STING IN THE TALE OF HOUSE FIRE

(or how not to tackle a wasp nest)

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by Tom Her­bert tom.her­bert@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @TRHer­bert

A BLAZE tore through a porch roof after some­one set fire to a wasp nest.

Fire­fight­ers from Ger­rards Cross and from Lan­g­ley raced to Slough Road in Iver Heath, to ex­tin­guish the fire at around 2.15pm on Sun­day Septem­ber 4.

The blaze was ex­tin­guished us­ing a hose reel, a ceil­ing hook, a ther­mal imag­ing cam­era and a PPV (pos­i­tive pres­sure ven­ti­la­tion) fan.

Set­ting fire to a wasp nest is not the best way to get rid of the in­sects.

We asked Ged of Pest Con­trol Bucks, based in Farn­ham Com­mon, what to do if you find a wasp nest at home. His ad­vice? Leave it to the pro­fes­sion­als: “It can be quite dan­ger­ous,” he said, say­ing stings can lead to ana­phy­lac­tic shock.

He added: “Each wasp that stings you re­leases a chem­i­cal.

“The wasps know they’re un­der at­tack.

“The more wasps that sting you, the more they re­lease that chem­i­cal.”

The more chem­i­cals re­leased, the more the wasps will come and at­tack – even Ged will tackle them in a full bee­keeper’s suit.

Wasp nests are made of wood with a con­sis­tency sim­i­lar to cig­a­rette ash, and Ged def­i­nitely ad­vises against set­ting them on fire.

There a num­ber of dif­fer­ent types of wasp species in South­ern Eng­land, and the gen­eral rule is the lower to the ground the wasps nest is the more ag­gres­sive the wasps are.

If you have one in your lawn or low down in a wall you would not of­ten see the nest as it would be hid­den.

In­stead the en­trance hole would be treated with an in­sec­ti­ci­dal pow­der, which would rub onto the wasps walk­ing into the nest, even­tu­ally find­ing its way to the queen and killing her.

For wasp nests that are found in trees or higher up, Ged would use a tele­scopic pole to sy­ringe the queen’s cham­ber with a liq­uid, even­tu­ally killing her.

He said: “Wasps without a queen is like you try­ing to func­tion without a brain.

“Without those in­struc­tions [from the queen] they can’t func­tion.

“The nest just dis­in­te­grates – they don’t know what to do.”

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