Bristol Wasp Nest Control

bristol wasp control
Bristol wasp control services with pest control and technical photo provider Simon Berenyi.

Wasp Control In Bristol

Book Wasp Control In Bristol: 0117 369 2709

Wasps are highly beneficial to the environment, but we have listed some less desirable facts about wasps below for you to consider.

  1. Hives and nests are the very same thing, sometimes doubling in size every four weeks!
  2. If disturbed, a mature nest containing thousands of insects is very dangerous and requires great care to eliminate safely.
  3. Mature nests built on or against plasterboard walls and ceilings will sometimes eat their way through and enter your home.
  4. Most Hornets nests are NOT as dangerous as the smaller species that produce larger, more populous nests. Hornets have smaller nests but wield a more painful sting.
  5. Wasps don’t have a barbed sting like Honey Bees because the sting needs to be used multiple times for lancing and subduing prey. This means they can sting you multiple times!

Our Bristol wasp control and removal services are faster and more flexible than other providers because of our local expertise.

How Fast Is Your Wasp Nest Removal Service?

We often arrive on-site in less than an hour. Wasp treatments take from 10 to 60 mins to complete.

Bristol Pest Control

Our standard, same day Bristol wasp control service is always available.

The Emergency Wasp Removal Service operates 24/7, so help is never far away. Charges for this service vary from the standard service when available.

About Wasps Nests In Bristol

How Do Wasps Defend The Nest?

wasps nest ground badger garden
Wasps frenzy after a badger attack in a garden lawn.

Social Wasps defend their nests aggressively if threatened or attacked, as will other members of the order Hymenoptera such as Honey Bees and Red Ants.

What Happens When Wasps Are Disturbed?

When a wasp stings you, it releases a pheromone or chemical that quite literally marks you as the threat.

This pheromone then alerts other members of the cast within the colony that the nest is in danger, and more wasps join the attack.

Don’t worry, though; you need to be within a few meters of the nest for this to work efficiently, meaning that wasps away from their nest are not likely to react in the same way.

Is A Disturbed Wasps Nest Safe?

wasp sting ankle severe

This nest of median wasps attacked a customer.

A Primed Nest – is a wasps nest that has already been disturbed, e.g. by a football getting kicked at it, and is extremely dangerous!

Wasps from the initial sortie, happy that the threat is gone, will often rest on the outer surface of the nest.

If the nest is then subsequently disturbed, the resultant response from the nest will often be significant and very, very fast. You will not outrun wasps!

Disturbed nests should be avoided for at least half an hour to be considered reasonably safe.

Of course, not every nest reacts in this way, but it is important that people are aware of this under-reported behaviour in wasps, especially people with young children.

Do Wasps Die After Stinging You?

No! Not unless you squash them!

The honey bees sting barbed, and once delivered, will remain embedded in a predator. A wasp’s sting is used for subduing prey and as a defence, so it uses its sting all day long without being affected.

What Is A Wasps Sting?

Bristol Wasp Control
Bristol Wasp Control

Wasp stings work like a cerated knife. A stinger actively punctures and lacerates the skin, driving deep into the dermis, where it delivers the venom.

There is no barbed tip like that of the honey bee, which uses its stinger purely in defence. Instead, it has two purposes. Firstly for subduing prey and secondly for defence.

This is why the wasp can and often will sting you multiple times without any trauma to itself (unless you squash it!).

Are All Wasps Nests Dangerous?

bristol wasp control

Temperament varies in both the wasps themselves and the nests they come from, which means the response from a nest to a given threat will vary depending on some key factors.

You can, for instance, have two nests of the same species of wasp in similar locations, and one will respond very aggressively while the other will barely register your presence.

What Makes Wasps More Aggressive?

Factors that may serve to influence the wasp’s aggression or response to a perceived threat include – temperature, nest size, and nest maturity.

It’s well established through our observations that wasps nests tend to become more of a risk as they mature and the number of workers begins to outnumber the larvae.

Fewer larvae results in a shortage of the sweet sticky treat the hungry adult wasps harvest from the larvae, and the colony becomes an increasingly dangerous place to reside.

These high risk-wasp nests appear to be the most unpleasant to try and treat, as being swarmed by nests going through this cycle of maturity is increasingly common as we move into late summer.

How Does Temperature Affect Wasps?

Temperature also plays its part, and we find that activity becomes frenzied as the temperature climbs into the high twenties and beyond, making early morning and late evening the safest times to manage the control of large or high-risk nests on footpaths or in busy urban areas.

The linear flight path of wasps means that they fly in a straight line, too and from the nest. When foraging for food, the flight behaviour changes to non-linear.

We observed that when fed or acquiring building material for the nest, they launch into the air and climb vertically in a spiral to re-orientate themselves – thus ensuring they know their way back to the nest.

Breaking the invisible linear flight path, too and from the nest, immediately makes you a threat and a target.

If you watch them leaving the nest, they are very much on a mission, and they will head out in different directions.

As you get closer to the nest, you begin to interrupt this flight pattern, and if you get too close, you will inevitably get harassed, stung or even swarmed.

Paper Wasp Taxonomy

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Bristol wasp control

Paper Wasps Worldwide – scientifically classified as:

Kingdom – Animalia

Phylum – Arthropoda

Order – Hymenoptera

Suborder – Apocrita

Infraorder – Aculeata (stinging wasps)

Family – Vespidae

Genus – Vespa, Vespula & Dolichovespula

Species – e.g., Vespa Crabro

Social Wasps are eusocial, but what does this mean?

As illustrated in the paragraph above, we are about to consider the family Vespidae, and these are what we term eusocial.

This means that they have the highest order of vertebrate cooperation, identified by the presence of three key features.

  1. Reproductive division of labour (with or without sterile castes)
  2. Overlapping generations
  3. Cooperative care of young

The History Of Social Wasps

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Hymenopteran insects that include ants, bees, and wasps first appeared in the Triassic Period more than 200 million years ago following the Permian extinction event called the “Great Dying”, when almost all life came to an end!

In 2018, researchers discovered a 65million year wasp specimen trapped in amber. Many of the wasps discovered in the fossil record are quite small, and most are examples of solitary wasps.

The first reported account of a Wasp, and for that matter, the anaphylactic shock was described historically by the Egyptians who tell of a monarch who died from a wasp or Hornet sting in 2621 BC.

Wasp Behavior and Factual Information

The family Vespidae is a considerable and diverse group, made up of over 6000 species found throughout the world.

Species within this family live cooperatively in a nest, referred to as a colony.

A large number of Hymenoptera are called social insects because they live in a colony with a queen.

Examples of social (eusocial) insects include honey beesbumble beesants and social species of wasp.

Social characteristics have developed to include regimented social systems. Systems in which members are divided into the worker, drone, and queen castes.

This colony will be made up of females, the Queen and her female workers or daughters.

All UK wasps are identifiable by their black and yellow/orange warning decoration.

Distinctive markings appear to help predators learn quickly that these insects are not as tasty as they might seem.

Although badgers, in particular, don’t seem to care! Badgers enjoy gorging on tasty wasp grubs, in spite of all the stings they must receive.

How Does a Wasp Nest Start?

spherical wasps nest bristol
A New wasp nest is being constructed.

Most UK social wasp colonies begin in the spring when the hibernating queen is triggered to emerge by the warmth of the first mild days of spring.

At this time of year, the newly emerged queen is at significant risk because she lacks a nest to protect her from late frosts or predators.

She will also be one of the few large insects around in early spring, so is an obvious target for predators such as birds.

Ants are also predators of wasps and, given the opportunity, will attack them.

Wasps, however, secrete a substance around the petiole or (the stalk that attaches the initial structure of the nest to whatever is supporting it) of the nest that acts as a repellent, preventing ants from taking advantage.

Before a queen begins laying eggs, she first needs to regain her strength. Good nutrition ensures her egg-laying organs fully mature.

She usually does this by aiding the early pollination of plants as she consumes carbohydrate-rich nectar and sap.

Why Do Wasps Choose a Nest Site?

It is believed but not proven that queens will be attracted to the site of an old nest by the presence of a pheromone.

A pheromone is a form of chemical signature left by the structure, a biochemical footprint of an old nest.

It’s generally accepted that wasps don’t use nests abandoned by previous colonies. The exception is the European Hornet (Vespa crabro).

bristol pest control
Hornets nesting in a garden shed in Bristol.

Verbal claims have asserted that Hornets will re-use an old nest, although the author has not seen written evidence of this.

What often see wasps re-nesting in the footprint or remains of an old nest.

What has also been seen (in numerous loft spaces) is that those of a particular species do seem to nest in the same space year after year.

Sometimes there will be a gap of some years, yet it is not uncommon to see clusters of nests sharing the same characteristics of size and colour.

Communal or annual nesting in loft spaces suggests the same species have nested in the same loft on subsequent occasions.

Sometimes a new species will nest where other species have and at the same time, seemingly without upsetting one another, although they usually use different entry/exit points.

Where Do Wasps Nest?

bristol pest control
Bristol wasp control

The preference of the queen varies from one species to another in respect of the most popular locations.

Some nests are subterranean (below ground) in disused rodent and animal burrows. Others nest in naturally occurring hollows in trees or tree root systems, sometimes called lawn wasps.

Others will nest in terrestrial nests (above ground) in structures such as houses, outbuildings, bird boxes and compost bins.

Finally, we have aerial nesters. These wasps prefer to nest in trees and shrubs or on the sides of structures – from guttering, etc.

Aerial and subterranean nests are often the most dangerous. Unsupervised pets and children only discover the wasps once they are literally on top of or next to the nest.

When wasps nest in a confined or restricted space, they will often enlarge it.

Honey bees differ in this respect as they will merely try to find a better place to nest. Wasps can ill afford this luxury and will excavate whatever is in the way.

Within residential properties, nests resting against ceilings or walls constructed of plasterboard could see wasps eat through them.

Often the sound they make as they excavate the wall keeps the occupants of the room awake.

Just before they penetrate the surface, you can sometimes see a very faint brown stain, letting you know in most cases that all that separates you from them is a layer of paint.

Wasp Nest Material

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Wasps Powerful Mandibles

We think nesting Queens are attracted by the odour or aromatics of certain timbers. Timber species like Cedar, Oak, and Spruce have unique properties wasps seem to like.

Workers also collect nest building material from particular types of timber with different scents and properties, giving each species a nest with a distinctive colour, texture and shape.

Wasp nests comprise whatever fibrous material is available. Chewed up (masticated) timber makes up most nests. They mix the wood fibres with water and saliva, forming wood pulp, essentially paper. This gives these insects their name: The Paper Wasps.

This material is effortless to collect and use. Once dry, the wood pulp is very, very resilient to prevailing climatic conditions.

A nest in a tree can remain in place for some years before finally disintegrating, and in lofts, this process can take decades.

Non-Timber Wasp Nest Materials

Many nests are located in areas that take advantage of non-natural materials. This appears to offer strategic benefits in terms of shelter or strength.

Whether this is by chance or by design remains the secret of the queen wasp.

In some species, workers are not always so fussy with materials.

Median wasp nests will often have blue or green streaks in their walls. This is from the protective plastic material that covers the springs on children’s outdoor trampolines.

Another common material is loft insulation. Some types of loft insulation lend themselves very nicely to wasp nest formation and provide the wasp nest with a degree of camouflage.

A camouflaged nest is a very dangerous thing. If you’re planning on venturing into a loft where wasps might be present – always leave the light on for five minutes before entering.

Any wasps present will visit the light before they visit you!

How Do Wasps Build Their Nests?

The queen wasp will begin building her nest by first establishing a petiole or short supporting spindle on which to mount the first module or layer of hexagonal brood cells.

This module is in the shape of a small disk divided into approximately sixteen hexagonal brood cells or chambers.

The number can vary considerably, but you get the idea.

Once the queen has constructed this and surrounded it in a thin outer shell, it looks a little bit like a golf ball with colours ranging from grey to almost yellow depending on the timber used for the construction.

The Queen Wasp Builds Her Team

hornet queen on hornets nest
Bristol wasp control

The next phase for the queen wasp is the laying of a single egg into each new cell.

Over the next four weeks (depending on temperature and external conditions) the queen will raise the developing larvae. She feeds them on a diet rich in insect protein.

What Do Wasps Eat?

A queen wasp hunts (and her emerging daughters or workers will also do this) by finding insects and insect larvae (caterpillars are popular) and injecting them with venom.

wasps feeding in bristol
Wasps Feed On Jam & Other Sweet Products

The wasp venom injected disables the prey by paralysis and allows the queen to dissect the prey as required.

Caterpillars are brought back to the nest in pieces or whole while flying insects have the head, legs, wings and abdomen removed.

The central unit of the body has the greatest protein concentrations. The thorax contains the powerful muscles responsible for flight and articulation of the legs.

The developing wasp brood will then be fed these little nuggets of protein.

Interesting Wasp Fact

It has also been recorded that wasps will carry out a pest control service for cattle, horses and pigs.

Wasps often help farm animals! the wasps pick of flies and other parasites both from the body of the animals and from within animal housing.

As the year progresses, the wasps turn their attention away from protein-rich foods to sweet foods.

Wasp Larvae and Pupae

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Bristol Wasp Nest Control

As wasp larvae pupate, the queen is freed up to continue nest construction.

When the first of the brood begin to emerge, the queen immediately cleans the empty chamber. She will then lay a fresh, new egg into it.

As nests develop, larger horizontal disks provide space for more brood. Nests are built almost anywhere in almost any space. This is one reason for the success of these Vespids.

Eventually, the queen will only have the job of laying eggs, and the nest will continue to mature.

At full maturity, the largest nests in the UK will contain anything from 20000 to 100000 individuals. Mega nests account for less than 5% of nests, with most nest populations between 3000 to 10000.

While carrying out our Bristol wasp control duties, we always take precautions to avoid being swarmed by nests that pose a significant danger to us and those cole to us.

In some species such as the European Hornet (Vespa crabro), this number will be far lower – just a few hundred individuals.

Does Climate Affect Wasps?

Climate plays a large part in population numbers in general. This is due to what might be termed the generation time. This is the time it takes for an egg to become an adult.

In cold weather, this could be four weeks, but in sweltering summer conditions, this could be only a week.

Warm conditions with reasonable amounts of rain produce an increase in flying insect numbers. Any bloom of flying insects should ensure that the nutritional needs of the nest get met.

Later in the summer or as the colony matures, males will develop and leave the nest to mate.

Males don’t sting as they do not possess the modified ovipositor or egg-laying tube that their mother and sisters possess.

New Queens

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Hornet Nest Removal

At the same time, new queens will also be emerging generously equipped with a fully functional sting.

Once mated they will normally go into hibernation where they will emerge to begin a new colony.

If conditions are mild, social wasps in the UK will mature more quickly leading to the emergence of queens capable of nesting in the same year they hatch.

We have observed late nesting in a number of wasp species. The median wasp (Dolichovespula media) is one example of a wasp that routinely matures earlier than other species.

Social Wasps have a reciprocal relationship with the developing brood.

As the wasp larvae are fed, they are able to produce a sticky treat for the adults.

The larvae produce a liquid for the adults containing enzymes needed by the adults in a transaction called trophallaxis.

Trophallaxis is a social adhesive, helping bond the adult’s loyalty to the larvae and the colony as a whole.

Male wasps have elongated abdomens, the sting is absent, and they are usually much hairier than the females. The colouration of a male hornet can be quite stunning.

What Happens To Wasps at The End of The Year?

bristol pest control
Bristol wasp control

Summer draws to a close, and the temperature and prevailing conditions begin to make the life of wasps increasingly difficult.

As the nest matures and the queen stops laying her precious eggs, the remaining larvae become future males and queens.

Males die after mating, and the new queens continue to hunt for a short time before settling into a suitable hibernation site for the winter.

What we regularly encounter in November and December is the phenomenon of wasps entering homes. Wasps appear from beneath floors, through holes in walls and ceilings and also from chimneys.

As the seasonal temperatures fall, the wasps remaining in the nest become increasingly disorientated by the effects of cold.

Hypothermia and a shortage of food quickly cut the numbers down in November and December.

All in all, they experience famine, which causes them to wander into areas of the property where they have no reason to go.

Also, as the nights grow shorter, wasps would be more likely to explore the cavity in which they nest.

Wandering wasps quickly discover new exits from the nest that appear to take them into the warm sunshine. Sadly it’s usually just a light bulb in someone’s bedroom!

What Is The Point Of Wasps?

Bristol wasp control services are often sold on the idea that vespids have no purpose. This is wrong because they form an integral part of the wider ecosystem.

Removal of these insects is a last resort – be kind to these insects and respect their space, and chances are, they will be kind to you.

Pest control in the UK and Bristol is supported by the BPCA (British pest control association) and NPTA (National pest technicians association).

Bristol Pest Control Services – Local Places And Areas Our Pest Control Service Covers

Bristol – Clevedon – Portishead – St Annes – St Pauls – Bath – Sneyd Park – Fishponds – Eastville – Easton – Frenchay – Filton – Westbury – Stoke Bishop – Stoke Park – Southville – Long Ashton – Patchway – Bradley Stoke