Insect details

  1. What is a "Wasp" and what is not?
  2. What can I do if I get stung?
  3. Wasps are sensitive to noise.
  4. Wasps love sugar!
  5. Paper Nests 
What is a "Wasp" and what is not?

The Vespula Vulgaris is the most common wasp local to the UK.   

This insect has 4 noticable features:

Yellow Legs.

"Bright Yellow" and black strips.

Relatively quite when flying. (noise would generally indicate Bees and not Wasps)

Narrow Waist.

The queen of this species finishes her hibernation cycle in early spring, around March. She will then fly from her present location to a suitable location for her first nest of the season.

Having scavenged the local area for suitable building materials, such as wood and foliage, she will start building her nest. Soon afterward she will produce worker (drones) wasps that will finish building the nest for her. During this period, wasps can be found stripping wood off fences and facia boards.  

Very often, individuals will think they have a "wasp problem" when in fact it is another species of flying insect that has a likeness to the Vespula.

Chrysotoxum festivum is a hoverfly that closely mimics the wasps color and shape.   

The wasp has a very, very narrow waist were the hoverfly has not.

If you do have a hoverfly or any other kind of cluster fly/insect problem, you can inquire from us whether we can treat that problem.  

Some species of bees also look like the Vespula. They will fly very similarly and also have similar markings and colours, such as the honey bee.

The way to identify the difference is as simple as the 4 main features of the wasp, noted above.

We can discuss with you the possible solutions to a bee problem just by ringing us. There are no laws against the removal of bees but there are some pieces of legislation to abide by when dealing with Honey Bees.

Alternatively, contact a bee keeper.

We have provided a link to help you find local bee keepers in your Area:  South Yorkshire Bee Keepers list

What can I do if I get stung?

Move from the area you were stung

Once you have been stung, you can still be stung by the same wasp more than once. Once injected with the wasps poison, "you" emit a pheromone that attracts other wasps to sting you.

Rub vinegar on the sting

(Please note: These pointers are only suggestions. Please consult a medical profesional)

This can help to relieve the pain as a sting from a wasp is Alkaline and vinegar or acid can neutralize the effects. Taking antihistamines will help with the swelling and pain.

For more information on what to do if you do get a reaction, see the link NHS- Sting treatment

Preventative is always better than the cure

Try to avoid them. In this way you can avoid the discomfort in the first place. Always be careful before cutting a hedge or delving into your loft space without first having a look around for any sort of wasp activity. If there are more than 2 or 3 wasps hanging around an area at any-one-time, inspect carefully before proceeding. If you are not sure, do not venture; better safe than sore.

Seek medical help if you are unsure.

The chance of a reaction is possible, even if you think you are immune. If an inflammation does not go away with in a day or two, seek medical guidance as to how to proceed. If you are stung in the neck or head regions, it may be wise to do so anyway.

Wasps are sensitive to noise and light

Wasps are very sensitive to noise and vibrations and they can quickly detect the odors of human presence, particularly if the person is nervous.

Once disturbed, the whole colony may go into an emergency defensive mode, attacking anything that moves nearby, hence certain well documented news stories of people being attacked and going into anaphalactic shock after repeated stings.

Something as simple as cutting your grass near or banging at the entrance of the hole to their nest, can lead to an abundance of wasps reverting to their defensive mode.

Sometimes they can be effected by artificial light such as a flood light or torch. They see the light as daylight and most likely will emerge from their nest ready to work. This is one way to see if a nest is still active. If you shine a torch at the entrance from a safe distance and wait... they will fly out if it is still alive.

Wasps love Sugar!

Often people will leave old Cola or other soft drink cans out side or in the bin. If just one wasp gets a taste of just one item, it will encourage other scavenger wasps to join it. This can end up with more than a dozen hanging around one bin!

Jam and other sugary substances are prime for encouraging wasps to hang around.

To avoid this... put sugary items in a bag in the bin. If they hang around the bin, try moving it; they navigate via recognition. If you change the location of the bin, they may well lose interest in it... but I do not guarantee this.

Paper Nests

The paper wasp builds and maintains its compound nest out of a special kind of paper, which it manufactures itself. The insect collects fibers of plants and of dead wood from all kinds of places - logs, fence posts, telephone poles, and building materials. It then chews the cellulose-rich material, adding a sticky, highprotien saliva. When applied, the resulting paste dries to form a light, firm, yet tough, paper. Moreover, the saliva has special properties that enable the paper to generate and absorb heat, thus maintaining the right temperature in the brood comb on cool days.

The finish product  is a waterproof, paper-umbrella-covered cluster of hexagonal cells; the hexagon combining strength  and efficiency. The insects select sites that offer some kind of protective over hang. From this they suspend their downward-facing nests by a stalk or petiole. - information taken from the Feb 2012 edition of "Awake" magazine.  

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