A wasp’s nest

A surprise awaits the unwary! This wasp nest attached to the underside of a wooden bench was dealt with for a golf club recently.

Fortunately, the bench is rarely used and I can only assume anyone who did sit there while the nest was active did so lightly enough not to disturb the colony.

Had anyone sat down heavily or even moved the bench, the wasps would have had no hesitation in attacking en masse. It is surprising to me how much wasps have recovered from their very low numbers last summer, when I dealt with very few nests.

Every one of this summer’s nests was begun in spring by a queen wasp born last summmer. So where have they all come from?

The answer is that all of last year’s surviving wasp nests produced many new queens towards the end of summer, ensuring a good supply of queens to found new colonies this year.

Also, it was not the type of spring which tempts queens out of hibernation then turns back to winter, a phenomena which is fatal to many species of insects, not just wasps.

I have to admit a liking for the humble wasp. Everyone is against them, yet they are only doing what wasps do.

I have often had people ask me “What good do wasps actually do?” Well, they do prey heavily on aphids, midges and flies with which to feed their grubs. Also, their stings are used for defence and defence is only a response to attack. If you do not make wasps feel they are under attack, they will not sting.

Folk who swat and swipe at wasps are those most likely to be stung. Ignore them and they will ignore you.

But always check underneath benches before plonking yourself down!