Wasps are most active in the warm summer months. In South Africa, the Common Wasp and German Wasp cause the most annoyance and painful stings. Even with their special yellow and black body, they can still be confused with hornets, although hornets are not as common in this country, they can still bite and sting you.
Signs of Wasp Nests
If you are experiencing high numbers of wasps in your home or garden there is likely to be a nest nearby, either on your property, in your garden or very close by.
A mature nest in summer can contain thousands of wasps.
It is important to treat a wasp nest early to reduce the threat of a wasp sting, which can be very painful and even cause an allergic reaction.
Identifying a Wasp Nest
Wasps make their nests from chewed wood pulp and saliva, giving them distinctive papery walls.
Nests are usually built in sheltered spots with easy access to the outside. You can often find wasp nests in wall cavities, roof spaces, under eaves, in bird boxes, sheds or garages.
To locate a nest, carefully watch the flight path of the returning wasps, this becomes easier later in the summer as the numbers of wasps increase.
How big can a Wasp Nest be?
At first, a wasp nest will start off very small.
When a Queen wasp starts to build a nest in spring it is usually about the size of a walnut or golf ball.
As summer progresses the nest will grow rapidly in size, as the number of wasps increase. A nest can become the size of a football, or even bigger in some cases.
It is best to treat a nest earlier in the year before numbers increase and the wasps become more aggressive.
Difference between Wasps and Bees
It is possible to confuse wasps with bees. However the treatment available for a wasp nest and a bee hive differ.
Bees are an endangered species and a bees nest will only be removed if it poses a significant threat to nearby people. Ecopoise will only treat a bees nest as a last resort and with honey bees, only after contacting a qualified bee keeper.
Treatments for a wasp nest are far more common and can be carried out professionally by Ecopoise, quickly and safely.
- Wasps have much less hair on their bodies than bees.
- Wasps have a tighter waist between the thorax and abdomen than bees.
- Wasps are sometimes mistaken for hornets as they are similar in appearance, but wasps are smaller in size.
- Wasps have distinctive yellow and black markings on their bodies.
- They have three main body parts; the head, thorax and the abdomen.
- Worker wasps vary in size from 12-17mm.
- Only female wasps sting and can do so repeatedly.