Although the presence of a wasp in your general vicinity may cause concern, we must remind ourselves that wasps are incredibly important for the health of the world around us. They are an important part of a garden ecosystem as pollinators and reduce pest populations by feeding their larvae insects and caterpillars. They are also valuable in horticulture for biological pest control of species such as whitefly in tomatoes etc. while pollinating crops.
Unless there is a threat to you or those around you it is advised to leave a wasps nest alone.
While a wasp may land on your skin to inspect a smell, it will most likely fly away without incident if you stay calm. An injured or dead wasp will send a signal that alerts their colony members and send them into a stinging frenzy, unlike bees, wasps can sting repeatedly.
There is estimated to be well over a 100,000 described species around the world, the Common Wasp (Vespula vulgaris) and the German Wasp (Vespula germanica) are common throughout the island of Ireland. Wasps construct their nests in eaves, roof spaces, trees, walls and soil banks generally elevated locations. Their nests are complex structures; a series of six-sided cells, made of a paper like substance they create by chewing wood and plant fibres. The nests are used to lay eggs in and protect their young and typically 30cm in diameter, hosting up to 4,000 wasps.
While we would always advise to leave a wasps nest alone whenever possible, we appreciate that there are occasions where the presence of a wasps nest the is a risk to you or your family the removal of a wasps nest is required. Need advice? Our trained experts are on hand to assist; locating and access the wasps’ nest. They can advise you on the potential impact of the nest location as a health risk. Our team are fully trained in the use of a variety of treatments and will use the appropriate equipment and wear protective clothing
The common wasp has a black and yellow striped body with an obvious division between the thorax and abdomen. Wasps have a hard exoskeleton covering their 3 main body parts. These parts are known as the head, mesosoma and metosoma. Wasps have six jointed legs, two jointed antennae, and strong jaws. In addition to their compound eyes, wasps also have several simple eyes known as ocelli. These are typically arranged in a triangular formation just forward of an area of the head known as the vertex. Wasps have a slender ‘petiole’, or ‘waist’ that separates the abdomen from the thorax. Wasps have four transparent wings. Many females have a stinger at the tip of the abdomen. In addition, it has a characteristic ‘anchor’ shaped mark on its face.
Life Cycle: the Queen will hibernate during the winter and emerges in spring. She then searches for an ideal site for her colony, once she has selected an appropriate site, she uses chewed tree bark to build a nest. When initial construction is completed, the Queen will lay up to 20 eggs. The first brood of sterile females work on enlarging the nest and providing food for subsequent eggs, during the summer, the average wasp nest will contain, on average, 4000 individuals, and grow to size of a football. In late summer, the young Queens emerge and are fertilised by the summer males, they then fly away in search of a suitable site for hibernation. After that, in the autumn, wasps become sluggish and temperamental. At this time of year, wasps become aggressive after feeding on over ripe fruit. The fertilised queens are the only wasps to survive winter while wasps do not return to the same nest they may build a nest nearby if conditions are favourable.
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