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What to do if there's a wasps nest or beehive near your home or business; Not all wasps nests should be eradicated.

Byline: Ann Yip

Warmer weather is welcomed by the vast majority of us Brits, but what we may not be welcoming is a large wasps nest or beehive near our homes and businesses.

Seeing a swarm or bees or wasps in your back garden can be frightening. The insects, feared for their nasty sting, can be dangerous in large groups.

But it is important to understand how the creatures behave and whether it will actually pose a safety risk to you and your family.

In the UK, we mainly get common wasps (Vespula vulgaris) and German wasps (Vespula germanica). Meanwhile, there are more than 200 types of bees in the UK, including 25 types of bumblebees.

Pests in Surrey

Both wasps and bumbeblees live in colonies which thrive during the summer season. A queen wasp or bumblebee begins making her nest in spring. The nests peak in the summer and die off when it gets cold. New queens will then wait until the following spring to begin a new colony.

Using information provided by the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), we answer all your questions related to wasps nests and beehives:

It is easy to mistake bees for wasps and vice versa.

But while wasps are usually considered pests, bees are considered to be important and beneficial to our ecosystems through the process of pollination.

Bees eat nectar for energy and pollen for protein while wasps tend to eat other insects. But in the months of August and September, 'worker' wasps, after rearing the youngsters, tend to turn to sweet food and become a nuisance.

If you're unsure about whether you've got bees or wasps, the BPCA's advice is to take a photo, if possible and safe, and to contact a professional pest controller.

If you're seeing a large number of wasps in and around your home or business, there may be a nest nearby.

The nests come in different shapes and sizes. In early spring, you might see a wasps nest the size of a golf ball, but this could grow to the size of a beachball. BPCA advises that you treat a wasps nest as early as possible.

Wasps build their nests using chewed wood and saliva to make a papier-mache material. The nest material is durable, lightweight and waterproof.

Wasps are likely to make their nests in sheltered spots, the most likely spots are under trees, in bushes, in wall cavities, under eaves, or in sheds and garages.

Swarm of 10,000 bees causes a buzz outside The Belfry in Redhill

Wasps will usually only attack a person if they feel threatened. And when they do feel threatened, they usually get 'backup'. They release a chemical to call for help, sending nearby colony members into a defensive stinging frenzy.

While being stung by one wasp isn't normally dangerous, 30 or 40 stings could kill you.

Wasp stings can be fatal. Children, elderly people, those with allergies, and pets are particularly sensitive to wasp stings.

Bees don't cause any problems to your property and you are not in danger of being stung if they are left alone and unprovoked.

Wasps nests should only be treated if they pose a risk to public health and safety.

Wasps can be beneficial in gardens as they feed their grubs on caterpillars and other insects, thereby reducing these pest populations.

But if you own a shop or restaurant, you need to take wasp pest control seriously as you have a duty to protect your customers and staff. It could also result in a loss of reputation and future income.

Because bees are more beneficial and endangered (but not protected), BPCA recommends that you explore all other options first. Pest controllers only treat beehives if there is a serious threat to human life.

Hundreds of wasps take over Caterham garden on same day bees swarm in Coulsdon

If a nest is outside or underground, it should not really be a problem. If it is in more accessible places such as bushes, trees and sheds, you may contact a local beekeeper or pest controller to relocate the nest.

Also, by the time a colony has become obvious, its activity should be about to decline naturally.

BPCA recommends finding a professional pest controller.

Although an insect spray will kill any wasps in flight, this will not be effective for the sheer number of wasps in a nest.

BPCA also does not recommend turning to online DIY nest removal guides. DIY products can be effective for dealing with small nests, but are unlikely to help with a large, established nest.

For beehives, the decision to eradicate it will depend on whether it is possible to close the entrances to the nest afterwards. Blocking these entrances will prevent other bees from entering and getting contaminated.

BPCA issued the following advice to stop wasps invading your home or businesses:


Credit: Pixabay

Wasps are usually considered pests

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Bees help with pollination and are beneficial to the ecosystem

Credit: Pixabay / ulleo

You should contact a professional pest controller to take care of a wasps nest
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Publication:Get Surrey (Surrey, England)
Date:Jun 10, 2018
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