Should I leave a wasp nest alone?

Should I leave a wasp nest alone?

The answer to this is no if the nest is anywhere near your home, or habitation generally. We’ve all been hassled by the odd wasp turning up and, aggressively, intruding with the threat of stinging.

The thing about wasps is that they don’t start bothering us until late in the year. They start to show themselves when the fruits are ripe. You will often find them in a hollowed-out apple on an apple tree. This is the time of year when we see them in our houses looking for foods, they usually go for anything sugary.

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The early part of the year is spent feeding on other insects. In doing this, they can be seen as being quite useful. They will go for things like aphids, which affect growing crops. Even though there’re always plenty of wasps doing this, there can never be enough to do enough good as a crop-protector.

When the autumn-fruiting season begins, they’ve run out of aphids to chase, so, they start scavenging for whatever else is going. This is when we see them. It’s almost as though they’ve finished their year’s important activities and they can begin, what is basically, a riotous onslaught that involves trying to nick all our fruit, even if you’re holding it in your hand.

Finding the nest is often the biggest challenge. If you can locate the nest it would be a service to everyone if you destroy it completely.

A wasp nest that’s located near you, in a neighbourhood, will be as much of a nuisance to others as it will be to you. Anyone, who’s suffered a sting, will have every justification for getting rid of every wasp nest that they come across.

Some people can react quite badly to wasp stings; they don’t discriminate. None of us can know how we’re likely to react. Some people can go into an anaphylactic shock condition. This can happen to anyone, even if you haven’t, currently, got a history of it happening, you may develop a predisposition in the future.  

So, if you’re being troubled by wasps turning up and you’ve managed to find the nest, then, yes you must take steps to get rid of it. This is something that you can do yourself or, you could pick up the phone and call for professional assistance. This may be the best option if the nest is in an awkward-to-get-at location.

What happens if you leave a wasp nest alone?

A wasp nest, left alone, will continue its natural cycle through the season. It will continue to produce young wasps. The nest is a nursery where the grubs, which are produced by the queen-wasp, are able to grow into young adult wasps.

They can do this in the absolute safety of the nest which is heavily defended by the more mature wasps using their aggressive stinging-power that we all know about. A wasp nest can be seen as a ‘factory’, turning out legends of small, yellow-striped, stinging, spite-merchants and it gets worse. The nest will generate young queen wasps. These are the investment for the next year’s continued output of, yet more, wasps. This ensures that the annual irritation of wasp invasions continues into the future.

How can I remove a wasp nest?

Looking around on the internet, most of the advice is to, don’t do anything yourself but get someone else to do it for you. If the nest is in a place where it’s difficult to get at it and you don’t like heights, then get someone to deal with it. But, these days, there are some highly effective cans of spray which will annihilate a wasp nest. It may take more than one application but it is very possible to knock out a nest using these cans of sprays. You need to be careful when you use it on a nest. The spray comes out of the can as a jet which you direct at the nest, rather like a water-pistol.

You should be able to creep up to the nest and when you’re about 2 or 3 yards away, give the nest a good squirt. It would then be wise to retreat to a safe distance. The nest, being a paper-like material, will absorb the spray chemical. The wasps will then start to die as they come into contact with the now contaminated nest.

One application may be enough to do the job and finish off the nest for good. You won’t know until the next day whether you’ve been successful. Further applications may be needed to finish what you have started.

When the nest is no longer showing signs of life, you can assume that the entire colony has been destroyed. You will no longer be troubled by wasps from this nest. Some will tell you that you need to remove the dead nest. Why? No other wasps will take up residence, it will remain in a dormant state from here on.

You also need to be very wary about handling a wasp nest that will, most likely, have dead wasps inside it. A dead wasp has the ability to sting for some time after it has died. If you do feel the need to remove it, to keep the place tidy, wait until the winter and wear rubber gloves. Just to be extra safe, burn the nest.

Can I safely remove a wasp nest in the winter?

If you find a wasp nest during the winter months, you can rest assured that there won’t be any wasps in it, unless it’s a nest that you’ve treated with spray. This will be especially so if we’ve had a period of very cold weather. The wasp producing nest will now be empty. It will be silent. There will be no danger. Instead of fearing multiple stings, if you are lucky enough to find a complete, or near complete, wasp nest that’s been abandoned, you can marvel at its creation.

This is a natural work of art. See the precision. Appreciate the finesse. This paper thin, honeycombed construction was purposefully built by one of nature’s most-aggressives.

The empty wasp nest is nothing to fear. It, simply, represents the end of another year for the highly successful wasp. No wasps will return to it in following years and you may feel a tinge of sadness that the evident effort has come to such emptiness, a truly dead end. But there will always be the new beginning.

The empty paper-light nest, that you hold in your hand, will have generated a significant number of new queen wasps which will have hidden themselves in places where nothing can disturb them. They will be waiting for the warmer weather of a new season. Then they will each start to build a new nest in another, suitably inaccessible, place in readiness to inflict yet another season of irritation.


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