Wasps’ behaviour changes in late summer as their preferred food shifts from sugars to proteins. Because of this, you will more likely encounter them wherever food is consumed outdoors and around garbage collection areas.
Wasps generally do not attack or sting unless they are disturbed or handled, or unless they feel threatened or harmed. When they do attack, however, most wasps, yellow jackets and hornets are aggressive and will sting REPEATEDLY.
The Science Corner
In the warmer days of spring, queen wasps emerge from their winter hibernation. Their first priority is to find suitable locations to build new nests. As they build the nest, it reaches its maximum size in late summer and early autumn. Each queen lays queen eggs and drone eggs, with each nest holding up to 1,500 new queens.
If you notice large numbers of wasps in your home or garden, there is likely to be a nest nearby. It may be in your house, in your garden or very close by. A mature nest in summer/autumn can contain thousands of wasps.
How can I identify the nest type?
- Paper wasps: This is an open nest with hexagonal cells. It usually has an umbrella shape and may contain fewer than 100 paper wasps.
- Hornets: A hornet nest has a football shape surrounded by smooth walls.
- Bees: Bee hives are recognisable by their distinctive waxy appearance.
- Yellow jacket wasps: You can spot a yellow jacket wasp nest by the activity around the nest. You’ll see wasps going back and forth to a concealed location. These nests can contain thousands of wasps!
How can I avoid getting stung?
The following tips can help you avoid painful wasp stings:
- Carefully dispose of all food and drinks, especially soft drink cans.
- Never leave sugary drinks unattended. Also, always check sugary drinks for wasps before consuming.
- Keep all areas of your property clean and tidy.
- Check for wasp activity before carrying out any gardening activity.
- Avoid strong scents and bright clothing.
- Protect your feet by wearing closed shoes.
What should I do if I’m attacked?
- Always remain still if a wasp approaches you.
- If you have to run away, do so in a straight line, without flailing your arms.
- Protect your head and face, as these areas are mostly likely to be targeted by the wasps.
- If you swat at the wasp or swing your arms, you’ll only make it more aggressive and more likely to sting you.
- Do not try to fool wasps by “playing dead”. They will simply continue stinging you!
- Do not seek shelter in a body of water, as the wasps will simply wait for you to re-emerge.
Should I remove wasp nest myself?
It is important to treat a wasp nest as soon as possible. Removing a wasp nest is a complex process and requires professional help. To avoid the risk of painful wasp stings (and possible allergic reactions), Rentokil strongly advises you NOT to try to remove a wasp nest yourself. Remember, you could cause serious injury to yourself or others if you provoke the wasps in the nest.
If you notice a wasp nest in your property, contact us for expert advice and immediate assistance.