It’s undeniable that wasps are about as unpleasant as insects come. Aggressive, organised and fiercely territorial, social wasps (ones that build nests and live in a colony) are rarely a welcome sight on your property. At this time of year, wasps are out in full force and calls for pest control to deal with infestations are at a high.
For reasons we’ll never be able to fathom, people continue to tackle wasps’ nests on their own in a variety of “creative” ways that inevitably leave them with a few stings or worse.
What NOT to do When You Discover a Wasps’ Nest
Set fire to it
In (reluctant) defense of all the wasp-hating pyromaniacs out there, setting fire to a wasps’ nest will most certainly destroy it. Nests are created using wood pulp that is chewed up by wasps and packed together with their saliva. Unsurprisingly, this makes the structure highly flammable.
However, even if the hive itself goes up in flames within a minute or two, it’s impossible to eradicate all the insects. Those few precious seconds between the nest being whole and a pile of smokey embers will be filled with wasps streaming into the air looking for someone to attack. More often than not, this will be the person holding the matches.
The additional danger here is that fire spreads very quickly and is difficult to control. It goes without saying that we don’t recommend this method in any circumstances, but it’s especially ill-advised if the nest is attached to or inside your property.
Soak it with water
Many websites advocate dowsing wasps’ nests with water. With sufficient water pressure, you can most certainly destroy the nest itself. But, whilst it’s true that wasps absolutely will drown if submerged, it takes a bit longer than you might have expected to kill the occupants. As a result, with this pest control method, you’ll have a lot of angry, soggy wasps come out of the nest ready to defend themselves.
For a more effective version of this, wait until night when wasps are less active and use a combination of water and dish soap. The mixture will coat their wings and suffocate them.
Beat it with a blunt object
This is a move considered so spectacularly stupid that it’s regularly lampooned in film and television. Check out the video below for an example from The Office US.
A wasps nest (or indeed the nest of any stinging insect) is dangerous, and should not be treated as a pinata. This method may well destroy the nest if you manage to get a single, hard swing at it, but we assure you, you won’t be afforded the luxury of another attempt. It’ll also leave the vast majority of the wasps intact and enraged. Proceed with caution.
Seal up the entrance
Wasps are intelligent and tenacious. If you take it upon yourself to block off the entrance to the nest they will quickly choose a new exit point and chew through it. If you’re unfortunate enough to have the nest in your home, this may well include chewing directly through your walls. Not only does this cause obvious damage but it puts you at risk of attack.
When to Leave a Nest Alone
If you notice an increase in the number of wasps milling about your property, but discover the nest itself is some distance from where people usually congregate, sometimes the best course of action is to simply leave it be.
The argument that wasps are “useless” insects with no environmental benefit simply isn’t true. Because wasps target many plant-destroying creepy-crawlies for food, they can serve as natural pest control. They also play an important role in pollination. Though their bodies are less efficient than bees for transporting pollen, their contribution cannot be ignored — it’s estimated that hundreds of plant species would become extinct without wasps.
As the summer winds to an end, the nest will become less active. When temperatures drop in the latter weeks of Autumn, they will return to their nests to die. Only the queen will survive and go on to begin a new nest in the next year.
If you can wait out the inconvenience of having a few wasps coming to investigate your barbecues, and feel confident that your friends aren’t the type to take a cricket bat to the nest, it may be worth simply leaving it alone.
When it’s Time to Call Pest Control
- Someone is allergic
If you or anyone else that spends time in the vicinity of the wasps’ nest is known to be allergic to stings, call pest control immediately. A severe reaction to wasp venom can kill in a very short period of time and it’s absolutely not worth the risk of tackling the nest yourself or leaving it alone.
- It’s attached to or inside your home
As we’ve already said, wasps are very territorial creatures. When your home becomes their home, they’ll think nothing of defending it against “intruders,” which means you’re at risk of stings. They can also be destructive. The longer a nest is allowed to grow inside a home the more damage it will cause and the harder it will be to eventually remove it.
- It’s affecting your lifestyle
Ultimately, you’re the only one that can make this decision. If the presence of a wasps’ nest is ruining your enjoyment of your outdoor space and you’re having to make significant adjustments to accommodate them, it may be time to call in professional pest control.
If you have any further questions about dealing with wasps’ nests or would like to speak with a professional about the removal of an infestation, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Safeguard Pest Control who will be happy to help.