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Advice and info about wasps, hornets and bees

FAQ's about wasps, hornets and bees: page5

Does the old queen die off?

A queen wasp survives for one year only. She is hatched in the autumn along with around 1500 of her sisters then once mated she hibernates through the winter months then emerges in the spring ready to build a brand new nest. Only a small proportion of hibernating queens survive winter.
Once she has started the nest and hatched a few worker wasps, she spends the rest of her life in the nest as an egg laying machine. In late summer/early autumn as the nest comes to the end of its natural life the queen lays special eggs which once again are new queens for the next year.

Do wasps return to the same site?

Wasps do not generally return to the same place year after year, however some roofs are favoured for their position and habitat. Some people say to us "we get a wasp nest every year". If you appear to get a wasp nest every year, take a look at your roof, is it exposed to the sun all day? Wasps love warm locations.
Does your roof have plenty of gaps for wasps to gain entry?
Is there plenty of old wood available near your home (fence panels, garden sheds) for the wasps to use as nest building material? Food supply and a local water supply will also be a factor.

Do wasps live in trees?

Generally speaking only German wasps nest in trees and bushes, but occasionally common wasps and Hornets will build their nests in well sheltered bushes and conifer trees/hedges. Common wasps will also build their nests on the outside of buildings in warmer years.

What to use to treat a wasp sting?

There are over the shelf sprays and creams to use if stung by a wasp, these treatments suppress the effects of the wasp venom.
The pH value of wasp stings is nearly neutral about 6.8 (7 being neutral) and there are many remedies such as pouring vinegar on the sting area. But the venom is not simply an acid or alkaline solution, but made up of enzymes which affect the body tissue local to the sting area.

What is the difference between a wasp and a hornet?

Apart from the size difference with hornets being much larger than common wasps, their life-cycles are very much the same. Hornets do have some nocturnal habits which normal wasps do not.
Both hornet and wasp nests are made from the same material, the hornet nest is normally larger without as many individuals.

How long do wasps nests last for?

Wasp nests last for one season only, this season starts in the spring around April and ends in the autumn/winter. Each nest varies depending upon location and conditions.
A wasp nest is never re-used once it has died off at the end of the year.

What do hornets look like?

Hornets look like big wasps, you can take a look at our images of wasps and hornets

What is the largest ground nesting wasp?

The largest ground nesting wasp in the UK is the hornet. Hornets will use old mouse holes and rabbit burrows occasionally to establish a nest. They excavate a bigger space underground to accommodate their nest.

What should I do with the nest after treatment?

After a nest has been treated we advise that it be left in its original location if possible. The reasons for this are simple: the nest was obviously built in that location because it was a good place. Wasps do not re-use old nests. If a treated nest is removed the location is then free for another queen to build a nest another year.
The treatment which is normally used to kill a nest has a long shelf life and if left in place will kill any other foraging wasps that may try to raid the now undefended nest.
We believe that in some cases a treated nest has killed secondary nests close by due to wasps raiding treated nests then managing to return to theirs with the treatment still on them thus contaminating their own nest.

Do wasps sleep?

Wasps do not sleep as we know it, but they do not fly after dark, nest maintenance and brood care continues during the night. Hornets however, do have nocturnal habits and do fly outside at night time.

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