The prob­lem with wasps

The People's Friend - - Gardening -

I re­cently had a chal­lenge to my wildlife-friendly poli­cies. Although wasps are a nui­sance, they are as im­por­tant as bees in the gar­den as pol­li­na­tors and scav­engers. They feed on pests, such as green­fly and cater­pil­lars. Both the RHS and Friends of the Earth say that a wasps’ nest should be left alone, and the BBC has re­ferred to them as “eco­log­i­cal mar­vels”.

When we no­ticed a wasps’ nest just be­low our bath­room win­dow, we left it, be­cause of the value of wasps to the environment. But one morn­ing, I opened the win­dow to take a pho­to­graph of the gar­den. The wasps de­cided I was a threat and surged in.

Although I only had one st­ing, my arm swelled up and I had to spend two days with it raised and iced and was on round-the-clock anti-his­tamines and painkillers. So there is def­i­nitely a prob­lem for peo­ple with an al­lergy to wasp stings.

Peo­ple would also be climb­ing ladders near the nest to clean win­dows or cut back the Vir­ginia creeper. I defy any­one to stay on a lad­der when at­tacked by wasps, so there was a real dan­ger.

Ev­ery sit­u­a­tion is dif­fer­ent, so don’t au­to­mat­i­cally call for pest con­trol when you re­alise you have a wasps’ nest. Once the frosts come, most of the wasps die and only the queen and a few oth­ers hi­ber­nate.

They will build an­other nest the fol­low­ing year, but it won’t be in the same place.

We had the nest pro­fes­sion­ally dealt with. It was sim­ply too dan­ger­ous to leave it there.

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