This page provides information and advice on dealing and eliminating wasps and their old nests.
We provide a service for treating wasps nests.
In order to book the our wasp control service, please call Help Line on 01737 276000.If you wish to use email, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure you include a contact telephone number as we cannot arrange appointments by email.
You can also use this page to find a wide range of advice concerning wasps including:
- an introduction to wasps
- about wasp stings
- preventing a wasp infestation
- dealing with old wasps nests
- the life cycle of a wasp.
The Common Wasp (Vespula vulgaris) is generally regarded as a nuisance.
They are social insects, forming colonies inside nests specially constructed in soil banks, roof spaces and in cavities in trees and walls. They are, therefore, frequently associated with domestic housing.
However, wasps can also be regarded as beneficial insects and the gardener's friend. As the nest develops during the spring and early summer, the queen and the first workers prey upon more harmful insects and scraps of meat to feed the larvae.
They therefore help to control insect pests and clear carcasses. They are normally too busy at this stage to be a nuisance.
Later in the season, as the larval rearing is reduced, the workers search for sweet substances (causing damage to ripening fruit) and can become a significant nuisance in the home.
Wasps do not normally sting unless frightened or in defence of their nests. This habit increases as the insects become more irritable with the onset of cooler weather and the ingestion of fermenting, overripe fruit juices.
The sting is caused by the injection of venom into the victim. Wasp stings can be treated with a cold compress and antihistamine creams applied within 20 minutes of stinging.
A suitable antiseptic cream should also be rubbed into the skin to prevent infection. Multiple stings can have a dangerous cumulative effect, hence the need for caution. Seek medical advice promptly.
Insect stings in the mouth or throat may cause swelling leading to asphyxia. To reduce swelling, suck ice and seek immediate medical advice.
If you require any further advice, please contact the Environmental Health department on 01737 276417.
If the wasps are not causing problems, best advice is to leave them alone. Remember, they will die after the first few winter frosts. It is unusual for a queen wasp to establish a new nest in the same location the following year.
Preventing a wasp infestation
Below are some simple guidelines to stop your home and garden being plagued by wasps.
- Cover sweet smelling foods.
- Make sure dustbins have tight fitting lids.
- Do not allow food scraps from the sink waste to build up over the gully grating.
- Clear away fallen fruit from around the base of trees.
- Dealing with a wasp infestation.
In your home, a squirt from an "ozone friendly" fly or wasp killer aerosol will bring the invaders down one at a time, but be careful not to spray over exposed food or drink.
Nests in roofs or hanging in sheds or rafters, etc. need a more cautious approach and are best left to the experts.
Contact the Pest Control Service here at Reigate & Banstead Borough Council or any pest control company, but preferably one registered with the British Pest Control Association.
If the nest is accessible, the Pest Control Operative will puff insecticidal dust at the nest entrance, onto the surfaces over which the wasps walk to and from the nest.
The dust clings to their legs and is carried into the nest, eventually killing all the wasps inside.
This method of treatment takes several days to take effect and is not always successful in the first instance depending largely on the degree of access for the Pest Control Operative.
Old Nests - what to do?
These may be safely removed after all activity has ceased. This is not a task undertaken by the Council.
The person removing the nest does not require any specialist knowledge other than the ability to gain access.
The over-wintering and fertilised queen wasp emerges from hibernation around mid-April and begins her search for a suitable nesting site.
Initially, she lays between 10 and 20 eggs. This emergent first brood of adult workers (sterile females) takes over the tasks of enlarging the nest and providing food for the subsequent eggs laid by the queen.
During the latter part of the summer, males and young queens emerge; mating occurs and the fertilised queens fly away to select suitable overwintering sites.
With the onset of cooler weather, the workers and few remaining males become sluggish, eventually dying with the arrival of the first few winter frosts.
Last updated : 22/06/2011