Friday, 6 August 2010

Wasps and The Waspinator



I had a visit from the Wiltshire Council Pest Control Department this morning. Which is not as alarming as it sounds, it was the Wasp Lady as I call her, a lovely lady who gets rid of wasps nests in difficult positions.  I don't mean she does it standing on one leg, it's the nest that's in the difficult position, in the roof space once again, same as last year. The Wasp Lady is kitted up in bee suit, or wasp suit I suppose, and a spray on the end of a long lance which enables her to reach up to the roof level. It costs £50, but is a necessary expense for me to protect my beehives from wasp invasion.

As I've mentioned before, wasps are a bit of a menace if you're a beekeeper, as they usually turn to robbing the beehives at some stage during the summer. I always wait to see if this will happen before ringing the council, as I would otherwise leave the wasps well alone, but I have found that my strong hive has a battalion of guard bees at the hive entrance fending off the wasps quite successfully, but my other hive, the weaker one is looking  pretty much overwhelmed by the invasion. Wasps steal not only honey from beehives, but being carnivores they also eat the larvae, and even the bees,  and over time can destroy a weak colony of bees. In fact we have two wasp nests in the garden, but the other one is in the ground and I can deal with this one myself. It's an easy matter to don my bee suit, and spray the nest with a proprietory wasp nest destroyer, best time to do it is at dusk when fewer insects are flying.

At least this is what I've had to do until I discovered the Waspinator recommended on Sarah Raven's website, and anything that's good enough for the sainted Sarah is good enough for me. They are imitation wasp nests which are apparently very effective at convincing wasps that the area is already occupied by another colony and so they give it a wide berth. Frankly it sounds pretty improbable but they are sold out on Sarah Raven** though still available from the manufacturers direct, so I've just sent off for a couple of Waspinators, and I will see whether they work and report back in due course. It would be lovely to have something that just kept wasps away, and didn't involve toxic chemicals and/or wholesale death and destruction. Generally speaking I'm in favour of life, rather than death, even for wasps.

**See comment below

17 comments:

  1. Hi Kathy, I've just spotted your blog on the waspinator - they're great aren't they? So much better than killing the pesky things! I work for Sarah Raven's Kitchen & Garden so I just thought I'd let you know we have got more back in stock now. Let us know how you get on with them.

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  2. We have the Asian wasps here in France and they are killing the bees! Diane

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  3. You know, people are really very inventive. Who would have thought that anything as simple as a fake wasp's nest would work. I hope they work for you, and I hope the inventor gets very rich. It's a fabulous idea.

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  4. Dear Kathy, Yes, I agree that a Waspinator would be worth a try since, like you, I would prefer a method of controlling wasps that does not involve killing them.

    I shall mention this to J, my gardener/handyman since he is far too alarming with his wasp control method of a long pole, the end covered with rag soaked in petrol and set alight, and poked into the wasp nest. The Waspinator sounds a much more gentle alternative....but does it work?!!

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  5. What a wonderful idea! You must keep us up-dated when you get yours, as to how well it works! We don't have bees or anything to protect besides ourselves. If it works, I would love something to keep the wasps away from the front porch where we like to sit, well, would like to sit - if it wasn't for the dang wasps!

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  6. Hi Jess, thanks for visiting I've made an amendment on the posting for you re the stock, will report back on how I get on with the Waspinator!

    Hi Diane, that sounds a bit scary

    I agree Louise, let's hope it works

    Ha, Edith your man sounds like a dangerously old school treasure!

    Hello Sharon, will report back on how it works

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  7. looks good...but I must admit IHATE wasps
    got badly stung last year on the bum!! (and other places) and was fairly ill with it all....
    I hate the buggers
    x

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  8. I can't wait to order this! I'm with you about preferring to let them live, but I'd like it if they would take up residence far away from me!

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  9. Wasps do a lot of good by also killing the baddies in the garden. The best defence, if they are attacking a beehive is to reduce the entrance. A mock wasp nest will work by keep them from building a new nest where it is utilized, a shed for instance, they will not keep them out of your garden. Upsetting the balance of nature by destroying a wasp nest is quite futile in my opinion unless it is in a living area or a dangerous position regards children etc. If I had to get rid of one as a last resort, I would use petrol fumes rather than an insecticide.

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  10. Hi Norm, How would you go about using petrol fumes? I haven't heard of that, but could try it if it saves using insecticide.

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  11. If have nests you can tweet it! www.ukwaspwatch.co.uk identifies and displays wasp sightings across the country. Anyone with a Twitter account can report a sighting by tweeting the hashtag #ukwaspwatch, their postcode and how serious the sighting is on a scale of 1-10 (for example: #ukwaspwatch SW1 4NQ 3/10). The tweet is then automatically marked on a map. Its better if you includelinks to pictures in the second half of the tweet so other can see.
    Key
    8-10 wasps’ nests according to size
    6-7 wasp sting(s)
    4-5 multiple wasps
    1-3 minor wasp nuisance

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  12. If the nest is in an enclosed space, then a petrol soaked rag stuffed into it. If in free space, squirting the nest with lighter fluid. Of course this comes with a HUGE fire risk and all precautions must be taken.

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  13. It would be great if they work. i don't really like the idea of getting rid of existing wasp nests, but I also don't like the idea of the wasps invading your bee hives.

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  14. Hello!
    I came across your blog quite by accident.. but I just had to post a comment about The Original Waspinator.. because... I am the Inventor. I live in Canada and my sister and I developed the idea together. That was 6 years ago. It's taken that long to get it out in the world.. We wished it could have been faster but that takes a lot of money.. It is still going strong and becoming a great alternative to those icky wasp sprays.
    Hope it helps you in your life.. wasps are pesky but have a usefullness as well. If we can find a way to live amongst them then YAY.
    Thanks for buying the waspinator.. ! We've since sold to another fantastic Canadian company who also has great bug friendly products.
    Yours Truly
    Vikki Olson

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  15. Well, I was sold on the idea of the Waspinator, that is, until this year.

    I have 2 hung up, one under the house overhang and one at the end of the pillar by the driveway. The one under the overhang has NOT prevented wasps from making a nest under my eaves, in a crack in the corner of the house foundation. They fly around it, confused perhaps or alarmed, all day, but it certainly hasn't prevented them from nesting. And the aggressive little buggers are constantly flying around. I can't get my mail, can't garden, and can't even sweep the steps, so I've called an exterminator, and will from now on any time I see the little bast-rds around my house and yard.

    Lesson learned---The "Waspinator" is a waste of money, and useless.

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  16. Amazing and useful web page. Thanks for posting this. It’s useful and useful. Keep up the amazing.
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    ReplyDelete

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