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'The Exterminator' says buzz-off to wasps.

Byline: Hazel Ettienne

A WASPS' nest has been causing a bit of a buzz in he Ettienne household over the past few weeks.

The vindictive yellow and striped pests have decided to set up home in the roof tiles of a bay window directly beneath our bedroom window, which is no joke when you're bedridden with a mild bout of swine flu and need free flowing fresh air for a swift recovery.

The wooden sash windows in our Edwardian home are usually wedged open, come rain or shine, but the arrival of these buzzing creatures has put paid to that.

Mr Ettienne, who with advancing years is starting to consider himself a bit of a handyman (although no Black and Decker Workmate has arrived as yet) has created special wooden strips, complete with drilled holes to wedge between to allow air, but not wasps to get through.

But the persistent little blighters still seem to be getting into the Ettienne boudoir and causing a headache for us as well as themselves.

Enter 'The Terminator' AKA youngest Ettienne, who at age 11 and due to start high school is fast approaching manhood, or so he thinks!

Before I continue with this tale of extermination, I realise I should perhaps give the usual public health warning that members of the public should not try to remove wasp or hornet nests themselves and certainly not give an unsupervised child free rein with wasp killer.

I should also point out that I remain a committed vegetarian, do not think humans should kill any living thing, but consider wasps to be exempt from that rule because of their truly vindictive nature, insistence on wanting to spoil everyone's barbecues and not serving any purpose, that I am aware of apart from annoying people.

So, decked out in waterproof coat, goggles, gloves, tracksuit bottoms tucked into socks and trainers and armed with industrial strength wasp spray (on offer at pounds 1.59 at a Huddersfield retailer) the entrance to the nest was accessed, sprayed quickly and inside we all went.

The results incredibly satisfying, I will describe no further. A second can and second application by Mr DIY seems to have done the trick. We are wasp free, or are we? The sting in the tale? The wasps may come back.

National figures say the last week in July and first in August are the peak time for home owners to call out pest controllers to deal with invasions of wasps or hornets.

Home emergency experts HomeServe say they handle an average of 3,000 related claims each year with July being the most popular time for customers to call out pest controllers to deal with emergencies related to stinging insects.

A quick web search reveals that wasps are social insects and live in nests of about 10,000 workers with a queen.

They build a paper nest by chewing small amounts of wood from trees, reeds or garden fences and mix it with saliva to form a pulp which is added to the nest in thin strips.

Wasps do not construct their own burrow but will choose one which already exists such as an abandoned animal burrow, a garden shed, or the loft of a house.

Unlike bees, wasps are able to sting repeatedly.

There are even some fascinating wasp nest museum images on YouTube.

CAPTION(S):

* STING: The common wasp, Vespula vulgaris
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Aug 1, 2009
Words:567
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