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Wasp explosion in summer sun; SWARM WEATHER Pest controllers tackle rise of nests in homes.

Byline: John Rowbotham

Wasps are providing a sting in the tale of Stirling's hottest summer for several years.

Pest control companies and Stirling Council staff have been inundated with calls for help from people who have found wasp nests at their home.

Council staff have noted a 200 per cent rise in call outs for wasps nests.

The authority's pest control operatives have responded to 326 wasp complaints since February, compared with 110 last year. And since the beginning of June, they have received 223 calls about wasp concerns compared with 47 last year.

"The sharp rise means our pest control team is extremely busy but we aim to tackle reports of a wasp nest within seven to 10 working days," said a spokesperson.

The council charges PS52.50 for call outs to deal with bee and wasp problems at domestic properties, while the cost of engaging a private firm can be slightly higher although waiting times may be less.

One wasp expert said the good weather from March had resulted in more queen wasps surviving after coming out of hibernation to mate, resulting in higher numbers of the insect.

Willie Alexander, boss of Menstrie-based Precision Pest Control, said the number of inquiries his firm had recently received regarding wasps was "double the usual seasonal volume".

He expected inquiries to continue this month which was usually busiest for tackling wasp nests and the time of year when wasps can be at their most aggressive.

Mr Alexander (60) has had his own pestcontrol businessfor 20 years, said: "The reasons why wasps have been such a problem this year is that the warm weather has encouraged both them and the aphids on which they feed.

"In addition, the warm weather has brought about a change in people's habits. They are out into their gardens more, either to relax and have barbecues, and they are spotting the wasps and their nests.

"Another thing I have noticed is that when we respond to an inquiry to deal with a wasp problem, we are often finding there are two nests - the frequency of that has increased markedly."

Mr Alexander who wears protective clothing when he tackles wasp nests, warned homeowners about the risks of carrying out the jobs themselves.

"Occasionally, I hear from customers of horror stories of people who have tried to complete the jobthemselves and have beenstung several or even many times," he added.

"We once tackled a wasp nest in an old television box stored in a shed, The owner got stung when she tried to do a clearout in the shed."

An average wasp nest, at the peak of summer, will hold between 3000 and 6000 wasps.

However, two years ago in a shed in Braehead, Mr Alexander was faced with a nest measuring four feet in diametre containing an estimated 50,000 wasps.

"That took a lot of care and attention because you had to try and avoid dispersing that sheer volume of wasps (in one go), so we had to do it stage by stage and it took around 50 minutes," explained Mr Alexander.

"You can find wasp nests everywhere including trees, attics and holes in the ground.

"The most unusual site for a nest we have dealt with was in a boat at Blair Drummond, and the strange thing about that, until they were removed, was the wasps travelled with the boat as it moved to different locations."

And wasps are not the only problem afflicting homes during 2018's long hot summer. Mr Alexander has also had a number of a calls from people complaining about infestations of fleas in their homes.

"Usually, they have been brought into the house unwittingly by dogs and cats but they can cause a whole lot of problems," he added.

We once tackled a wasp nest in an old television box stored in a shed ...

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Danger Wasp nest found in old television box stored in shed

Suited and booted Willie Alexander of Menstrie-based Precision Pest Control waging war on wasps
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Publication:Stirling Observer (Stirling, Scotland)
Date:Aug 1, 2018
Words:670
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