Big thank you from

Are wasps just a pest or are they good for something?

by THE RAMBLER 07/10/2005

CAN anyone tell me what wasps are good for? I have been around for a good few years and I haven't yet found the answer.

I have had fun annually trapping them in a glass jar when they swarmed around the refuse bin. You know the drill. Put some water in a jar, smear the inside of the neck with jam or honey, seal it with cling film and make a small slit for the wasps to crawl in by - just enough to let one crawl in but too small for them to fly out by.

In a short time you will have a graveyard of the pests struggling in the trap. Most seasons I have trapped thousands but this year none appeared. Someone said late frost in April was the cause.

My patrons did not desert me however. Instead they took over an upstairs bedroom last week. Closing the windows didn't block them. They found a tiny break in the plastic seal of a window and continued to infest the house.

In distress I called the public health people and asked for pest control but I was immediately informed we do not have a pest control man any longer, if you need one you will have to hire one.' They gave me a number and I soon had a young man who flashed a business card with the wording 'Expert Fumigator'. He immediately challenged me to say where 'they' were coming from but I just didn't know. Happily he soon found the nest, high up in the guttering and after donning his protective overall mounted a ladder and fumigated the source of the bother. 'There may still be some around for maybe up to five days' he explained 'but then you'll be rid of them'. Happily they disappeared inside 48 hours. Costly but effective!

I have had various encounters with wasps. Once when I split a nest whist pruning a hawthorn garden hedge at Antrim Road I got thirteen stings on my torso which caused me to move faster than I had ever moved before, I can assure readers. My mother in law was quick off the mark with a blue bag and miraculously I had no after effects but I don't recommend slicing wasp's nests. The jam jar is much more enjoyable.

Now who has the answer - what use are wasps? Are they worth making a song and dance about?

Ulster Star