Wasp nest removal
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Wasp nest removal
Please note, wasp nest removal is best left to a pest control professional. No one is happy about it: a wasp nest in your home. Removing the wasp nest is the logical step, of course, but it’s not something you should underestimate. Below you can read everything you need to know about wasps and wasp nests. But note, when in doubt, always call in a professional.
What are wasps?
Logically, wasp nests are built by wasps. In terms of appearance, almost all wasps are yellow with black, so as a human you will not easily see a difference between the species. Nevertheless, there are about 50,000 species of wasps living on this earth. But don’t be alarmed, only a few of these live in the Netherlands.
The most common Dutch wasp, is the common wasp (Vespula vulgaris). These wasps grow to an average length of 17 to 20 mm. This is the species you will mainly find in your wasp nest. These vicious critters are often a nuisance and can also sting considerably. Another common species, is the German wasp (Vespula germanica). These are on average 12 to 15 mm in size.
The common and German wasp are both species that make their nests out of paper and also aggressively defend their nests when the going gets tough. Colloquially, these are also called the “lemonade wasps,” because they are always flying around your glass when you sit outside in the summer. The distinction between the species is in the markings on the body, as the German wasp has 3 black dots on its head.
Still other species are the digger wasp, gal wasp and horned wasp, but we won’t go into those further in this article.
What is a wasp nest anyway?
The distinctive feature of wasps, is that they live in colonies. The fertile females are the queens of the colonies. In the spring, these mate with the winged males. The workers are the ones who look for food, build the nest and care for the larvae.
Each species of wasp builds its nest in their own way. In each case, a new nest is made each year, with construction beginning in the spring. The queen is the wasp that starts building first. The queen is the largest wasp of the colony and therefore also the strongest. In other words, the queen is one of the few wasps able to survive autumn and winter. Once she has started building the nest, she lays her eggs in it as soon as possible from the males she has mated with the previous year. The sperm from these male wasps can keep the kings in her body for up to 7 months.
The nest is built of finely chewed wood and plant fibers. The wasps’ saliva turns the wood into a kind of paper. So if you see a wasp gnawing on dry wood, it is gathering material for the nest.
A wasp nest that is completely finished has an average diameter of 20 to 35 centimeters and a wall thickness of 2 centimeters. Although, of course, there are exceptions to these dimensions. A nest often has multiple entrances so that the animals can fly into the nest from many directions. On the inside of the nest you will find 6-angled combs. These combs are always surrounded by 1 or more balloon-shaped sheaths. In the cells of the comb the eggs are laid by the queen.
Locations of wasp nests
It is important to the wasps that the nest can withstand different weather conditions. Therefore, they soon choose to build their nest around a the house, because here the nest can hang sheltered from rain, snow and storms. Wasps search the smallest holes and corners to find a suitable place. Often – unfortunately for us – these are places that are difficult to reach. Think of nests in:
- Trees (tree trunks) and bushes
- Roof gutters and eaves
- Garages and garden sheds
- Sleeper walls
- In the attic
A nest in a tree is fairly simple to remove, but if you have a wasp nest in your cavity wall, it is less pleasant. It can therefore take a lot of time to remove such a nest safely. If you are unlucky, an entire wall really has to be broken open. In addition, the wasps will also nest in the cavity wall itself, destroying the insulation material of your house.
Do I have a wasp nest in my house?
You can see a wasp nest hanging in a tree, but how do you find out if there is a blocked wasp nest in or around your house? Most noticeable, of course, is when you have a large number of wasps flying around in your home, garden or patio. This does not involve a single wasp, but sometimes several dozen. In fact, at the end of the summer there can be up to 5,000 wasps in the colony.
To find the nest, simply follow the route of the wasps flying back. This is often easiest at the end of summer, because that is when most wasps live in the nest. So follow the route of the wasps and you will automatically see a large sphere hanging, with characteristic paper-like walls.
Removing a wasp nest
After you find the nest, you obviously want to get rid of it as soon as possible. But removing such a nest is not something you can do in between. Good preparation is half the battle. There is also a difference between fighting wasps and removing a nest. So how does that work?
Watch out for wasp allergy
If the wasp nest is close to your home, then it is wise to start by fighting the wasps first. This is because a wasp sting is very unpleasant and such a sting can swell and cause irritation in no time.
Should you be allergic to the wasps, there is even a chance that your airways will swell, which can make you feel very stuffy or which can even lead to suffocation. In such a case, a person should quickly use an Epipen or else go to the hospital as soon as possible. Especially if you haven’t been stung before, you don’t know if you are allergic or not and you don’t want to risk being accidentally stung.
Fight first, only then remove your wasp nest
It goes without saying, then, that you should kill the wasps first, before removing the nest. Removing an active wasp nest is simply not possible. All the wasps live in this nest, so if you were to just grab it, they will all panic and get angry.
In other words, the wasps must be killed first before you can safely tackle the nest itself. In some cases – if a nest is in the garden, for example – people leave the nest in place after fighting the wasps themselves. This is because wasps will never reuse a wasp nest. Once a nest is empty, it will no longer pose a danger in the future.
Fighting a wasp nest: do it yourself or have it done?
If you’ve found the nest and want to get rid of it, it’s time to prepare a plan of action. You can do two things: fight the wasps and remove the nest yourself, or have a professional do it for you.
Go it yourself
Of course, no one is stopping you if you want to tackle a wasp nest yourself. But don’t just start here, you have to take some measures before you begin. For starters, your personal safety is important, make sure you have the proper clothing (wasp suit). A wasp suit is made of a special, thick fabric that repels wasps as much as possible. But if a wasp is really angry, it will also be able to sting through the suit.
Once you have protected yourself as much as possible, most people first go to work with what is called wasp powder. This is a powder that you spray on the spots where wasps fly to and from the nest or else in the nest itself. A wasp will sit on the spot where you sprayed the powder, taking the goodies on its body to the nest. The powder is toxic, so the wasps in the nest will naturally die. More on this in a moment.
Hire a professional
A professional is trained in controlling and removing nests and will always follow a set procedure. First, he will trace the nest and see where it is located. Depending on the difficulty of the spot, the right solution will be devised.
As just explained, also the professional will first kill the wasps themselves, for this he can use different pesticides. After the wasps have been controlled and the nest has been removed, possible solutions to prevent new wasps from wanting to nest in the same place in the future can still be considered.
Why hire a professional?
Hiring a professional is usually a better idea than dealing with it yourself, and there are several reasons for this. First, hiring a professional always guarantees the removal of the nest. The expert won’t leave until the nest is completely gone from your home.
Also, a professional has knowledge about wasps and wasp nests, which you don’t have yourself. For example, an expert will always make sure that he works with sustainable substances that only harm wasps and do not affect the rest of the environment. In doing so, he can also give advice and come up with solutions that will help you avoid having wasps in the same place again next year and how to prevent wasp nests from forming in your home, garden or garage in the first place.
Where to buy wasp powder?
If you did choose to tackle the nest yourself, you should be aware that wasp powder is not an instant miracle cure that will completely solve your wasp problem. For example, some powders are not at all suitable against very large wasp nests. Most powders you can buy cost approximately between €8.00 and €17.00, depending on the brand, quantity and species. The ingredients are also different; each brand uses a slightly different mix of poisons.
Most powders can be purchased online and offline. Consider drugstores and garden centers. A garden center usually employs experts on pesticides who can explain to you well and clearly how the pesticide works and what it does.
If you have bought the pesticide, it is wise to apply it at night, because then the fewest wasps are active and you have less risk of angering a wasp. Even so, you should still wear the protective clothing! You then apply the powder (or spray in some cases) into the openings of the wasp nest. You have to repeat this several times until you are sure you have killed the wasps.
Sometimes it does not succeed in completely eradicating a nest, especially in large nests with many occupants in them. This may be because the remedy is not powerful enough or does not contain the right working ingredients. In such cases it is wise to call in a professional. They often have the right and effective materials on hand.
What should you absolutely not do when dealing with a wasp nest?
Getting started with powder or calling in a professional are the two best things you can do in the event of a wasp nest. To prevent you from still accidentally going wrong, here are a 2 things you should absolutely NOT do when dealing with a wasp nest.
Don’t set fire
Burning sounds like an effective way to kill the wasps, but it is extremely dangerous. First, there is a fire hazard and the flame can spread to your garden fence, shrubs or even your house. Second, the escaped wasps become heartily aggressive and will try to attack everything in their path.
Don’t pour water on them
Fire doesn’t work, but neither does water. You only kill a very small portion of the wasps with it, and the wasps that remain will also start attacking everyone else again. Chances are that with water, for example, your cavity wall will suffer massive damage, while the nest will just stay put.
Removing an empty wasp nest
As mentioned above, wasps build a new nest every year. Therefore, an old nest will not be repopulated. If you are sure that a nest has been hanging for more than a year and you do not see wasps flying around it, you can remove the wasp nest by, for example, cutting it off the side with a sharp knife.
Conclusion Wasp nest removal
Removing a wasp nest is not without risks. Ultimately, it is possible to control the wasps and remove the nest yourself. However, it is something that carries risks, especially if you do it the wrong way. You shouldn’t underestimate how terrifying a whole group of angry wasps can be, you can suffer significant injuries from that.
So if you are in doubt whether you can remove a wasp nest yourself, just hire a professional. They know what to do and will remove the nest for you with as little risk as possible.
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