Well, this year’s second competition is finally under way. The first comp was for the most unusual place for a nest, the next is for the silliest thing to do to one before we arrive. So far I’ve not had any expanding foam stuffed in the hole, just bluetac and masking tape.
Stuffing the hole where the wasps are going in and out seems to be everybody’s instinctive reaction, which only makes sense until you realise that most of the wasps are…on the inside.
“My husband blocked the hole and now we’ve got wasps in the house.”
“Really? Do you think these might be connected?”
The blutac did this, the masking tape didn’t.
“We covered the hole with tape but they seem to be eating it.”
“You gave them building materials Ma’am, they’re using it to extend the nest.”
But, stupidity-wise that all pales into insignificance beside,
“I poured some petrol on and set light to them but that just seems to have made them cross.”
The “No shit, Sherlock” was thought rather than uttered.
Since the generally awful weather is keeping it kinda quiet wasp-wise, we’ve been filling the time with indoor pursuits, rescuing the public from such scourges as fleas and bedbugs.
Both throw people into terrible a state of anxiety, you’re supposed to be safe and comfortable in your home, not bitten to bits while you potter, or even worse, while you sleep. It would appear that that long-ago psychology degree has finally come into its own, since there is a goodly amount of counselling and reassurance to be done.
Both pests are on the increase, for different reasons. We’ve seen a big jump in flea infestations this year. (See what I did there? Yeah, terrible I’ll stoppit now.) People who treat their pets regularly are getting infested anyway, so we think here may be a type of flea that’s becoming resistant to the current treatments. This is good for us, but not so good for pet-lovers so if you have one, check it for fleas!
Bed bugs are back with a vengeance partly because of the mass movement of people around the world and the jostling of luggage in planes and airports and partly because of the illegality of the chemicals that had them wiped out a few years ago. And they are a bugger to deal with. We need a load of co-operation from the homeowner to do a proper treatment. Everything has to be taken out of all the bedrooms, bagged up and either washed or dumped in a deep freeze, it’s like moving house!
Once the rooms are stripped of everything except furniture, we take everything apart, unscrewing headboards, deconstructing bed frames, removing drawers, taking down pictures and dismantling light fittings, to spray every tiny nook and cranny.
Last week’s chap told us loftily that he knew (because his friend was a ‘professor of bedbugs’) that they were a problem that no-one could eradicate and that he doubted we were any better than anyone else he’d hired. Then we inspected the bedrooms and found that he’d only cleared out half the stuff; shelves and shelves of books and DVDs were in place, the walls were plastered in posters and half the drawers still had clothes in. Loads of dark little places for the bugs to hide in. We asked why he’d not cleared the rooms as described in our (beautifully written) advice sheet, downloadable from our website, and he said he didn’t want to. Which might be why his bedbugs are a chronic problem.
Much though I enjoy the reaction when I turn up on the doorstep in CSI-type paper suit, facemask and my special fleaing socks (cleverly presoaked in insecticide), I’ll be glad when it’s back to wasps, the suit is a bit hot to work in, I’d rather be back in the wasping shorts.