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Wasp Hives and wasps nests are the very same thing.
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We are often on site in less than an hour, and wasp treatments take from 15 to 60 mins to complete.
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Your Bristol Wasp Control service begins with a comprehensive inspection, establishing the location, size and number of wasps nests present.
We do charge a small inspection fee, refundable against any treatment carried out and should you need help again; you will benefit from a generous discount with our customer loyalty scheme.
About British Wasps
How Do Wasps Defend The Nest?
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.
Are Recently Disturbed Wasps Nests Safe?
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 is barbed, and once delivered will remain embedded in a predator, but the wasp’s sting is used for subduing prey and as a defence, so it can use its sting all day long without being affected.
What Is A Wasps Sting?
A Wasps Sting or Wasp Stinger as it’s also called is an incredible piece of kit.
It’s designed to work a little like a cerated knife that actively punctures and lacerates the skin, driving deep into the dermis where it delivers the venom.
The wasp’s sting is not barbed like that of the honey bee, which uses its stinger purely in defence; instead, it’s used for subduing prey, to be returned to the nest for consumption by the wasp’s hungry grubs.
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?
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
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 a wasp has fed or acquired building material for the nest, it launches into the air and climbs vertically in a spiral to re-orientate itself – thus ensuring it knows its 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 wasps 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 stung or even swarmed.
Paper Wasp Taxonomy
Paper Wasps are found worldwide and scientifically classified as:
Kingdom – Animalia
Phylum – Arthrop
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, the wasps we are about to consider belong to the family Vespidae and are what we called eusocial.
This means that these wasps have the highest order of vertebrate cooperation, identified by the presence of three key features.
- Reproductive division of
(with or without sterile castes) labor
- Overlapping generations
- Cooperative care of young
The History Of Social Wasps
Hymenopteran insects, e.g. ants, bees, and wasps, are said to have first appeared in the Triassic Period more than 200 million years ago.
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, anaphylactic shock was described historically by the Egyptians who tell of a monarch who died from a wasp or Hornet sting in 2621 BC.
The ruler in question was King Menes who reportedly spent his sixty years or so, establishing and developing the Egyptian civilisation.
The account describes how a “Kheb killed him”. Translated from Egyptian the word “Kheb
Wasps are called many things over the summer months that would probably be seen as unhelpful here and a little rude.
Colloquially, wasps have been known as “jaspers” in the southern half of England.
It’s not clear whether this refers to the Latin name “Vespa” or the striped abdomen, which echoes the banded mineral “
Across the water, in the states, they are commonly called yellow jackets, and in other countries around the world, the local people are likely to have their own slant on what to call them.
Wasp Behavior and Factual Information
The family Vespidae is a considerable and diverse group, made up of over 6000 species found throughout the world
A large number of Hymenoptera are called social insects because they live in a colony with queen.
Social characteristics have developed to include regimented social 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
Although badgers, in particular, don’t seem to care and enjoy the opportunity of gorging on the tasty wasp grubs, in spite of all the stings they must receive.
How Does a Wasp Nest Start?
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 the queen can begin laying eggs, she first needs to regain her strength and ensure she gets the nutrition required to allow her egg-laying organs to mature.
She usually does this by aiding 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 wasps will return 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).
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 wasps 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?
Depending on the preference of the queen, which may vary from one species to another in respect of most popular locations, a nesting site may be established in all manner of places.
Some nests are subterranean (below ground) in disused rodent burrows or in naturally occurring hollows in trees or tree root systems and are 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 or those that 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, and this is because unsupervised pets and children only discover their presence once they are literally on top of, or next to the nest.
When wasps are nesting in a confined or restricted space, they will often what they can to enlarge it.
Honey bees differ in this respect as they will merely try to find a better place to nest, but the wasp can ill afford this luxury and will excavate whatever is in the way.
If the nest is resting against a ceiling or wall that is constructed of plasterboard, the wasps will simply eat through it.
Often the sound they make as they excavate the wall keeps the rooms occupants 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.
What Are Wasps Nests Made Of?
One reason wasps nest in a particular place is believed to be linked with the odour produced by different species of structural timbers e.g. Cedar and Oak.
It’s thought that these timbers contain scents that act as a natural attractant to the queen.
Workers also collect nest building material from particular types of timber with different scents and properties which give each species of wasp a nest with distinctive colour, texture and shape.
Wasp nests are made from whatever fiberous material is most abundant, usually chewed up (masticated) timber, mixed with water and saliva to form wood pulp, essentially paper.
This is why social wasps have been coined: 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 that would appear 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 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
How Are Wasps Nests Made?
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.
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
The next phase for the queen wasp is the laying of a single egg into the base of each new cell.
Over the coming three to four weeks (depending on temperature and external conditions) the queen wasp will raise the developing larvae, feeding 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.
The venom injected disables the prey by paralysis and allows the queen to dissect the prey as required.
Caterpillars are often taken to the nest whole. Flying insects have the head, legs, wings and abdomen removed.
The central unit of the body has the greatest protein concentrations as a result of containing the powerful muscles responsible for flight and articulation of the legs.
These little nuggets of protein are brought back and fed to the developing brood.
It has also been recorded that wasps will carry out a pest control service for cattle, horses and pigs
Wasps help farm animals by picking of flies and other parasites both from the body of the animals and from animal housing.
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 and lays another egg into it.
As the brood grows the petiole is enlarged and yet another, larger horizontal layer or disk is created.
Where space is confined such as in wall cavities, subsequent layers may be created to fit the cavity.
Wasp Larvae and Pupae
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 wasps. M
In some species such as the Hornet (Vespa crabro), this number will be far less, with only a few hundred individuals.
Wasps and Climate
Climate plays a large part in population numbers in general. This is due to what might be termed the generation time, in other words, the time it takes for an egg to become an adult.
In cold weather, this could be four weeks, but in a sweltering summer this could be only a week.
The best conditions are hot with reasonable amounts of rain as it produces an increase in flying insect numbers and ensures the nutritional needs of the nest are easily met.
Later in the summer or as the colony matures, males will develop and leave the nest to mate.
Males do not sting as they do not possess the modified ovipositor or egg-laying tube that their mother and sisters possess.
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 and the emerging queens will create a new nest in the same season.
This behaviour has been observed in a number of wasp species like the median wasp (Dolichovespula media).
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.
This might be viewed as an adhesive that helps bond the loyalty of the adults to the larvae and indeed 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?
Summer draws to a close and the temperature and prevailing conditions begin to make the life for wasps, increasingly difficult.
As the nest matures and the queen stops laying her precious eggs, the remaining larvae become future males and queens.
The 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 phenomena of wasps entering homes form beneath floors, through holes in walls and ceilings and also down chimneys.
As the seasonal temperatures fall, the wasps remaining in the nest become increasingly disorientated by the effects of cold.
All in all, they experience famine, which causes them to wander into areas of a property where they would otherwise have no reason to go.
Also as the nights grow shorter it’s not unreasonable to suggest that the 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
What is The Point Of Wasps?
It must be stressed; wasps are remarkable insects that form an integral part of the wider eco-system.
Removal of these insects is a last resort – be kind to wasps and respect their space and chances are, they will be kind to you.