Reports in the ‘property press‘ suggest the common paper wasp has increased in numbers to almost plague proportions. The wet summer hasn’t just benefited the plants it’s benefited the animals that live off the plants… and by extension the animals that in turn live of them!
Paper Wasps live off nectar *and* other insects etc so are really useful around the garden… unless, that is, you are highly allergic to their stings. While they don’t usually sting unless their nests are disturbed in some way (as I did inadvertently last year) they *will* attack if they feel threatened which is deadly for those of us who go into anaphylactic shock after the sting.
For this reason I’ve tried to make sure that none are nesting around our house or on the surrounding vegetation. Obviously I can’t do much about the other houses around us so just have to try to be careful.
Even so, the nests are usually *so* unobtrusive that it’s easy to miss them and whilst most of these nests are relatively small, some can grow to substantial sizes. I’ve brought this up because while wandering around in the garden the other day I happened to look up at the eaves and discovered right next to the house alarm box was a nest! It’s clearly been there some time because it’s grown to the size of my fist and is home to a couple of dozen wasps… well *was* home because some of them got killed when I tried to dislodge the nest.
The nest, which is slowly growing, can be seen on the left hand side of the alarm box.
The nest is actually ‘paper white’ and only looks ‘brown’ because of the number of wasps sitting on it not!
As you can see from the articles, the entire nest is hold on by a single tiny ‘post’ but to give you some idea of how strongly it’s constructed, this one withstood the pressure from the hosepipe for several minutes before *I* gave up! Ok the nest is on the upper floor and the hose was being sprayed from the lower, but it was still hitting the nest with considerable force!
I told the wife I was going to soak it again to knock the wasps off again, then get a pole and poke the nest away from its support. So far I’ve not done it… just in case.