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Wasps

Wasp Silhouette

Wasps are large, conspicuous buzzing insects with yellow and black striped, wasp-waisted bodies, 10-15mm long. They have a sweet tooth at one end and a painful sting at the other.Wasps are particularly aggressive during the Summer and Autumn Months, particularly if they are interfered with, or feel threatened within their territory.

The queen wasp is larger (20mm) and she hibernates over winter, making a nest in the spring in which to lay her eggs. She feeds the grubs on insects until they develop into worker wasps, three to four weeks later. Workers, all sterile females, forage for over a mile in search of food. One nest may produce 30,000 wasps in a year. Nests may be made almost anywhere: frequently in lofts, beneath roof tiles, in air bricks, ventilation ducts, sheds and outbuildings. In the garden they may be in holes in the ground, and amongst tree and shrub branches. A steady stream of wasps to and from one particular point suggests there may be a nest in that area.

At their peak in August and September with the youngsters reared, the workers turn to the sweet food they prefer and become a nuisance wherever this is available. If annoyed or threatened, wasps will sting and the best remedy - after removing the sting with a clean finger nail - is to apply an anti-histamine. Some people react violently to being stung with several dying each year.

Attempts to seal up the entry hole to a wasps nest will usually fail, and will force them to re- appear elsewhere in a particularly agitated state where they are more likely to sting. The fertilised queen wasps from untreated nests will in many cases survive over winter to build new nests the following year.

Professional treatment to nests is carried out with caution, wearing full protective clothing.

Risk asessments are carried out in all circumstances to safeguard third parties and operatives.