The problem with wasps
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.