Skip the sting, trap a queen
SPRING is here and it’s the time when European queen wasps begin making new homes from which to deploy their workers and annoy us all.
To skip the sting and help our native wildlife against these pests, setting up wasp traps to capture queens before they establish their new colony is a great way to help.
Keith Padbury has the lowdown on all things wasp, and offered the following advice to locals on the Mansfield and District Community Noticeboard.
“Trapping queen European wasps in spring means no nests established,” said Keith.
“No nests equals no wasps and no wasps equals no worries.
“Queens will be breaking hibernation between now and mid October.
“Making traps is easy, cheap and a great project for the kids.”
European wasps love to nest in soft mud underground or can be found in wood and compost piles.
The wasps are at their peak numbers in late summer, particularly March when they invade outdoor dining areas including local cafes, restaurants and hotels.
But it’s from the trees that we can strike first, in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly fashion.
Traps can be made from large clear bottles (soft drink, milk, or juice) with three holes one or two centimetres in diameter about 15cm from the base.
Then use a bait made from honey, water and a little pure vanilla essence (pure, not imitation).
Make up a solution of four or five tablespoons of honey in hot water with a little vanilla essence - this will do four or five traps.
The bait will take a couple of days to ferment which is important as the fermented odour will keep our native bees away.
Divide the bait between traps, top up with water to just below the holes, replace cap and hang in a sunny spot in the garden, from a tree or near an obvious foraging site, but keep it away from anywhere ants might invade.
Shake every few days to let bait dribble out and keep in place until January.
Once inside - if the hole is small enough - the wasp will not be able to make its way out again.
The wasps can then be destroyed.
Several alternative recipes can be found on websites and instructions are easy to follow.
If you live close to Fords Creek in particular the town will appreciate your effort in putting out a wasp trap.