The demise of the wasps

New wasps are emerging from the nest, warming themselves in the spring sunshine

Remember the wasps that recently made their home in the hollow cross-bar of our washing line?

We’d been very much in two minds as to what to do about them…

Should we allow them to stay, potentially build an even larger nest, and face an even greater risk of getting stung? Or should we pay an expert to re-home or – gulp – ‘get rid’ of them?

I’m not a fan of killing animals, including insects, just because they happen to have made their home inside or alarmingly close to our home. Generally, as in the case of the rain spiders that have repeatedly appeared in the top corners of our walls, we prefer to evict them from inside the home and to return them to Mother Nature where they belong.

But a swarm of wasps was an entirely different kettle of fish, if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphor.

Apparently, their sting is faaaaar more painful than a bee-sting, and, unlike bees who die when they sting you, these wasps continue to sting and sting and sting… and they become very territorial and protective of their nests.

This is all that remains of the nest

After Googling a bit, I think these must be paper wasps, but I am not sure. If you know, please tell me?

In my searching, I came across a post written by a fellow Capetonian, Pia of Mother City Living, on Gerald the Bee Whisperer of Cape Town. I promptly phoned him up on 073 243 8431. He confirmed that he did also remove wasp nests, and said he’d be over later that morning.

One half-canister of Doom Spray later, the wasps were dead and the nest had been binned. I surveyed the carnage, feeling rather stunned at how many wasps there had been inside that hollow pipe – and how many larvae had been waiting to hatch.

Although I do know it was the right decision in the circumstances, I still feel rather queasy and unsettled at having caused the death of so many living things. We assume so easily that we as human beings have the right to dominate or exterminate other living creatures…

10 thoughts on “The demise of the wasps

    • Thank you for understanding how I feel, Richard…

      We did not want to take the risk of us, or visiting friends, being stung by agitated and territorial wasps defending their nest. They did seem fairly laid-back so far, but then all of us did move ve-e-ery slowly and cautiously around the washing line so as not to upset them. Still, it doesn’t much diminish that feeling of sadness and guilt.

      Aussie insects and animals, I have been told, are some of the most terrifying and poisonous creatures on earth – so hats off to you for ‘discouraging your wasps’! Did you get an expert in to deal with them, or did you DIY?

  1. Having lived in the country and spent spent A LOT of time in wilderness I know sometimes hard decisions must be made. Good for you for carefully considering and processing before acting. Sometimes when animals move in with us, and they are harmful to our families, we must remove them. It does not mean we would do the same , if we encountered a nest in the woods. There is a difference, some people will kill a snake just because it is a snake – not matter where they see it. You were thoughtful and made a careful choice. Life is not black and white, and sometimes we must make the best of two not so great choices.

    Perhaps put in a preventative, so the wasps won’t come back. Thanks for the update. I was wondering about this story….

  2. My husband and I hummed and hawed so long over a wasp’s nest (right between our garden shed and greenhouse) that eventually they just moved away of their own accord. He wanted to try and do something himself, I thought if we were going to do anything we should get someone in to deal with them more safely, but really neither of us were happy to kill them. We just trod carefully and tried to leave them to their own devices.

    My fear is more of poisoning birds and anything that might eat them (though I’m frankly not sure if birds do eat wasps, does anyone know?) with whatever one might use t kill the wasps. That’s why we don’t use poison on mice here, though we have enough of those through the winter taking up residence in our loft.

  3. Sometimes we have to face hard decisions in which we don’t like the options available to us. But, we have to make the BEST decision for ourselves, to protect ourselves and our family. That is what you did, and I commend you for it.

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