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

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