Like most insects, wasps do have their uses, but it can be hard to think positive thoughts when you are being plagued by dozens of angry wasps. Wasps are often a nuisance when you are trying to enjoy a can of fizzy soda on a hot summer’s day. They buzz around and the more you swat them away, the higher the risk that you will be stung. One or two wasps are a pain, but what should you do if you suspect you have a wasp nest nearby?
Why are Wasps a Hazard?
A wasp sting is painful, but in most cases it won’t cause any lasting harm apart from an intense fear and loathing of wasps. However, if a wasp nest is disturbed, hundreds of angry wasps are not a pleasant sight to behold. Another issue to consider is that some people are allergic to wasp venom and a wasp sting can cause them to go into anaphylactic shock. This is an extreme allergic reaction whereby the airways swell up and the person can die without immediate treatment. Elderly people are also more vulnerable to wasp stings.
How to Recognise a Wasp
Wasps have characteristic yellow and black stripes along their body, which is nature’s way of warning you to stay well away. Bees look similar to a wasp but their bodies are rounder and they have distinctive hairs. Wasps pull their wings into their bodies when they are resting whereas a bee’s wings will stick out. Wasps are also a lot more aggressive than other insects of similar appearance.
Five Signs You Have a Wasps Nest
- A lot of wasps in a small area
- A large number of wasps entering or exiting a particular spot—typically a hollow tree or beneath the eaves of a house
- A loud buzzing sound
- A visible nest that looks like a grey, papery sphere
- Damp patches on the inside walls if the nest is in the wall cavity or attic space
How to Treat a Wasps Nest
Small wasp nests below head height can be treated using insecticides bought from DIY stores and garden centres. Follow the guidelines on the container before use and make sure you treat the nest at twilight when the wasps are least active. Before attempting to deal with the nest, make sure you know exactly where the wasps are entering and leaving as this is where you will need to direct the insecticide spray. Once you have applied the treatment as per the instructions, avoid the area for 24 hours and tell others to do the same. Larger nests in inaccessible locations are best treated by a wasp control professional.
How to Prevent a Wasp Infestation
The best way to prevent wasps from becoming a problem is to be vigilant for the first signs wasps are building a nest. Since wasps build new nests ever year, old nests will remain empty once they have been treated or vacated. If you do spot the signs of a new nest building exercise, treat it with insecticide immediately.
This article has been written by Joana Sterling. Joana works as an intern at ICE, a pest control service provider in Burlington. She loves to travel and enjoys weekend trips with family.