colonies inside nests up to about 30cm across. Commonly found in roof spaces or within cavities in walls or trees. Forage on a wide range of foods including flying insects, nectar and other sweet foodstuffs.

Life cycle: Approx. 6 weeks.

Reproduction rate: Complete metamorphosis, egg – larva – pupa – adult. Eggs hatch within a few days and the larvae develop over a period of about 4 weeks. The larvae spin silken cocoons and the pupae develop into adults within 2 weeks. Colonies tend to survive only one year but may contain several thousand individuals by the end of summer.

 Vespula germanica

Common name: German Wasp

Length: Approx. 10 – 20mm long at adult stage.

Colour & description: Distinctive black and yellow coloration. Noticeable narrow waist between thorax and abdomen. Very similar to the Common Wasp but has the 3 distinctive dots at the front of the head.

Habits & habitat: Social insects which form colonies inside nests up to about 30cm across. Commonly found in roof spaces or within cavities in walls or trees. Forage on a wide range of foods including flying insects, nectar and other sweet foodstuffs.

Life cycle: Approx 6 weeks.

Reproduction rate: Undergo complete metamorphosis, egg – larva – pupa – adult. Eggs hatch within a few days and the larvae develop over a period of about 4 weeks. The larvae spin silken cocoons and the pupae develop into adults within 2 weeks. Colonies tend to survive only one year but may contain several thousand individuals by the end of summer.

Generally speaking a wasp nest is like this:-

One queen, one nest, one year and it dies never to be used again by wasps.

If you do not kill the nest before the end of the season you could have potentially 500 - 1500 queens emerge to start the following years wasp nests.

Around August September time the worker wasps will hang about your drinks etc when outside enjoying yourself, and are likely to sting you, this is when we say they are drunk with fruit juice etc and they sting for the sake of it.

The truth is they are dying as it is the end of their life span, and that of the current nest. After this point you will see loads of larger wasps hanging around the entrance to the nest, they are the fertile males waiting for the virgin queens to emerge, they mate and the males die. The queens then fatten up for the winter period before hibernating, those that survive will start their own nests in the spring. And the whole cycle starts again.

If however you spend £45.00 and have us treat the nest before the point where they sting you in Sept, you will kill the nest and not have any further problems relating to that nest. If you leave it too late, the over wintering queens are likely to be in your loft, and are likely to emerge in the mid winter when you turn a light on.