Thursday, 27 August 2009

Thursday 27th August 09

A good morning because all the children were playing happily together. However we were planning a trip into town so we set a time to stop playing and get ready to go out.

So, into town and we ended up having pizza in Museum Gardens, which was fun and very unusual for us as we hardly ever eat out.

All back home and at about 6pm our lovely relatives went home. We will miss them as we all get on so well.

Over the past few weeks we've become aware of a wasps nest quite near our back door, in the ground in amongst the plants in the border. Initially we decided to ignore it, as we are not anti-wasp particularly, and know they perform a useful ecosystem role of eating caterpillars and fruit flies etc. However, the numbers had increased to levels which started to ring alarm bells when hearing about a chap recently who disturbed a nest and was stung so many times he died. Also, quite recently, both Gill and our youngest got stung (one at a friend's house, one whilst on the train) and it was unpleasant so I decided to destroy the nest.

I wondered about just covering it up with a large pile of compost, during the night when they were less active. I cut the plants back a bit to reveal the hole and soil, and then at midnight a few nights ago, I poured a large bag of compost onto the hole and surrounding area, and watered it in.

The following morning, they had re-excavated the hole and were just as busy as before. I considered pouring a large volume of boiling water into the hole, again whilst they were mostly asleep. But Gill suggested they might go berserk and to check on the net how to do it properly.

There were lots of suggestions about using chemicals, and petrol etc, but the one which took my fancy was the glass bowl method. This looked like a better way than just covering up the nest entrance with soil, as the darkness means they just dig their way out. The glass bowl trick means they think the hole is open to the air but of course, cannot actually get out to collect food for the grubs in the nest. The bowl is left in place for several weeks and they gradually all die.

So we found a big mixing bowl and the composty area I'd so carefully put on gave a really good base to push the basin into, again, whilst it was dark. I put a bit more compost round the edge and watered it in for a good tight fit. All of today there was a lot of activity inside the dome, and only a little bit outside it, from insects which hadn't been in the nest when I capped it. However, another suggestion off the 'net was to put an industrial vacuum cleaner next to the nest entrance and suck them into the vacuum cleaner... So I used our old Dyson and spent several short sessions sucking in stragglers, just a minute or two about 5 times. This definitely reduced the numbers of confused wasps outside the dome.

I feel this method, chemical free and not dangerous (I haven't received one sting) is a good one. I'll report on it's longer term success as the weeks roll on. If the nest had been elsewhere in the garden, I'd have left it, but right outside the back door was a poor choice of position for the little darlings.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

I had the same dilemma last year when I found a nest inside the kids' outdoor toy shed. I would normally opt for a live-and-let-live but couldn't chance the kids getting stung. I sprayed a nest killer foam at it (and then subsequently got stung when one got inside the sleeve of my jacket) and that dispatched them fairly quickly and, I hope, humanely.

With regard to the "Dyson method" - I employ same when dealing with fruit fly infestations in the kitchen. I wonder what they think when they revolve around the drum at 1000rpm - a bit like Bug Waterworld I suppose!

I know what goes through ones mind when they hit a solid object at that speed however - its bum!!! :)