Wasps

life

We have a rather impressive wasps' nest in our loft space. It seems that the wasps (Vespa vulgaris) got into the loft via the ventilation holes in our wooden soffits1, and built the nest on the inner surface of the roof, near the junction with the wall. The nest is just above the window of our office/spare room, so as I type this, I can see dozens of busy wasps hanging around the entrance or going in or out.

When we first discovered the nest a few months ago, we had a bit of a dilemma: should we call in a pest controller and get them to destroy it (or try to do it ourselves), or should we just leave it alone? As far as I can determine from reading about them, wasps don't overwinter in their nests (unlike bees), so in theory, if we leave the nest until winter, all the workers will die, leaving only the queen to hibernate in the nest. It also seems that the queen leaves in the spring to found a new nest in a new location, so there isn't much danger of her founding a new nest in the same place.

Wasps don't have the good press of bees, but they are still beneficial for the ecosystem as a whole (and help to kill garden invertebrate pests like catepillars). I also dislike sloshing insecticide around unecessarily. So we decided to leave the nest alone, and clear it out once the colony has died. Apart from occasionally straying into the office when the window is open, they don't bother us much.

However, we still have a problem with the loft. We don't need to go up there much, but if we have to go and fetch something we've stored, it's a bit scary. When you open the hatch and turn the light on, they start swarming around the light and moving towards you in a rather threatening way. I've got to go and get a suitcase down now for my upcoming trip to Brazil at the end of the month, so if you hear the sound of a small, British blogger falling down a loft ladder, closely followed by an empty suitcase and swarm of angry wasps, please summon help.

1 'Soffit' is one of my favourite words at the moment, for some reason.

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