When sitting in the garden, pergola or terrace, many unpleasant insects can bother us. We are understandably very worried about them, as a sting can be very painful. Swelling, redness of the skin and itching are also associated with it. That’s why we start to panic whenever a wasp appears. And we look for solutions to get rid of it. The easiest solution for most people is to just kill it. But that’s not the best idea, because it can lead to much bigger problems than any of us realise.
We used to find their nests in meadows in the ground, in the hollows of old trees, somewhere in a corner under the roof, but we also found them in places we weren’t comfortable, and those places were our dwellings. After all, wasps often build their burrows there because they find an easy source of food in our homes, and they do not have their natural enemies, such as birds or hornets.
What kills a wasp
When we kill a wasp, we can rejoice that we have got rid of it. However, anyone who knows anything about insects will tell you that insects in general, and wasps not excluded, use chemicals called pheromones by which other individuals of the same species orient themselves. There are different kinds of pheromones – for example, when a wasp finds food or a good place to build a nest. But they also have a danger pheromone, and that’s what a wasp releases when its life is in danger.
You’ll remember a time when you were attacked by a wasp. You’ve swung at it, and there are two situations. One, you make the wasp angry, and two, you make it release a threat pheromone. If there are other wasps in the vicinity, they will immediately come to its rescue. Then you’re left with no choice but to put your feet on their shoulders and hope they run away, or get over their anger and leave you alone. Usually they’ll reward you with a sting, just so you remember to leave them alone.
Can you use another way?
Certainly yes, and there are more. Try to remember if you’ve seen a wasp fly when it’s raining. Maybe at home in the living room. Certainly not outside. The wasp doesn’t have waterproof wings, which would be rendered useless by the moisture, and the wasp can’t fly. That’s why when it’s raining or the humidity is high, the wasps are holed up in their nests. Another such factor is the wind. When the wind blows, the wasp does not have enough strength to fly, especially against the wind. So even in windy weather, you are safe from wasps.
Using their territorial behaviour
I don’t know how many of you know this, but wasps are pretty territorial insects. When an individual from another nest comes into their territory, they don’t hesitate to kill it. You may say it’s cruel, and one wasp is no threat to anyone, but remember what I wrote about pheromones? As well as finding food, or danger, they can secrete pheromones that mean I’ve found a good place for a new home. And you can’t let an existing nest do that, especially if it’s a really good place to raise new generations.
We just need to mimic their behaviour. Try making a replica wasp nest, perhaps out of a paper bag, and place it where the wasps can find it. A scout that discovers the nest will immediately use pheromones to inform other individuals, who will fly away and avoid the area. And you’ve got rid of the wasps without having to use chemicals. How simple and how well the measures can work if we know how to use them.