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Thread: Wasps nests

  1. #1
    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Wasps nests

    A wasp nest has developed in my back yard, so I have a couple of questions...first a photo.

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    You can find a larger photo here

    My questions:
    1. What type of wasps are these?
    2. What do they eat? i.e. are they good for my garden
    3. Will the nest continue to grow? It already has over the past month.
    4. What is the best way to handle the nest? Remove, do nothing?
    5. How do you remove a wasps nest? (safely that is...)
    6. Who are the people to call to do this? (if necessary) I am in Bellville, Cape Town.
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  2. #2
    Bronze Member Alan's Avatar
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    Them Wasps are Hornets and sting like hell when disturbed, as to their life style you will have to wait for the experts.
    Remember the Ark was built by Amateurs and the Titanic was built by professionals.
    Business isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    They've got some pretty distinctive markings - I'll see if I can ID it on Monday (my reference works are at the office). But in the meantime:

    It's sure to be from the family Vespidae. The nest design indicates it's one of the paper wasps although it might be a hornet.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    It would seem to be Polistes fastidiotus, a paper wasp species. In fact the picture shows a perfect match - it's just that in the field guide I've ID'd it from, the distribution is shown down the east coast of South Africa down to about Plettenberg Bay. In other words, it is not known to inhabit the Western Cape!

    Diet consists of caterpillars fed to the young (why gardeners like them for "pest control") and adults will no doubt feed primarily on nectar much like other species in the family.

    The nest is abandoned in winter with the fertilized females overwintering in a sheltered place and starting a new colony in the spring.

    They are strongly social and will defend their nests aggressively (they will sting like crazy and it'll hurt - lots). Accordingly "relocation" of the nest without suitable protective equipment such as a beekeepers outfit is not recommended

    For a do-it-yourself enthusiast, any of the quick-acting knockdown insecticide aerosol sprays could be used to eliminate the nest - a case of squirt and run. If you're allergic to stings, probably best to stay out of harms way and call in a professional.

    If you want to find a reputable pest management company near you, go to the SAPCA website. At the top of the page you can select your province and click GO for a list of companies in your area. (Unfortunately the search filter doesn't get down to city level at this time).
    Last edited by Dave A; 11-Jan-10 at 02:19 PM.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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  6. #5
    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    In other words, it is not known to inhabit the Western Cape!
    Interesting! I've noticed these wasps in my garden for at least the last two years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    The nest is abandoned in winter with the fertilized females overwintering in a sheltered place and starting a new colony in the spring.
    So leaving it until winter and then removing it is a viable option? Will they try to rebuild the nest next year?
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duncan drennan View Post
    So leaving it until winter and then removing it is a viable option?
    Yes, as long as you understand they might get grumpy and zap you (or someone else) one day in the meantime.
    Quote Originally Posted by duncan drennan View Post
    Will they try to rebuild the nest next year?
    I'd expect they'll start a new one rather than expand on the existing one, but a favourable location will tend to be more popular and see repeats

    Perhaps the trick would be to keep an eye out for them starting a nest in spring and try to dissuade them then. A swishing broom or feather duster while they're exploring prospects might be sufficient to encourage them to locate elsewhere at that stage, and without a home to defend they'll likely be less aggressive about being disturbed.

    Once the nest is established it's probably too late to try just shooing them off.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  8. #7
    Email problem BigRed's Avatar
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    Duncan and others.

    I suggest you do not use the doom and run method when the wasps are alert..... They will bite and sting you before they die....

    I tried that, and yes they can bite. The bite can end up going septic too, not nice. Over and above that, they can sting many times and they dont loose their stinger like a bee.

    Your nest seems rather large already. I suggest to wait for a cold day or night when the wasps tend to be be a little more lethargic. Wearing long shirt with collar, longs and gloves, you can try:

    1) Spray with a thick oil (3in1 or similar) This will make their flying ability a bit erratic and a lot slower
    2) Using a long stick, knock their nest off and run
    2) Doom and run.

    Please note that I cannot take responsibility for the above mentioned actions

    Once their nest is on the ground, they will leave it. Once left alone, remove it and throw it away.
    The Doom that you need needs to be a strong one. There is that one (I cannot remember the make) 10seconds or something. Trust me, in 10 seconds they can do a lot of damage

    For the future, dont let them start building a nest. I knock the nest off before there are more than 2/3 wasps building a nest. The larger the nest, the more wasps.

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  10. #8
    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigRed View Post
    Please note that I cannot take responsibility for the above mentioned actions
    I'm currently just letting them do their thing and watching what they are up to in the garden (like eating [or harvesting?] scale on my lemon tree). I'll sort out the nest in the winter.
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  11. #9
    Email problem BigRed's Avatar
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    They are actually OK. Cheese them off, they will take revenge. Leave them alone, they rid pests.

    I remove any and all at the moment. I dont want them taking offence to my 3 and a half year old.

  12. #10
    Email problem BigRed's Avatar
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    Wasp nest update...

    I took down a similar looking nest on the weekend. Albeit not that big, it had around 6 wasps on it. At first (it was dark) I didn't see them,, but common sense told me to rather use a braai tong. I plucked it off and squished it on the floor. That's where I saw the now 6 dead wasps

    So, this was about 11 pm and the wasps were fast asleep all the way until under my foot.

    On the one hand, I was lucky, on the other hand, they weren't

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