Romsey and District Beekeepers' Association

About COMMON WASPS - Building large papery nests

Wasps have their place in our ecosystem, although they can at times be a menace

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WASPS can be aggressive
Image missing: A wasp on fruit
WASPS never swarm. If you see many wasps, they will be very close to their nest.
Queen wasps spend winter in hibernation and emerge in spring to build a nest and a new colony of wasps. She forages for nectar and pollen along with other pollinators, but adult wasps will catch insect food to nourish the larvae (this includes garden and domestic pests so there is a case for tolerating them).
The first worker wasps of the year become active 4-6 weeks after the queen has emerged from hibernation in April or May, depending on the weather.In autumn, new queen wasps emerge and mate then leave the nest to hibernate. Food for the workers diminishes and wasps become a nuisance as they scavenge for anything sweet, such as fallen fruit. Worker wasps do not survive winter.
Wasp nests
Image missing: A wasp nest
Wasps live in nests of up to 10,000 workers. Queen wasps do not return to an old nest but will return to areas that attract them, such as those with fallen fruit or accessible dustbins.
Wasps strip wood for their nests from sheds, fence panels, bee hives or anything wooden. You may see small tell-tale lines on wood around your garden; if you do, there is a wasp nest close by. They chew the shreds of wood and mix it to a paste with saliva and wax to make their papery nests.
Nuisance wasp colonies
Wasps are attracted to anything sweet so can blight a peaceful picnic or other outdoor activity. They can be aggressive and can sting repeatedly.
The venom in the sting contains pheromones that attract more wasps, so swatting an annoying wasp close to its nest will attract their attention. The effects of a sting normally last a day or so, but a small number of people may suffer an anaphylactic shock - please see our information on stings. Bee stings and wasp stings are very different. Wasp colonies can be a nuisance in domestic situations and wasp nests can be destroyed - phone Steve Smith at Cedar Pest (02380 739071 or 07976 425453. For full details please read our Swarms and pest control information