A fellow London pest control company who had been called to treat woodworm at a property in Northamptonshire got a rather large surprise last Autumn. By large, we mean a metre-wide wasp nest the size of a barrel, connected to the outside by a 1.4m tunnel!
Colossal Wasp Nest a Rare Sight
The attending London pest control company described the wasp nest as a ‘rare sight’. Larger wasp nests are normally considered to reach the size of a football, yet this was the size of a beer barrel. Not only this, the wasps had built an intricate tunnel leading from the nest, which was located in the attic, to the outside world.
Estimating a population of approximately 10,000 wasps, the pest controllers were relieved to find the nest was no longer active. Wasp nests are normally reported far before reaching this size due to wasp activity being noticed by homeowners, However, in this case, the house was being renovated after being vacant for a period of time. Therefore, the wasp nest had been able to grow to capacity, live through the whole season and then naturally die off.
How are Wasp Nests Made?
The attending London pest control technicians described the wasp nest as being a work of art. Much bigger than any nest they had seen before, it was a fine example of how a wasp colony can work together to form a beautifully constructed nest for themselves. Started by a loan queen, a wasp nest quickly becomes a network of small cells where eggs are laid. So how are they made?
After emerging from hibernation, the queen wasp finds a location for her new nest. This may be close to a previous nest, but wasps never use the same nest twice. Stripping bare wood from trees and garden fences, she uses it to create a petiole, which is a cylindrical column that attaches to a structure such as the roof or a wall. This is coated in a special chemical produced by the queen, which protects against ants. A single cell is then made and surrounded by another six cells. Layers are added until there are 20-30 cells for the queen to lay eggs in.
While waiting for the eggs to hatch, the queen continues nest building. Once hatched, the queen also feeds the larvae while tirelessly increasing the size of the nest. When the larvae are ready to become worker wasps, they take over nest building and the queen remains in the nest to produce more young.
If left undisturbed, the nest will increase in size until the end of wasp season when temperatures drop, food supplies dwindle and the colony dies off. Before this happens, new queens are created, which then find a spot to hibernate in over winter. The whole cycle starts again the following spring.
Top Dog Pest Control: Wasp Advice
Admittedly, wasp nests can be beautiful creations. However, if you locate a nest in your London home and believe it to be empty, Top Dog Pest Control advises strongly against approaching it.
You need to be 100% sure that there are no live wasps inside, before the nest can be moved. The best way to determine this is to call a professional London wasp control company.
Author: This article was written by Dean Mannion, Senior Pest Control Technician for Top Dog Pest Control who provide London wasp control.