A PEST controller has warned people to be aware of ‘giant’ wasp nests in the coming weeks after being called to remove a nest the size of a space hopper.
Andrew Dellbridge, 51, singled-handedly removed the giant, round nest, which measured about two and a half feet in diameter, and is estimated to have contained more than 5,000 wasps.
He said that the nest was holding so many wasps that the insects were queuing to find entry points to get inside.
Kitted out in full protective gear, Andrew sprayed the giant nest with two different types of spray to kill off all the wasps, including any wasps that returned later.
But he left the nest in situ where it was found in a barn on the edge of the Norfolk Broads — as wasps never use a nest built by another colony.
And Andrew, who works for Ace Pest Control Ltd in Norwich, Norfolk, warned that this is not the first giant nest they have seen — and that the nests are likely to get even bigger in the coming weeks.
He said: ‘We’ve had such a good start to the year, with such excellent, warm weather very early on, that it has accelerated the growth of the insect population.
‘This has meant the wasps have been more active for longer, giving them more time for the queens to build nests to hibernate in during the winter.
‘There are large nests all over the place, there are lots more wasps, and the nests are huge.’
The space hopper-sized nest that Andrew was called out to had been built in a barn attached to a house on the edge of the Norfolk Broads.
Andrew said: ‘It was quite an intense job — when you’re in that space, up close to the nest and can hear the deep buzzing sound, you really get a sense of the massive scale of the structure.
‘I can well believe that there were thousands of wasps inside that nest.
‘You have to be careful when a nest built in a roof space gets to that size, as the wasps start running out of space, and will chew through the ceiling board to create more room.
‘I started by spraying the nest with a knockdown spray, which is like a fly spray, which will kill off all the wasps inside the nest.
‘Then I came back and sprayed it with a residual spray, to ensure any wasps that returned to the nest later would also be killed off.
‘In most cases, including this one, we would leave the nest in situ, as wasps will never use a nest built by another colony in a previous year.’
He added that the giant nest would have started out in spring the size of a golf ball, built by a single queen wasp, who would have laid around a dozen eggs inside it.
It then grew in size as these eggs hatched and worked to expand the nest, while the queen continually laid layers of eggs inside it.
Andrew said: ‘It’s colossal, really, what wasps can build in just a few months, starting with just one wasp.’
And he added: ‘With the weather the way it has been, we’re likely to see wasp activity right up until about late October. It can only get worse in the next few weeks.’