The honey buzzard is a bird of prey that migrates over to the UK and the rest of Europe during the summer months, having spent the winter months in tropical Africa.

What is special about this bird? It preys on wasps, gobbling them up in large numbers and providing natural wasp control!

The Honey Buzzard Provides Wasp Control

A fairly rare bird to the UK, there are only approximately 60 pairs in the country. However, they spend the summer months providing natural wasp control to certain areas of the countries.

A gutsy bird, the honey buzzard locates wasp nests by flying slowly along or below the tree tops. Once they spot wasp activity, they wade in, digging out the nest with its strong claws. Dense feathers around its legs and head protect it being stung, but as an extra precaution, a honey buzzard will snip off a wasp’s sting before swallowing it down.

Not only partial to adult wasps, honey buzzards also eat the babies, pupae and even the interior of the nest itself. It’s not afraid of hornets either – they just provide more meat!

More About the Wasp-Eating Honey Buzzard

More common elsewhere in Europe than in this country, the wasp-eating honey buzzard is also partial to eating smaller birds and their eggs. This is a meal of choice when they arrive back from Africa, hungry after the long journey.

Very similar in appearance to the common buzzard, their differing key features include their wings being kept flat in flight, whilst the common buzzard will point them up into a V-shape. Another is the two or three dark bands on the bottom of the tale, which is longer than the bird’s wingspan. A feature making it easier to spot the honey buzzard is the way it flies high up into the air, holds its wings high over its back, gives them a shake and then swoops down suddenly. These air displays can be seen regularly during the wasp-hunting season.

More About the Wasp-Eating Honey Buzzard

In no way are honey buzzards the only predators of wasps. Wasps are seen as a source of food by many others:

Birds – many birds such as starlings, magpies and blackbirds regularly snack on wasps. However, they don’t do it with quite the style that the honey buzzard does and go for picking the odd one out of the air rather than attacking the whole nest.

Badgers – covered in their thick protective fur, badgers will happily take on a whole wasp nest, eating everything down to the nest itself.

Spiders – using two tactics, spiders will either catch wasps in the webs or larger species will catch them in-flight.

Lizards – the fast moving gecko species can use their agility to avoid the painful wasp sting, catching surprisingly large wasps in comparison to their size. Larger lizards have also been known to attack entire nests.

London Wasp Control

Unfortunately there will never be enough honey buzzards around to take on the wasp population of the UK, so London wasp control is still an essentially part of life for many.

Top Dog Pest Control provides rapid-response wasp control and wasp nest removal all over London. Recognising the urgency and threat a badly placed wasp nest can cause, our trained technicians will be out to you the very same day, often within the hour.

Author: This article was written by Dean Mannion, Senior Pest Control Technician for Top Dog Pest Control who provide London wasp nest removal and wasp control.

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