Of the 200,000 species of wasp in the world, the vast majority are harmless creatures that mind their own business.
In the UK, it is the eight species of social wasps that can cause problems to humans.
Unlike honey bees, wasps are not able to store food over the winter and so their nest colonies only last for one season.
In the early spring, a young queen builds a small nest about the size of a walnut. This will contain about a dozen hexagonal cells, into each of which the queen will lay an egg. By the end of spring, these will have turned into workers who will get to work extending the nest and feeding the emerging larvae, while the queen is busy laying more eggs.
Wasps will typically choose a dry, hidden location, perhaps in loft spaces, roof cavities, or chimney pots. While it is small, the nest is hard to find, but by late summer, it can contain up to 10,000 wasps and will usually be clearly visible.
Wasps feed their young on flies, insect larvae and just about anything else they can find, including tempting treats such as fruit from trees, and food left on kitchen surfaces or by barbecues.
As summer nears its end, the queen will lay special eggs containing next year’s queens and breeding males. Once these have hatched, the worker wasps’ jobs are complete. This is when they can be at their most aggressive towards people and most likely to use their sting, attacking anything that comes close to the nest.
Getting rid of wasps in Essex
It is easiest to treat a wasps’ nest in the spring before it gets too big. However, by the time most people realise the nest is there, it is usually well developed and needs specialist treatment.
If you think there is a wasps’ nest in your home, take extreme care. Do not go near it and if it is in the loft, do not switch on the light as this will provoke the worker wasps to attack. Keep well back and watch where the wasps go – they will follow the same flight path to and from the nest and are likely to sting anyone who gets in the way.
Our wasp removal team in Essex have the specialist tools and experience to remove wasps’ nests quickly and effectively, even in the most awkward locations.