Information about wasps, wasp nests, bees and hornets - page 3
Surprisingly, wasp nests do make a noise. You can hear a scratching or popping crackling noise and you thought it was a mouse? A wasp nest is made from a wood pulp which the wasps make by chewing fence panels etc, this material when transformed into a wasp nest resembles cardboard. The nest is flexible and can move slightly without breaking. When the young wasps are moving and wriggling about in the nest the nest itself cracks and pops. Sometimes if you hear a scratching noise coming from the nest area, this is the adult wasps adding material to the nest. They sometimes chew away surrounding material to give the nest room to expand.
Honey bees do not normally nest in the ground, but they can sometimes take up residence in manholes.
There is a type of bee called a mining bee that burrows into the ground. There are several different types of mining bee in various colours and shades. Mining bees have no sting and are harmless. They only stay for a week or two and then are gone. They do not need to be treated.
You can read more information about honey bees
The costs of wasp nest treatments vary across the country from town to town and also from company to company. We think a reasonable price range is £35 - £60 Some larger pest control companies charge in excess of £80 or higher and we feel this is unreasonable (please note: London charges may be high because of the area). We should also note that some unscrupulous characters tell customers that they have to use a special treatment as the nest is an awkward one. Most wasp nests are fairly standard jobs and no extra special insecticides need to be used and the cost should not be higher unless specialist access equipment is needed (i.e. cherry pickers or special ladders) In short: beware the rip off merchants.
Wasp nests are made from a wood pulp material. The wasps strip small slivers of wood from fence panels and sheds or any other dead wood available, they take this wood back to the nest where young wasp larvae turn this wood into a paste which is made from wood, saliva and wax. The adult wasps use this paste to construct the nest. This material is strong yet lightweight and waterproof to a degree. The interior of the nest is made up by what can best be described as plates stacked on each other, each plate has a series of hexagonal cells which resemble a honey comb, but wasps do not produce honey. The combs are only there for reproduction purposes and do not store food.
Queen wasps are produced at the end of the summer into autumn before the nest starts to die off. This normally starts at the end of August but can be as late as October, but there are always extreme cases. When the new queens emerge from the nest, they mate with drone wasps and then find a place to hibernate over the winter. In the spring as the weather stabilises and becomes warmer, these hibernating queens emerge and find a brand new nest site. At this point there are only queen wasps about, no workers have been produced. Once the first stage of the nest has been constructed, the queen lays her first batch of eggs. This will be in late March, early April. The first worker wasps will emerge a few weeks after the eggs have been laid.
Read more information about the wasp life-cycle
Once your nest has been treated, the question arises what should I do with the nest? We recommend that you leave the nest where it is, if possible. The reasons for this are simple: The insecticide dust we use kills the wasps in the nest. The nest itself is just a structure that is made from chewed wood. The nest is harmless and will not attack you. This insecticide has a shelf life of several years, the treated nest is now undefended as all the occupants are dead. Other nests nearby will know the location of the treated nest and will investigate from time to time to see if there is an opportunity to raid it. If these nest robbers enter the treated nest they will come in contact with the insecticide. We believe that occasionally enough insecticide is taken back to the robber nest to kill that one as well. One treatment sometimes kills two nests.
Any queens which are looking to nest in the spring may check out an old nest and die before they get chance to build a new nest.
Wasp frequently nest in bird boxes, the nests start small on the inside of the bird box and when all available space inside the bird box has been used as the wasps expand their home, the nest is then built around the box on the outside.
It is highly unlikely that you would drown a wasp nest that is in the ground. The soil will soak up the water quicker than you can get it down to the nest. Normally underground wasp nests are fairly deep, a foot or more. We do not advise that you try and drown a wasp nest in your loft, you will create severe damage to plasterboard ceilings and electrical wiring.
Each year pest controllers are called out to incorrectly identified wasp nests. Usually this is for honey bees or bumble bees.
Bumble bees come in a range of sizes but all of them are fluffy and black, with various coloured bands across their abdomen.
Some pest controllers will relocate bumble bee nests, but it is not always successful and we advise that where possible try and leave them alone. Bumble bees are hard to provoke into stinging and will only do so as a last resort.
Please read our pages on wasp nest identification and wasp information for more detailed information and images to help you identify your problem.
Wasps will build nests in compost heaps. Compost heaps are normally warm inside as the vegetation material breaks down and this causes gases and heat to be produced. Wasps love warm places. Bumble bees are also renowned for building their nests in compost heaps, so be sure to establish what type of insect you have before calling a pest controller, most pest controllers will not treat bumble bees.