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Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Well, feeling in the mood for a spot of gardening on Sunday, I went into our shed to collect a few bits to notice a load of little bits of yellowish white stuff strewn all over the place and quite a few wasps buzzing around. I had to be very careful as I got what I needed from the shed and it didn't take too much working out that the probability was that there was a wasps' nest in the shed though I couldn't find it at the time. I wasn't particularly enamoured with the thought of being stung by an army of wasps every time I wanted anything from the shed so there was no option but to call out pest control.

The guy arrived on Tuesday morning, investigated the shed and then got suited and booted.

It took him quite a while and a fair bit of rummaging around and using his wasp sleuthing skills before he finally detected where the wasps' nest probably was.

The main area of activity appeared to be centred in the corner where our garden hammock cushions were stored in a plastic bag so he very carefully and gingerly removed the cushions from the shed and onto the lawn.

Lo and behold, the wasps' nest had actually been built inside one of our hammock cushions which explained the yellowish white little bits strewn around which were tiny fragments of foam from the cushion which they had chomped their way through in order to make space for building!

At this point, it became clear that the only way to get rid of the wasps' nest was to spray it which would obviously kill the wasps and larvae inside. I was fascinated to see the architecture of the nest and was a bit saddened that the wasps had to be killed but how was I to use the shed if they were to stay there, not to mention I wasn't all that pleased about the destruction of the cushion? Wasps, I read, are regarded in the main as helpful insects as they keep control of the number of flies. They could be less than helpful, I suppose, if one was so allergic to their sting that anaphylactic shock might be a problem which I know is an issue for some people. Then, what about Buddhists - how would they cope with a situation like this - given that one of their religious doctrines is to harm no living creature?

Anyway, the nest was duly sprayed and the guy said he was relieved that the nest wasn't bigger as one of his colleagues had been covered from head to foot with wasps on one occasion on disturbing a nest! He told me that the queen wasp would always start building the nest on her own and then lay some eggs. When those eggs hatched, the offspring became her minions and her job was then just to stay at the centre of the nest and lay more eggs - tons of them - in other words, she's just one huge ovary who's only purpose in life appears to be to lay eggs! All the other wasps go and collect food, materials for nest building, etc, or defend the nest.

Here, the pest control guy is showing me some of the larvae.

And here he points out the queen, right at the centre. She's bigger than all of the other wasps and she's also much brighter as, being indoors all the time unlike the others, her colours don't get bleached by the sun.

Here's a photo of the cushion showing the wasp' chomped hole in it after the nest had been removed.

Surprisingly enough, wasps building nests in stored garden furniture cushions isn't all that uncommon so if you've got some stored away in your shed, it might pay off to be vigilant. They'd also chomped a hole through the canopy so it goes without saying that the garden hammock is pretty useless now.

All that remains to be done is to clear up the little bits of foam that are scattered everywhere like snow which I was told to do after a couple of days as the remaining wasps would hang around for a while wondering what had happened to their house.

The beaded lace scarf is now blocking and I've started the baby cardi for Sharon's new daughter, Fern. I'm hoping that I'm making it large enough that at least she'll get some wear out of it once it's cool enough for it to be worn! It's 'Rapunzel' from Paton's 'A Princess Tale' and I've chosen Debbie Bliss' Baby Cashmerino to knit it in.

As you can see, it has a lacy edging and butterfly motifs at the front. I seem to be crazy about butterflies at the moment (though not wasps!)


  • At 12:04 pm, Blogger Cherry Rolfe said…

    Thanks for posting about your wasps. Coincidentally, we seem to have a colony setting up in our eaves. It is a dilema. Is it terribly expensive to get 'the man' in?? I wonder what Buddhista and jains would do too, as I like to live and let live as much as possible. Difficult. Do the nests last for years I wonder, or just one??? More questions than answers.
    On a lighter note, what a lovely little jumper. i must check out the Princesss Tale collection!

  • At 4:43 pm, Blogger KnitYoga said…

    Cherry, it cost £45 plus vat to get "the man" in. I was told that wasps can come back to the same spot year after year to build a nest but, once the queen is dead, the nest won't be built again (at least for that year!).

    It's well worth a look at the Princess Tale Collection - there are some lovely patterns in there.

  • At 6:53 pm, Anonymous smitonius said…

    mmmm, we get one nest a year now. Once we get rid of it, it does not re-appear that Summer, but a new queen always turns up every year. Interesting to know they keep the flies down, unfortunately I am allergic to stings, so have to get rid of them! Interesting pictures!

  • At 7:23 pm, Blogger sgeddes said…

    Very intersting to read about your wasps. I've never seen a next so large.

  • At 9:27 pm, Blogger KnitYoga said…

    sgeddes - the photos are deceiving I think. The nest wasn't all that big as we caught it early. The cushion that the nest was built in is an arm cushion so quite small (to give you some idea of the size).

  • At 7:51 am, Anonymous Annarella said…

    OMG, those are the most terrifying pictures ever! The thought of them being all comfy and breeding in your cushion... it doesn't bear thinking about!

    I have an indescribable phobia of wasps, bees and all things that go buzz... we once discovered a nest built just above our living room ceiling (between the ceiling and the roof above)... it took us a while to understand what it actually was... all we could hear was this buzzing and knocking... we had wasps everywhere, couldn't open the window that another one would fly in... what a nightmare!


  • At 3:57 am, Blogger Kelly said…

    Holy wasps!!!!
    Its good you caught it while you did, image the amount there would be in a month or two!!!
    That cardi is soooooo cute! Can't wait to see the finished product!

  • At 11:15 am, Blogger acrylik said…

    Blimey! A very interesting post - I never realised wasps would even consider setting up home in garden furniture, I thought eaves and trees would be their preferred home.

    The little jumper is so cute!

  • At 12:29 am, Blogger Rain said…

    *shudders* rather him than me. I was so surprised to see how they'd destroyed your cushion.

    The little cardigan is adorable, the butterfly motif is really sweet.

  • At 2:45 am, Blogger dreamcatcher said…

    Oh my goodness, glad you discovered that nest before it got any bigger! I didn't realise that wasps kept flies down though, I've always wondered what positive contribution they made! We had an attempted nest one year at our last house, again in a shed but right in the eaves. We kept knocking the tiny bit that the queen had built down, so she decided to move into the bank next to the pond. We had to dig that out, it was the size of a grapefruit, and deal with the wasps, thankfully not many or we'd have had to call "a man". Don't like having to kill anything but wasps can be really nasty and sting with no provocation unfortunately.


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