Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Unwelcome house guests

Yesterday when my husband went up into the loft to get his holdall ready for a business trip he mentioned that there seemed to be a couple of piles of sawdust on our nice shiny new loft insulation. Shining the torch onto the rafters I found two small wasp nests hanging directly above the wood dust. Luckily as they were small we were able to dislodge them into jam jars although we only managed to get one wasp.

I put the jars in the freezer for a couple of hours to kill the queen wasp and anything that might be inside the nests. When I was sure that nothing was left alive I could take a closer look at them.
To say I am not a big fan of wasps would be an understatement as when my younger son was about six he ran into a wasps nest in a bank in the woods behind our house and was "attacked " by them. We rushed him to accident and emergency but luckily he had no adverse reaction. We counted over 70 individual stings. He is almost 15 now and still very wary of wasps.

Even though I don't like them, I can't help but admire the structure of their nest.

The perfect hexagons in the middle were encased in layers of very thin paper-like material presumably all made from our rafters.

I don't know much about the life cycle of wasps but as we only caught one wasp I think I will be checking our loft at frequent intervals for the next few weeks just in case.


Jessica at Bwlchyrhyd said...

We had a bit of a problem with some wasps last year and if I recall correctly, once their nest has been destroyed (or in your case removed) then they will go somewhere else to build a new nest. You just have to hope that "somewhere else" will be a bit further away! :)

Moonroot said...

We found a (defunct) wasps' nest in our last house. It was about 10" across, roughly spherical and an absolute work of art! We kept it for a while but it eventually began to disintegrate and had to go. I was amazed by the amount of work that had gone into it - made me think that wasps should be as praised for their industry as bees and ants, but that doesn't seem to be the popular image. I guess the stings tend to take centre stage in people's minds!

BurdockBoy said...

xthznmThose really are cool photos.

And yeah, I'm a bit wary of wasps myself. I had a it of an encounter with them as a child-they had a nest in my swing set.

willow said...

Wasp update.
We have found another of these small nests, once again we removed it in a jar but there was no wasp present.
I hope the wasp gets fed up and as Jessica says decides that somewhere else should be a very long way away.