A wasp nest to avoid!

A typical mid-season wasp nest in a loft space. It's about the size of a human head

Called out to deal with a very real problem: a wasp nest that was being built in the loft and only a couple of feet from the loft hatch. One can only imagine the risk this presents to someone innocently opening the hatch to drag out a suitcase – having your head this close to a nest is asking for trouble because the wasps will pick up on both the sudden increase in light and the vibrations a person would cause. Their response would be to attack in number; it’s surprising how fast they can mobilise, too.

Handling this safely involves keeping the light level low (the picture was taken with a one-time flash and then we went back to semi-darkness) and being careful not to disturb the nest any more than required to introduce a powder into the ball. While gently injected this into a couple of spots to ensure an even dosage, we keep a careful ear on the nest because wasps will usually sound an alert before launching an attack – and this advanced notice could save us some serious trouble even though we have the right protective gear on.

Once the powder has ‘taken’ we can close the loft hatch and deal with the few wasps that whizzed out into the room below while we had the lid up – there’s always a couple! – and we can then get outside and remove the bee suit (after carefully checking we didn’t bring any with us: there’s nothing more embarrassing than being stung by a wasp that you somehow trapped in the folds of your own anti-sting suit!)