Whether you’re a business owner or homeowner, a wasp nest is never a welcome sight. It could be a small nest in a doorway, or a much larger nest in a loft space. Regardless of size or location, having more in depth knowledge of wasp nests can help you to deal with them effectively when they appear.
When do wasp nests appear?
Wasps are a seasonal pest, and tend to build their nests in early Spring. Male wasps don’t tend to survive the winter, so the building of a nest is typically instigated by one queen wasp.
How to know if you have a wasp nest in your home or business
Most of the time, homeowners or business owners will be alerted to the presence of a wasp nest by stumbling upon it. Physically seeing a nest is fairly uncommon, usually they will be flying into a gap, crack or crevice into the hidden nest. They usually appear in:
- Soil banks
- Attics/roof spaces
- Wall cavities
It’s also common to find that nests have been set up in the ground.
However, if you’ve not spotted a nest but have noticed large amounts of wasps in your home or business then it’s possible that a nest is close by. You should be able to locate the nest by following the wasps to their destination.
What are wasp nests made out of?
Wasp nests are made out of paper (or chewed up wood). They start off relatively small, but can expand in size dramatically and rapidly. When constructing a nest, a queen will chew and shred fresh wood to create a papier mache-esque material which can then be easily moulded into the shape of a nest. The queen will usually use wood from fences, trees and sheds when creating a nest.
What do wasp nests look like?
Whilst no two nests will ever be the same, they all bear the same similarities. As mentioned above, wasp nests are made from paper/chewed up wood, and are therefore usually an off-white/dull grey colour with swirls around the outside. There’ll typically be a large hole in the nest, commonly found at the bottom, which wasps will use to enter and exit.
What you’re unlikely to see (as this usually is only exposed during the early stages of the build) is the tube/stalk running through the middle of the nest. This is the first major component of the nest to be built as the queen will then lay eggs around this. She’ll continue to lay eggs until the larvae have hatched and adult wasps have formed, which usually takes around 4-6 weeks. Once these adult wasps have formed, they will then take over the building work.
When are wasp nests dormant?
Wasp nests are dormant in the Winter months as this is when the majority of wasps will die out. The queen wasp is the exception to this, as she will hibernate during the winter months and emerge in Spring/Summer ready to build her next nest.
This period of hibernation is sometimes referred to as overwintering, and will only occur for sexually mated queens. If a queen wasp has not been fertilised by the winter period, she will die off with the rest of the workers.
When to kill a wasp nest
Wasp nests are an inconvenience for both residential and commercial property, so naturally our first reaction is to kill a nest at the earliest possible convenience. As mentioned above, wasp nests are typically dormant in winter, so if you encounter a nest during the colder winter months, you may find that this is the safest time to attempt removal. It’s worth noting that this doesn’t necessarily mean that the risk is completely eliminated in the winter months.
Outside of winter, expect the nest to be active – this means that there’s a higher risk of being stung. Nests will typically be smaller in early Spring, which also makes this a more preferable time to tackle removal.
How to remove a wasp nest
Removing a wasp nest might seem simple at first, but there are multiple things to consider when treating a nest. Simply physically removing the nest from its location isn’t usually the way to a long term fix.
Before tackling any kind of wasp nest removal, the first step is to perform an assessment of the nest. Here are a few things to consider:
- Location plays an important role in understanding how best to deal with a nest
- What type of wasp are you dealing with?
- Wasp species differ in terms of temperament. Certain species can be much more aggressive, which increases the risk of injury from attempting removal
- What time of year is it?
- As mentioned, the winter and early Spring are usually the safest times of year to remove a nest due to them being dormant or smaller
Outside of this, you’ll want to make sure that you have the correct protective gear available as this can mitigate the risk of being stung.
Whilst domestic chemicals can be used in wasp nest treatments, we strongly recommend that you do not attempt to use them as they’re often inferior and not ‘up to the job’, without the help of a professional pest control technician the health implications could be severe.
You may find that the cost of the protective gear and chemicals outweigh the cost of hiring a pest control technician. With this and the safety aspect, we’d always recommend that you seek out a professional to deal with any wasp nest issues.
The wrap up
A wasp nest can contain on average 10,000 plus wasps yet they can seem relatively quiet until disturbed.
A wasp sting is not something to be flippant about, many people can be allergic and will not know until they’re stung, at that point anaphylactic shock can set in and even be fatal.
At CPC, we’ve been dealing with wasp nest removal for commercial and residential property for a number of years.