HELP AGAINST WASPS AND YELLOWJACKETS
USEFUL TIPS FOR CONTROLLING WASPS AND YELLOWJACKETS
Prevention is better than cure!
1.0 Wasp Nests:
Most wasps will only nest where they can find shelter against the wet, in a nice dry, dark and secluded place away from constant disruption. If you keep getting nests then consider the following prevention tips:
1.1 Deny access by sealing off wherever the wasps nest. Use insect mesh to cover air bricks and soffits.
1.2 Illuminate spaces where wasps tend to nest with a permanent low wattage light. Keep the light on throughout the wasp nesting season or fit a timer which comes on every hour or so.
1.3 Treat timbers with a wasp repellent mix of 1part eucalyptus oil, 1 part menthol, 1 part citronella oil in teak oil. Apply sparingly. You do not have to saturate the timbers.
1.4 Inspect nesting areas every two to three days and remove any early forming nests. You can use a vacuum to do this if the nest is no bigger than a tennis ball but be careful not to get stung and make sure the vacuum remains switched on for at least 10 minutes after you have cleared away the nest so that the heat from the vacuum kills off any live wasps.
1.5 If you tend to get ground nesting wasps then inspect your garden/back yard each winter and fill in any abandoned rodent nests or holes. Ground nesting wasps tend to take over the burrows of other animals or insects.
1.6 Take care around hedgerows. Try not to plant boxwoods and firs next to your home.
1.7 If you find you have a mature nest then call in professional pest controllers to have it removed. Wasps are far too dangerous to attempt do it yourself! If you cannot afford to call in pest controllers then use a pesticide spray specifically designed for wasp nests such as those which foam to seal the nest entrance. Make sure you are wearing loose clothing which covers as much of your body as possible and seal off trouser legs, shirt sleeves and collars. Wasps will easily sting through tight fitting clothes.
2.0 Free Flying Nuisance Wasps:
Nuisance wasps will come into your area to get food, water, plant waxes or wood pulp for building materials.
2.1 Do not plant sweet succulent plants that produce lots of nectar or sweet leaf sap next to your home. If you want to have such plants then try to plant them prevailingly upwind of your home so that the fragrance of the plants is carried away from your home.
2.2 Plant fruit trees away from your home preferably prevailingly upwind.
2.3 Clear away garbage properly and place it in sealed bags in sealed trash cans or bins.
2.4 If you have wooden furniture or decking inspect it regularly for wasp damage and treat if any signs appear (furry vertical lines etched into the wood). Treat with eucalyptus/citronella/menthol in teak oil.
2.5 Place water baths and nectar feeders prevailingly upwind and away from your home.
2.6 If you do have nuisance wasps then purchase a good well designed wasp trap. The trap should be designed for safety and ease of use. The WaspBane wasp trap (see www.waspbane.com) is probably one of the best. Do not be tempted to use home made traps because in most if not all cases they make the situation worse. Good traps will kill all of the wasps that they catch. This prevents scouts from reporting food sources back to their nests so preventing swarming. Most home made traps will only kill a proportion of the wasps that they catch which means that scouts get back to the nest to bring more colleagues back with them!
2.7 Place the wasp traps prevailingly downwind from the areas you want to protect. Do not place them on garden tables or near to where food is consumed.
2.8 Place traps near garbage cans or bins.
What to do if you get stung:
Quickly and with as little swatting or flailing of arms remove yourself from the vicinity of the stinging wasp(s).
Do NOT sit or rest (unless you feel that you may faint). Get near to a telephone, relative or friend. Try not to be alone for the next few hours. In some cases people develop a reaction to wasp stings which can be fatal and this may happen immediately or after a few hours. SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL HELP if you start having problems breathing or if you start to feel your throat or face swelling or if you start to develop red hives which are patches of hot, red, irritated and raised (swollen) skin. In case of swelling of the throat or face do not lie down unless you feel you may lose consciousness. Stand and keep moving (to keep your body’s natural levels of adrenaline high) or if this becomes impossible then sit upright. Apply a cold press at the same time to try to keep the swelling down.
Immediately wash the wound and apply an antiseptic salve. This is important because many wasp stings are infected with pus and are likely to lead to infection. Monitor the wound for the next few hours. If it continues to feel hot and swollen after four hours then the likelihood is that it will be infected and will require antibiotic treatment. If you get an intense itch you can treat this with an oral antihistamine. Sedating antihistamines work best provided you do not have to drive or operate machinery because they will make you feel drowsy. Skin preparations containing the anaesthetics benzocaine and lidocaine are helpful in relieving pain and itch. Skin preparations containing antihistamines should be avoided because they can cause allergic type reactions and sensitisation to sun light.
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