There are several species of wasp in the United Kingdom, with the exception of the hornet all are very similar with black and yellow bands on their body and two pairs of wings.

Where to find them

In spring, the fertilised queen leaves her hibernating quarters to seek nesting sites for a new colony. These sites could be holes in the ground, hollow trees, sheds, loft spaces or wall cavities.

Nest construction starts in spring and will reach its maximum size in September, when up to 10,000 workers may be present. An old nest is not used in subsequent years.

What they eat

Wasps usually eat insects, which are mainly garden or household pests. They also feed on dustbin waste and animal carcasses.

Why wasps can be a pest

Wasps become a nuisance to humans mainly in late summer as the weather gets cooler when they become more likely to sting. A wasp, unlike a bee, can sting many times. Although the wasp sting is not normally serious, it can be very painful, and in certain cases can cause a severe reaction.

Control methods

Nests located in areas away from human contact can be left untreated. It should be remembered that wasps have a beneficial aspect for the environment as they kill many garden insect pests and help to pollinate plants .

However, if it is necessary to destroy the nest, application of a residual insecticide in either a dust or liquid form can be applied to the nest entrance or nearby so that wasps entering the nest are contaminated. Control is normally established within 4 hours of treatment. Care needs to be taken as wasps can be very aggressive when their nest is threatened, and multiple stings may result if your protective clothing is inadequate.