Wasps are black and yellow and typically 10-15mm long, they have a sweet tooth at one end and a painful sting at the other.
The queen wasp is larger (20mm) and she will hibernate over winter months, making a nest in the spring in which to lay her eggs. She feeds the grubs on insects until they develop into worker wasps, three to four weeks later. Workers, all sterile females, forage for over a mile in search of food. One nest may produce up to 30,000 wasps in a year.
At their peak in summer months, the workers turn to the sweet food they prefer and become a nuisance wherever this is available. If annoyed or threatened, wasps will sting. The best remedy if you have been stung is to remove the sting with a clean finger nail and to apply anti-histamine. Some people react violently to being stung with several dying each year from wasp stings.
REMEDY: Close or screen windows with a fly screen if wasps are a major problem. Individual wasps can be killed with an aerosol designed to combat wasps. The old fashioned jar, one third full of jam and water, covered by a punctured paper lid will trap and drown them.
If you happen to find a wasp’s nest in a wall or bank, you are best to seek professional help for safe removal of nests. Nests in roofs or sheds that are not easy to remove need to be thoroughly sprayed with insecticide. This can be very hazardous and is best performed by professional technicians.
Commercial premises can be protected by insect screening of windows and the installation of electrical devices which attract, kill and catch the bodies.