Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Invasion of the Stinging Kind!

Whether it is cyclic or due to global warming, the winter just gone has been pretty half pie. Fantastic for an early flush in the flower garden, but not so good for us when it comes to those stinging, harassing, pesky wasps!

Let me tell you why...

The life cycle of the wasp involves the need for the next generations’ queens to hibernate during the winter months. With our short winter being borderline to a sham, our hibernating queens have made it through easy enough and are now starting to emerge with intent to start a family. The problem is that they are almost 2 months too early! With the surviving nests already at early summer numbers, this only means one thing; it’s going to be a big summer for wasps.

Food attractions

Wasps do a great job of keeping the insect population down but everything is fair game to them, including the monarch caterpillars on your swan plants. To protect your monarch caterpillars, once you feel there are enough caterpillars on the plant you can cover the plant with an old net curtain, tying it off at the bottom so no wasps can get in. Take off the cover when they are in their chrysalis.

Wasps are on the hunt for the bugs and grubs in your garden, meat in your sandwich or fish bait 1km offshore, yes they harass us fishermen too. They are also after honeydew and will travel over 1km from their nest when searching for food. This also makes it hard when we get called out to a property where there is no nest located.


So what can be done to reduce the numbers of wasps in the situation there is no nest in sight?

Wasps are attracted to the honeydew found on our giant aphids. These aphids live on those high sap producing trees, such as the willow tree. As you look into a willow you will see wasps bouncing around the leaves and then flying off in different directions. The solution to this is to eliminate the wasp’s food source, the aphids. Contact your local garden store for safe and effective ways to put an end to the aphids.

When to treat a nest yourself

Now for the inevitable, wasp nests and what to do about them! If the nest is visible, by being under the eaves or on the fence etc, then it is more than likely to be an Asian paper wasp nest. These are usually handled quite easily and can be shoved off and squashed due to their small size. We don’t 
recommend do it yourself remedies, especially in the situation where you are unsure of the nest size.
Nests under the ground or in the roof cavity can be hard to decipher the size. This is when it can get dangerous. Our technicians are fully trained and equipped to deal with worst case scenarios. Nothing is too big or too small for us!

Small paper wasp nest.
Large nest found in ceiling cavity, about the size of a beach ball!!

As a foot note, I would like to remind you that wasps are a dangerous pest when they feel threatened and they will defend the hive aggressively. Attempting to eliminate a wasp nest without gauging its size correctly or not using the proper protection or products could result in serious injury.

If you have any questions about wasps, you can call our team at Bug King on 0800 54 64 54 to discuss it further.

Have a happy and safe summer from your local pesties.

Jonathan – Bug King Pest Control.

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