What are Wasps? Their Life Cycle & Nests
Wasps are typically found throughout Melbourne and Victoria. They are fast flying insects, most active during the daytime, that pack a painful sting when disturbed or agitated. Not only will they sting, but they’ll sting several times over! Wasp stings can cause severe allergic reactions in some people and so should be treated with caution if encountered.
Wasps are social insects living in large paper-like nests which tend to be found mostly in roof voids, wall cavities, under eaves, sheds, garages and other sheltered areas that have easy access to the outside world. Nest sizes vary from about 15 cm to approx. 5 m and may house over 100,000 workers!
Typically, nests usually last only one year. The cold winter months kill off the males and send the newly fertilised queens into hibernation until the warmer climate returns. In springtime, the queens emerge and establish new nests. After some weeks in the larval stage of development, the wasps pupate and emerge as adults, taking over the work of the nest from the queen.
Worker wasps are sterile females ranging from 12-15 mm in length. They have distinctive yellow bands and a black body. Queens and male wasps are about 20 mm long – 2-3 times the size of the workers – by comparison.
Stinging is a defence mechanism wasps deploy when they feel threatened. If they or their nest is disturbed, they become very aggressive, stinging whatever and whomever they perceive to be their aggressor.
Tips to avoid wasp stings
By late summer/early autumn, there are no longer any young wasps to feed. With no young, adult wasps get no sugary secretion and so will seek out sweet things as a supplement. This is when wasps tend to be particularly annoying pests at outdoor dining venues, picnics and barbecues.
There are practical things you can do to avoid being stung, such as:
Keep calm and carry on by moving away slowly. Screaming, flapping your arms and swatting at wasps will only agitate them and make them aggressive.
Avoid strong, sweet smells such as highly floral perfumes and hair products.
Avoid wearing bright colours or bold floral patterns, as these can attract wasps.
Avoid soft fruit plants, fermenting fruits and uncovered bins where there’s a likelihood of food scraps to be contained within, as these are places where wasps tend to gather in search of food.
Don’t leave drinks unattended, especially soft drink cans. Wasps often crawl inside and so you risk being stung on your tongue!
It’s best to keep foods and drinks covered when dining outdoors, where possible of course.
Clean your hands and your children’s hands and faces after eating sweet foods and drinks.
Wasp Prevention Tips
Treating a wasp nest early is the best way to ensure you and your family are safe from the risk of a painful sting.
Checking your home and garden for nests in early spring is the best place to start. Garages, sheds, cavity walls, roof voids and under eaves are all preferred nest locations. We’ve also treated one that had formed on the bonnet of a disused car. Check out our Instagram feed for a photo!
As wasps spend winter in hibernation, their nests will still be small in early spring: think golf ball sized. The smaller the nest, the fewer the wasps.
Other common-sense steps include:
Securing the lids on outside bins and keeping them away from doors and windows;
Keeping windows and doors shut; and
Keeping children and pets away from identified nests
However, if the nest isn’t on your property, there is little you can do to have it removed, besides convincing your neighbour to give us a call!
How to Get Rid of Wasps: Wasp Control & Nest Removal
Don’t risk being stung multiple times over trying to take on these insects yourself.
The only effective way to control wasps is to find their nest and eradicate it. At Defender, our highly trained technicians have the proper tools and clothing needed to tackle these pests. Our wasp pest control treatment involves the use of an insecticidal dust or spray into the identified nest via the entry tunnel. These products work quickly and have a residual effect to tackle the wasps at all stages of their life cycle.
So, when you hear that buzzing sound, which type of person are you? 0452 632 472 is all you need!
What about Bees?
It’s now well known that bees play an incredibly vital role to our environment. Bees are amazingly efficient pollinators. Without them, many of the world’s most important crops would fail, as would the countless number of animals dependent on bees for their survival.
For example, nuts, berries, seeds, and fruits all rely on insect pollination. Bee pollination not only makes these foods available to other species, but it also encourages floral growth, which in turn provides habitats for other animals, birds and insects. In fact, 90% of flowering plant species depend on insect pollination.
Not only are bees so important for the world’s ecosystems, they’re also an increasingly endangered species.
At Defender Pest Control Specialists, we will only treat a bees’ nest if it is located within the physical structure of your building and taking down a wall is not an economically or structurally viable course of action, or where their presence poses a significant threat to those nearby (such as anaphylaxis if stung).
If the bee nest is located on a tree or is otherwise easily accessible, your best point of initial contact is a qualified beekeeper, and in the case of honeybees, we will only remove their nest after prior consultation with a qualified beekeeper.